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Tradition, adaptation, and innovation: Christian practice and Orthodox Christian theology and spirituality

Tradition, adaptation, and innovation: Christian practice and Orthodox Christian theology and spirituality

36 The historical, and hermeneutic methodological approaches will be utilized in some of the sections. The anthropological approach often requires the use of methods from the social sciences—something this project does not employ. Thus, the primary methods that it employs are theological. Additionally, each section will require the use of particular methods of investigation proper to the work that is being done. Chapter 1 will serve as a general introduction to the problem, and chapter 2 functions literature review of a contemporary virtue ethics and a practical theological approach that engages with virtue theory. Therefore, they will predominantly utilize historical and, to a lesser degree—given the limits of the project—anthropological methods to elucidate the topic. Ultimately, chapters 1 and 2 do not are not themselves new scholarship, but, rather, a presentation of two conversations partners in anticipation of chapter 3 and the rest of Part I. The choice of these dialogical partners reflects an underlying perspective of this dissertation, namely, that there is a discernible resonance between virtue ethics, the “Christian practices approach” to practical theology, and Orthodox Christian spirituality. 37 The use of social scientific methods in the field of practical theology are not new. While some practical theologians, notably Johannes van der Ven, argue for a mixed method approach--utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods to construct an “empirical” theological methodology See, Johannes van der Ven, Practical Theology: An Empirical Approach, trans. Barbara Schultz (Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 1998). Other more narrowly employ qualitative methods—for an overview of such methods and a brief account of key figures who employ them see, the entries by Mary Clark Moschella on ethnography, Daniel S. Schipani on the case study method, James R. Nieman on congregational studies, and Elizabeth Conde-Frazier on participatory action research in Bonnie Miller-McLemore, ed., The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Practical Theology (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2012).
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Ghazali and al-Radd Jamil: language, history and Christian theology

Ghazali and al-Radd Jamil: language, history and Christian theology

A Christian theologian reading this passage might point out that the phrases in bold above beg a huge number of questions and would need another paper to respond to fully. Does Ibn Ḥazm’s ‘literalist’ reading truly reflect the Christian view as our editor suggests? This claim sounds more of a Muʿtazilite reading of Christian theology. What is implied, I think, is that the Christian confession that Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection was the ultimate active revelation of God would look like an obstacle to God’s otherness, for people like Ibn Ḥazm; the implication is that the only rational conclusion would be that this belief needs to be subjected to criticism. The author of al-Radd obviously has a similar concern. But, the important question here how the distinction between ‘literal’ and ‘metaphorical’ is to be understood. Does the literalism of Ibn Ḥazm really reflect Christian understanding? Hasty explanations are a recipe for inaccurate simplicity and occasional flaws. With a closer reading of Orthodox Christian theology and al-Radd’s critique of both the Jacobites and the Nestorians, a ‘metaphorical’ understanding of Christ applies both to al-Radd and to the Melkite Christians in different ways.
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Christian Orthodoxy. In an historical exploration of the concept of nature in Orthodox Christianity,

Christian Orthodoxy. In an historical exploration of the concept of nature in Orthodox Christianity,

In an historical exploration of the concept of nature in Orthodox Christianity, there are three preliminary points that must be made: first, the notion of the natural world as distinct from the human part of creation is in fact classical Greek in origin; second, the Judaeo-Christian tradition does not consider nature as something separate or subordinated to human creation. Thus, nature is never either “divine” (since it is not God, but merely created by God) or “profane” (since it is always and closely connected to the creation of the human person in the image of God). Finally, the brief outline that follows examines the historical understanding of nature as this emerges in certain key thinkers and certain fundamental principles of Orthodox Christian theology.
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DEVELOPING A CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY IN AFRICA AND HOW AN AFRICAN THEOLOGIAN CAN CONTRIBUTE MEANINGFULLY TO THE ‘LOCI’ OF TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY

