Archive for the ‘Alexandru Nădăban’ Category

Titlu: Spirit and Sonship. Colin Gunton’s Theology of Particularity and the Holy Spirit

Autor: David A Höhne

Localitate: Farnham & Burlington

Editura: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

Anul apariţiei: 2010

Nr. de pagini: 185

ISBN: 9780754669111

Preț: de la 76 $

 Recenzie de Alexandru Nădăban

Reading the book I had several questions in my mind. One of them was: „Can a Ph.D. of a highly specialized theological subject become a book so tempting that you want to buy it and read it?” Strictly speaking the book is about the work of the Holy Spirit enabling, opening and preserving the Sonship of Jesus Christ the Messiah. But I dare say that apart from some small technicalities left over by the Ph.D. supervisor (i.e. engaging with primary sources of ancient writers through secondary ones and using Basil’s Latin version of De Spiritu Sancto in the footnotes while using its French translation in the bibliography) David Höhne sets out to demonstrate that.

At the first glance the book seems to illustrate a typical case of writing a boring book to demonstrate that the author is both right in what he affirms and in what he concludes, or being a little bit politically correct in what she concludes. In doing that he/she is logically achieving five steps: 1. establishing an exegetical description, 2. establishing a theological alternative, 3. the Spirit enabling Sonship, 4. the spirit opens Sonship, 5. the Spirit preserves Sonship and of course conclusion. So, apart from the introduction where he sets the goal, and the conclusion where he confirms the development of the plot, confirming the introductory theory, Höhne does justice to the subject. However, if we regard the book as just a(nother) ”theological description of human personhood grounded in a sustained engagement with, and critique of, Gunton’s theological description of particularity” we would lose more than we got.

His initial brilliant idea, that Colin Gunton’s theology of particularity and the Holy Spirit should engage Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a conversation might look odd for some traditional thinkers. At first glance one can not find many common points between Gunton and Bonhoeffer. We are used to judge an old author by a more recent one, closer to our way of thinking, one of our contemporaries being critical about someone who died and can not defend him/herself.  But that would be the easier way, wouldn’t it? However, Höhne is not doing that. On the contrary it is the other way round. He is engaging Bonhoeffer to support or complete Gunton, not so much to criticize him and to prove his point.

  (mai mult…)

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Titlu: The Lord’s Prayer Through North African Eyes. A Window into Early Christianity
Autor: Michael Joseph Brown
Localitate: New York & London
Editură: T&T Clark International
Anul apariţiei: 2004
Nr. de pagini: xiv+298
ISBN: 0-567-02670-1
Preț: 46$

Recenzie de Alexandru Nădăban

I will approach Brown’s book from the perspective of a Christian theologian who experienced the transition from Communism to capitalism in an Eastern European country which is closer to the third world.

Brown sets out his intentions in the Preface and carries them to a conclusion in the seven chapters of the book. He makes clear his methodology, which consists in the use of the term „ethnoreligious” (adopted from Christopher Haas), but without explaining to the reader what the original meaning of the term was and how he came to employ it.

A second methodological device seems to be the use of the term „the cultic didaché” (critical reflection upon cultic practices), from Hans Dieter Betz. The present book represents a reworking of Brown’s dissertation, The Lord’s Prayer Reinterpreted: An Analysis of This Cultic Didaché by Clement of Alexandria (Stromateis VII) and Tertullian (De oratione). Brown begins his enterprise with a somewhat limited view of Jesus Christ (a deceased Galilean prophet) and investigates the ways in which the best-known prayer of all times, the Lord’s Prayer, can be found in the works of Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian of Carthage.

At a first glance, Brown’s intentions seem simple. Once he has established the parameters of his research project, he presents Clement’s and Tertullian’s views of prayer and shows how much the LP influenced them. Finally he brings together his conclusions and sets the two illustrious Christian theologians face to face. Job done. Thus Brown takes what could have seemed to be a relatively limited and simple enterprise and renders it quite comprehensive and well documented. Though speculative and argumentative in his style of discussion, Brown leaves no place for debate, i.e. there seems to be nobody who disagrees with his views. His findings are supported by secondary sources as if everybody were in agreement with what he says.

(mai mult…)

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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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