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Titlu: Windows to Heaven. Introducing Icons to Protestants and Catholics
Autor: Elizabeth Zelensky & Lela Gilbert
Localitate: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Editura: Brazos Press
Anul apariţiei: 2005
Nr. de pagini: 142
ISBN: 1-58743-109-2
Preț: 18$

Recenzie de Alexandru Nădăban

Elizabeth Zelensky and Lela Gilbert have written a book intended to be useful to both Protestant and Catholic believers. As a Protestant and an Eastern European theologian I might have expected some kind of triumphalistic presentation of icons. This commendation is different. I was a little disappointed because Romania, a country with a strong Eastern Orthodox majority and a Latin based language, is not mentioned at all, but you cannot satisfy all readers. However, both the direct message about the advantage of using icons as a means to approach divinity and the subliminal one which revolves around the advantage of being an Eastern Orthodox believer come across quite well.

Understandably the two authors do not want to overwhelm the reader by giving a strong and in-depth theological study of icons, or by exploring the disputes around them. Instead, they prefer to present just five icons and an altarpiece from an Eastern Orthodox Church. The cover gives an immediate definition of icons: windows to heaven.

The book is organised into seven chapters with an interesting introduction and a brief but well-written epilogue. While undermining common prejudices and misconception about icons in western society, the authors take us on a short but stimulating ride through the history, art and geography of Eastern Europe, with particular emphasis on Slavic Orthodoxy. The reader receives an impression similar to that from watching a „Lord of the Rings” movie. Legends, myths and tradition uncover Eastern Orthodox mysticism encapsulated in the icons of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Taking this bird’s-eye view approach, which is what the book has to do, allows things flow smoothly and naturally towards the conclusion, and the authors’ aim of introducing icons to Protestants and Catholics seems to be fairly well realised. Things are made more complex for Protestants and Catholics who spend their whole lives in countries where icons are not seen as windows of this kind.

Windows to Heaven does not distinguish between Protestants and Catholics despite the clear differences between them which most of us are aware of. The book thus cannot be categorised as a classic polemic. It presents one of the major differences between the Eastern Orthodox tradition on the one hand and Protestants and Catholics on the other. Generally it makes many good points in favour of the Eastern Orthodox Church. (mai mult…)

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