DEVELOPING A CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY IN AFRICA AND HOW AN AFRICAN THEOLOGIAN CAN CONTRIBUTE MEANINGFULLY TO THE ‘LOCI’ OF TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY

with regards to details. This makes the task of fusing the two religions very difficult and impossible because there is a wide irreconcilable difference between Christianity and African traditional religion in terms of basic doctrines. Even though it is possible to borrow some religious elements from African traditional religion to explain some eternal truths of Christianity to Africans, it is extremely impossible to fuse the two religions together because they are incompatible. Thus, syncretism should be rejected because it conflicts with orthodox Christian theology, and therefore, cannot yield or evolve an authentic African Christian theology. Another widely accepted methodology among African theologians for evolving an authentic African Christian theology is enculturation. This view advocates for an integration of elements of African culture with Christianity to evolve or yield African Christian theology. This methodology is expressed with terms like “localization,” “contextualization,” “indigenization,” and “enculturation” of theology (Aben, 2008:106). Enculturation, as a methodology grew out of a growing sense that the theologies being inherited from the westerners did not fit well into African cultural circumstances. There is therefore the need to adapt theological reflection to the African context and worldview (Schreiter, 1985). Hillman (1993) posits that:
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History and Theology of Christian Welfare in Australia: A Review of the Literature

History and Theology of Christian Welfare in Australia: A Review of the Literature

Molsberry (2004) examines the stories of the healing miracles in the Biblical text. He also distinguishes between three models of understanding disability: moral (Biblical), medical and socio-cultural. He argues that the discussion is moving from a medical model to a socio-cultural one, from blaming the victim to blaming an insensitive and handicapping society. McCloughry and Morris (2002) explore a theology of disability. They suggest that disability has often been interpreted as a distortion of God’s purposes. However, all human beings are created in the image of God which means that all are created for relationship and that disability is not an incomplete humanity. The book argues that society’s view of disability must be changed from one of deficit to diversity. The church should be a true community where people are loved for who they are and their unique gifts celebrated. Dawn (2002) claims that a major theme in the book of Revelation is that ‘Christ reigns in the midst of our suffering’. An appropriate response to the text is to value the gifts of people with disabilities and others who experience suffering or weakness and to recog- nise and learn from the suffering that occurs within each of our individual lives.
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The Trinity in African Christian theology: An overview of contemporary approaches

The Trinity in African Christian theology: An overview of contemporary approaches

Whilst much of the early 19th century missionary and anthropological discourse denied Africans any concept(s) of God or for that matter religion, pioneer African Christian theologians such as John Mbiti and Bolaji Idowu located the African belief in a Supreme Being as a point of continuity between African Traditional Religion (ATR) and Christianity. The polemical nature of this early phase of African theological discourse on God was prompted by the western missionary denigration of African religion (and culture) and denial of the existence of African concepts of God. They sought to remedy western missionary translations of God which portrayed God as foreign to Africans. I argue that this discourse by pioneer African theologians may well serve as a prolegomenon to any meaningful Christian theology of God in modern African theology (cf. Uzukwu 2009:32). It must be noted that these theologians, most notably Mbiti and Idowu, engaged with texts by western scholars such as Edwin Smith, Malcolm McVeigh and Geoffrey Parrinder 8 which offered sympathetic
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A call for the restoration of orthodoxy in South African Christian theology

A call for the restoration of orthodoxy in South African Christian theology

T he highly sophisticated and dialectical ‘politische T heologie’ has its popularised c o u n te rp a rt in, in te r alia, th e South A frican lib e ra tio n theology. B ut, w hereas ‘politische Theologie’ has som ething fascinating about it, som ething both irresistibly attractive and, simultaneously, som ething unbearably repulsive, like the angry snake. South A frican lib e ra tio n theology is, to th e o rthodox m ind, a disgusting p h e n o ­ m enon. In as much as it claims to be theology and its lite ra tu re to be theological literature, it deserves no o th er nam e than theological pornography. Yet, in spite of this, it serves the aim s o f Marx, the self-deified anti-god, b e tte r than he ever would have expected any o th er sort of popularisation of his ideals could have done.
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THE THEOLOGY OF CHRISTIAN CABALA By ISAAC DIKEOCHA IV Degree

