Cover image for Eastern Orthodoxy through Western eyes
Eastern Orthodoxy through Western eyes
Fairbairn, Donald.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Louisville : Westminster John Knox Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
209 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX320.3 .F35 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In the last decade, Eastern Orthodoxy has moved from being virtually unknown to Western Christians to being a significant presence on the religious scene in North America and Great Britain. In light of Orthodoxy's growing presence, this book will introduce Western Christians to the Eastern Orthodox vision of the Christian life by examining Orthodox theology and worship and will also alert readers to the cultural and historical factors that shape any interpretation of the Christian faith.

Author Notes

Donald Fairbairn is Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Missions at Erskine Theological Seminary in Due West, South Carolina

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Eastern Orthodox Christians in the United States number more than three million, a membership higher than that of some mainline Protestant denominations. Yet the doctrine and practice of the world's second-largest group of Christians has lacked American interpreters with a popular touch. Readers who like their Orthodoxy with a strong Reformed Protestant flavor will enjoy this careful West-meets-East primer. An Erskine University professor, Fairbairn has the advantage of having spent significant time in the former Soviet Union. He sensitively fleshes out Orthodox doctrine in counterpoint with traditional Reformed Protestant theology. While using the expatriate Russian Orthodox writers of the 20th century as his main resources, he is comfortable traveling more than a millennium backwards in time to probe the roots of Orthodox theology. Although he expends considerable effort parsing the role of icons, Church tradition, and the meaning of theosis (human transformation into the divine likeness), Fairbairn argues it is most crucial to grasp the nuances of the place of Scripture in the Eastern churches. "It is the unfinished task of Christians and of the entire Church to develop the mind of Christ, to move closer to a fully biblical expression of faith and practice," he states. Although Fairbairn is critical of what he terms the distortions of popular and nationalistic Orthodoxy, he sympathetically and carefully aims to present Eastern church history and doctrine in such a way that his Western Protestant and Roman Catholic readers can better understand their own faith. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction--Double Visionp. 1
Part I The Source of the Orthodox Vision: Traditionp. 9
Chapter 1 Authority versus Lifep. 11
Chapter 2 Tradition and the Churchp. 23
Chapter 3 Tradition and Its Expressionsp. 33
Part II The Heart of the Orthodox Vision: Union with Godp. 49
Chapter 4 God as Darkness; God as Threep. 51
Chapter 5 Humanity: Creation, Vocation, and Fallp. 65
Chapter 6 Salvation: The Path of Theosisp. 79
Chapter 7 Salvation and the Communion of Saintsp. 97
Chapter 8 Orthodoxy and the West: Seeing through Each Other's Eyesp. 111
Part III The Orthodox Vision and Its Distortionsp. 129
Chapter 9 Popular Orthodoxyp. 131
Chapter 10 Orthodoxy and Nationalismp. 143
Conclusion--Single Vision?p. 153
Appendix A Recommended Readingp. 161
Appendix B Suggestions for Christian Workers in the Eastp. 167
Appendix C The Structure and Organization of Orthodoxyp. 179
Appendix D The Orthodox Liturgical Calendarp. 183
Notesp. 185
Select Bibliographyp. 199
Author Indexp. 203
Subject Indexp. 205