THE THEOLOGY OF CHRISTIAN CABALA By ISAAC DIKEOCHA IV Degree

represents the ten sephirah. The symmetric lines that run through the ten numbers are the twenty two paths of Hebrew Cabala linked with 22 Hebrew alphabets. Through these symmetric lines, harmonics and geometric figures are formed. The harmonics have the properties of sound (music) and light (colors). There is no doubt that the medieval Cabalists developed the tree of life of Cabala from this Pythagorean concept using the scriptures from the Torah to form its doctrine. Christian oral tradition was not committed to writing. The chain through which it spread was broken because the last recipients did not find the students in line worthy or ready of receiving it. Origen and Dionysus confirmed this in their writings. Pico in his book ( Oration on the dignity of man) stated that during the time Zerubabel restored the temple, Ezra who was the head of the church at that time amended the book of Moses and organized the cabalistic wise men of his time to put their Hebrew oral Cabala in writing. Fearing the massacre, exile, the flight and the captivity of the people of Israel, may cause the practice established by the ancients of handing down the doctrines by word of mouth would disappear. Pico said he purchased and read the same books and after reading them from the beginning to the end, he found within the books, the mystery of the holy trinity, the incarnation of the word, the divinity of the messiah, the original sin and its expiation by Christ, about the heavenly Jerusalem, the fall of demons, the order of the Angels, the pains of purgatory and of hell.
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THEO 303 Online: Theology and the Christian Life

THEO 303 Online: Theology and the Christian Life

A List of Required and Recommended Electronic Readings for THEO 303 Note: All links to electronic readings are listed by unit, with readings listed by alphabetical order (by author) within each unit. Any optional/recommended readings are listed with the term OPT before them in, with the rest being required ones. For easier reading and review, required readings should probably be printed out. If you find the PDF files below hard to read, photocopies of them are available to photocopy at the Theology Department (visit secretary Laura Smith Webb). Unit 1

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Relating to God: A Practical Theology of Christian Holiness

Relating to God: A Practical Theology of Christian Holiness

singularity of intent to live ‘the mystery of Nazareth, the hidden holiness of Jesus’; 193 ‘a life seeking goodness, the Goodness implanted in us’; 194 ‘the task of revealing [… the sharing in God’s life] to others, to the world, to be living icons of God’; 195 and those who ‘Practice resurrection’. 196 In broadening the scope, Plekon risks losing a Christian mooring of holiness. He increases this risk in his second book through asserting, drawing on Bulgakov and Evdokimov, holiness is ‘goodness’. 197 This moves holiness more towards a sociological definition of ‘moral meaning’. 198 Plekon takes this further in his third book where his illustrations of holiness are drawn from outside Christianity. ‘This vision of sainthood is expansive to say the least’ notes one reviewer, 199 yet Plekon seems to recognise the risk he is taking. He quotes Alexander Men to remind the reader that, ‘In contrast to other traditions, Christianity is not simply based on a system of the views and legacies of its founder, but on the experiences of a continuous living communion with him’. 200 Therefore holiness, for Plekon, seems to be the relationship between God and humanity, illustrated in Jesus and empowered through the Holy Spirit.
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A Theology of Creation Lived Out in Christian Hymnody

A Theology of Creation Lived Out in Christian Hymnody

The rubric utilizes the contours of a theology of creation that have addressed the ecological issues of the culture in recent decades. As shown earlier, Santmire identifies three schools of thought that have attempted to formulate a response to the charges leveled by Lynn White in his seminal essay. The reconstructionists respond by pushing aside the creature while attempting to focus on the creation itself, using some might call a more biocentric approach. The apologists respond by highlighting the effect the environment has on human beings. In other words, humans cannot properly love neighbor without caring for the creation on which that neighbor’s life depends. Conversely, harming creation hurts one’s neighbor. Hence care for creation becomes a social-justice issue. The revisionists respond by focusing on the creature’s relationship to creation in a way that does not treat creation as a person, object, or commodity, but instead as being able to engage in a meaningful relationship with creation. Although Santmire’s schools of thought provide answers to White’s work, they offer no criteria for developing the themes of a theology of creation.
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The Christian doctrine of the body in twentieth century British theology

The Christian doctrine of the body in twentieth century British theology

Thus, in this period, all possible attitudes to the body and to its resurrection were represented, from the out and out denial of the bodily nature o:f eternal life Wisdom, 4 Maccabees, [r]

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The
 shade 
of 
the divine: approaching 
the 
sacred 
in 
an 
Ethiopian orthodox christian community

The
 shade 
of 
the divine: approaching 
the 
sacred 
in 
an 
Ethiopian orthodox christian community

suggest
that
lay
Orthodox
practice
has
traditionally
been
built
around
discipline,
 ritual,
 and
 bodily
 engagement,
 and
 that
 the
 emphasis
 on
 textuality
 and
 reason
 which
 characterises
 many
 Protestant
 approaches
 presents
 a
 novel
 and
 challenging
 form
 of
 engagement
 that,
 in
 the
 perception
 of
 many,
 offers
 a
 powerful
 means
 of
 engaging
 with
 modern
 bureaucracy
 and
 post‐communist
 economies.
Protestantism
claims
its
authority
not
(ostensibly)
from
institutions
 but
 from
 scripture
 itself.
 My
 experience
 suggests
 that
 the
 Ethiopian
 Orthodox
 Church
 is
 beginning
 to
 develop
 similarly
 textual
 claims
 to
 authority,
 but
 it
 remains
the
task
of
future
work
to
investigate
to
what
extent
and
in
what
ways
 this
 is
 happening.
 
 In
 Afaf,
 Abba
 S’om
 epitomises
 the
 new
 kind
 of
 preaching
 priest.
 He
 has
 spent
 years
 developing
 his
 scriptural
 knowledge
 and
 honing
 his
 ability
to
communicate
that
knowledge.
When
I
interviewed
Abba
S’om
I
usually
 brought
a
de
facto
research
assistant
with
me,
whether
Abebe
or
one
of
the
other
 village
 youths.
 It
 is
 notable
 that
 Abba
 S’om
 would
 make
 a
 point
 of
 instructing
 whomever
 was
 with
 me
 while
 answering
 my
 questions.
 While
 the
 Orthodox
 Church
 is
 hierarchical
 and
 knowledge
 is
 unevenly
 distributed,
 this
 does
 not
 necessarily
 mean
 that
 the
 clergy
 are
 secretive
 about
 their
 knowledge,
 or
 that
 they
keep
it
from
lay
people.
Rather,
priestly
knowledge
is
a
service,
whether
it
is
 shared
 with
 the
 laity
 or
 passed
 on
 to
 deacons
 and
 used
 to
 keep
 the
 ritual
 calendar
 going.
 If
 we
 see
 knowledge
 as
 a
 product
 of
 labour
 then
 it
 is
 easier
 to
 understand
 this
 permutation:
 ritual
 performance
 has
 always
 been
 an
 aspect
 of
 the
work
of
priests,
and
now
education
is
increasingly
another
aspect.
But
both
 kinds
of
work,
or
service,
are
equally
dependent
on
the
work
of
knowledge
that
a
 clergyman
undertakes
throughout
his
career.

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Obesity and Hypertension among Christian Religious Subgroups: Pentecostal vs. Orthodox

Obesity and Hypertension among Christian Religious Subgroups: Pentecostal vs. Orthodox

Methodology: Three hundred (300) Ghanaian subjects (50.3% Pentecostal participants from the Perez Chapel International and the Church of Pentecost and 49.7% Orthodox participants from the Presbyterian Church and Bethel Methodist Church), 18-72 years of age were recruited for this study. Anthropometric measurements including height, weight, waist and hip circumference as well as blood pressure were measured for each of the study participants.

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Comparison of the Use of Gendered Language in Discourse on Christian Theology and Psychology

Comparison of the Use of Gendered Language in Discourse on Christian Theology and Psychology

Sweeney (2009) proposed that inclusive language is difficult to teach in the area of theology due to firmly-developed schemas related to masculine language. This study attempted to provide evidence of these schemas by comparing the use of gendered language in secular (psychology) and sacred (theology) subject matter. No significant differences were found between pretests and posttests in the use of the TPSP when discussing either theme. While an argument could be made that Sweeney’s language schemas do not exist based on this finding, a more accurate interpretation of this study’s results would take into consideration the frequency of TPSP in discussing exclusive themes. Participants rarely addressed only psychology or theology; instead, they wrote about the two together. Additionally, almost all TPSP use within specific themes were nonsexist incorrect. Therefore, it is recommended that future research should assign more clearly-defined writing prompts to induce discussion of either one or the other theme, but not both at the same time. A second informative variant on the current study would be to
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Evolution, knowledge and Christian faith: Gerd Theissen and the credibility of theology

Evolution, knowledge and Christian faith: Gerd Theissen and the credibility of theology

In theology any access to the reality to which believers relate in terms of a corresponding theory of truth is obviously im possible. But quite apart from the problems positivism has created and still creates for theology, access to the reality to which believers relate, is possible only through the m etaphorical concepts of the Christian faith. And this becom es epistem ologically credible only w ithin a critical realist model of rationality. As I have tried to point out earlier, it is only w ithin this type of rationality model that the Christian theologian can offer unconditional personal com m itm ent and at the same tim e critically renounce all absolutist claims for theological knowledge. And this, I think, is precisely what Theissen wants to achieve.
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Paulo Freire and Liberation Theology: The Christian Consciousness of Critical Pedagogy

Paulo Freire and Liberation Theology: The Christian Consciousness of Critical Pedagogy

PM: Liberation theology was born out of the self-theologising of radical Catholic Action communities in America Latina. There were protestant variants as well; since the 1960s, many variants of liberation theology have emerged such as Jewish Liberation theology, Black Liberation Theology, Feminist Liberation Theology, and Latino/a Liberation Theology. Liberation theology is systematically opposed to the trenchant conservative politics of white evangelical America in the U.S. who encourage individual charity over economic and transformation and distributive social justice so familiar to many living in the richest country in the world. There arose among both lay persons and clergy within the Catholic Church grievous concern surrounding the economic consequences following the rise of Latin American populist governments of the 1950s and 1960s – especially those of Perón in Argentina, Vargas in Brazil, and Cárdenas in Mexico. In failing to eradicate dependency, poverty and injustice, and carrying the burden of helping both to legitimate and reproduce the power and authority of the capitalist state for over five centuries, liberation theologians considered the Church an egregious failure in its mission to create the Kingdom of God, which they understood in the context of creating a just society on Earth, not some misty paradise beyond the pale of distant clouds, but a world in the here and now. Liberation theology, which coalesced into a movement throughout the 1960s and 1970s, attempted to establish the potential for a return of the role of the Church to the people (similar to the conditions that existed in earliest Christian communities) by nurturing critical- autonomous ‘protagonistic agency’ among the popular sectors, creating the conditions of possibility for consciousness-raising among peasants and proletarianised multitudes. (I recently coined the term protagonistic agency, to emphasize Freire’s (1972) idea of being the subject of history rather than the object of history.)
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Early Christian explanations of the Trinity in Arabic in the context of Muslim Theology

Early Christian explanations of the Trinity in Arabic in the context of Muslim Theology

40 Mark Swanson gives examples such as Palestine, where Aramaic gave way to Arabic as early as the eighth century and later Egypt, where Arabic replaced the native Coptic language to such an extent that by 1200 Coptic is described as being ‘practically dead’. (Swanson, M. ‘Arabic as a Christian language’, 5.) Gerhard Endress points to the same two cases, saying that at the turn of the millennium, these two languages were only spoken by a few minorities and learned theologians. (Endress, G . Islam: an historical introduction , Carole Hillenbrand (trans.), (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), 132.) Sidney Griffith takes up the question of language in the monasteries of Palestine where he tells us that in the eighth and ninth centuries ‘Arabic came to challenge even Greek.’ (Griffith, S. H. ‘From Aramaic to Arabic: the languages of the monasteries of Palestine in the Byzantine and early Islamic periods’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers , Vol. 51, (1997), 24) He argues that there is enough evidence to suggest that Palestinian monks were both translating from Greek into Arabic and creating original compositions in Arabic from the latter half of eighth century, while there is little or no evidence of significant Greek compositions in the ninth century (28). Griffith also talks of a literary Arabic koine that seems to have been a variety of Arabic used by Melkites in the area, consisting of Arabic text in Greek script (29). Joshua Blau also deals with this issue, explaining that this variation of Arabic, which was once thought to be a Palestinian dialect, seems to be better defined as a Melkite dialect, as there is evidence of works written in Melkite communities to the east of
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Violence, terrorism and the role of theology : repentant and rebellious Christian identity

Violence, terrorism and the role of theology : repentant and rebellious Christian identity

Apostle Paul to Roman Christians. In this 13 th chapter of the letter, Paul explains how God’s righteousness is to be worked out in relation to the realities of political and social life in the setting these Roman Christians found themselves. The language and format of the passage is straightforward and unambiguous. Paul states rather plainly that those hearing his letter are to be “subject to” the governing authorities, a perspective likely unpopular with both Jewish believers who saw the Roman government as immoral and antithetical to God or even to Roman believers who might be facing persecution from their government (v.1). Paul is careful to point out that the Christian God, had in some manner, ordained the government these people now found themselves under, and thus, the Christian was called to submit to that authority legitimated by their God. To do otherwise was to bring righteous judgment upon themselves (v.2). Particularly important to the research in question is (v.3-5) Paul’s explanation that Christians need not fear their government if they “do good.” In these same verses Paul legitimizes the use of force by the government against those that are in opposition to its law. This point is an issue directly related to Identity theologies various forms herein discussed—some of which choose to ignore or invalidate this portion of the text, which I refer to in this dissertation as “Rebellious” Identity –and some groups and individuals which choose to subject themselves to the governments rule of law, which I refer to as “Repentant” Identity adherents. The final two verses of the section deal with the financial responsibilities of living in a secular state—the government of which—is ordained by God. Regardless of motives, the Christians is called upon to simply, pay their taxes.
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Graduate Theological Union and PAOI to Offer Master s in Orthodox Christian Studies

Graduate Theological Union and PAOI to Offer Master s in Orthodox Christian Studies

The Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute was founded as a pan-Orthodox center at the Graduate Theological Union. Ecclesiastically, the Institute is under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Courses in Orthodox theology are taught through the Alexander G. Spanos Chair in Eastern Orthodox Studies of the GTU. Dr. John Klentos, a specialist in Orthodox liturgy teaches through the chair. Additional faculty teaching in the M.A. program will be Dr. Anton Vrame, a specialist in theology and education, and Paul Manolis, in Greek and modern Church history. The Institute will also be offering additional courses in Orthodox studies through adjunct faculty. For example, Dr. John Thomas, a specialist in Byzantine Studies will offer a course on the Byzantine Church. “Our hope,” according to Dr. Vrame, “is that this pro-
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