Anda di halaman 1dari 4

316 Reviews

columns with commentary; ancient writers are contextualized (and their writings explained at length). But contemporary accounts also receive due attention, and often as correctives to the tradition; for example, Augustines and Anselms theories of atonement are given thorough explication, but are also respectfully criticized and extended with reference to Eastern Orthodox theology, feminist approaches, and the work of Ren Girard. The signicance of Augustines De Trinitate is underscored by a very lengthy explication de texte, but signicant space is also devoted to contemporary concerns, including language difculties (gender issues; the problem of person), divine suffering, and the relationship of the Trinity to the church. Fortunately, these content-oriented chapters never completely lose the inspirational avor of Part One. With frequent references to mystics and sages, and with personal examples that remind the reader of the authors own enthusiasm for his discipline, these chapters contrast mightily with the meager and dry doctrinal accounts that are too often held out to hungry students. McIntosh demonstrates a deep appreciation for theology as it is classically conceived; this will be no surprise to readers of his Christology from Within and Mystical Theology. But he frames this material with a lightness of touch and a genuine spirit of invitation that many students will surely nd persuasive. The books aws are few. Very occasionally, the author lapses into an overlong explanation of a particular doctrine, with only infrequent examples and illustrations; students may nd these parts slow going. (The section on the paschal mystery, pp. 99110, was one such instance.) The chapter on salvation is, oddly, two chapters (for reasons that are never made clear); this may have been a late editorial decision, given some internal references suggesting that it was originally a single chapter. Sometimes the tabular forms of the authors explanations are too concise to be of use, as with the description of how three theologians (Origen, Calvin, and Elizabeth Johnson) treat the doctrine of salvation (p. 67). But these are minor quibbles. And even if some may be dissatised with the authors own preferred positions on various doctrines, a quick glance down the primary sources in the Bibliography will be evidence enough that his approach is historically grounded, ecumenically balanced, and attentive to contemporary concerns. To the three criteria that I mentioned at the outset, one more should be offered: Textbooks should only be written by genuine teachers who truly love their students. Mark McIntosh is clearly such a teacher. David S. Cunningham Institut fr systematische Theologie Albert-Ludwigs-Universitt Freiburg 79098 Freiburg im Breisgau GERMANY

Encounter Between Eastern Orthodoxy and Radical Orthodoxy: Transguring the World Through the Word, edited by Adrian Pabst and Christoph Schneider (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009) xiv + 297 pp.
This book has two things to recommend it: the importance of the Eastern OrthodoxRadical Orthodox dialogue which it proposes, and the high quality of the individual contributions. The Eastern Orthodox-Radical Orthodox dialogue promises to enrich contemporary theology and has considerable ecumenical signicance. Radical Orthodoxy, a
2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Reviews 317
product of academic theologians in British Anglicanism, arose largely without reference to Eastern Orthodoxy despite its interest in aspects of Greek patristic theology. In recent years, however, Radical Orthodox thinkers have come to regard Eastern Orthodoxy as a possible ally in their quest to recover values of pre-modern Christianity with which they propose to answer the challenges of contemporary global civilization. Not surprisingly, the prospect of such an alliance has inspired Radical Orthodox theologians to intensify their examination of the Greek patristic legacy. More novel is their attention to the modern Russian school of speculative Orthodox theology represented by Vladimir Solovyov, Pavel Florensky and Sergei Bulgakov. How these modernist Russian theologians can be harnessed to the excavation of pre-modern Christian values is one of the interesting questions in play in this book. The essays in this volume derive from an international conference on Transguring the World Through the Word (2005). The conference theme provides the title of the introduction by the two editors. An essay in its own right, the introduction makes an eloquent appeal for a new European and global Christian civilization that not only outwits both liberalism and Marxism but also actualizes the ideals of freedom, prosperity, solidarity and equality (p. 24). The editors claim Solovyov and his heirs in Russian Orthodox Christianity as a model, and their claim is warranted by what they have to say. Any number of sentences in their essay, and in Adrian Pabsts individual contribution later in the volume, could be attributed directly to Solovyov without distorting the message of the great Russian thinker. The extent to which Pabst and Schneiders Solovyovian vision is shared by other authors in the volume is another question. John Milbank, whose 40-page contribution, Sophiology and Theurgy: The New Theological Horizon, is the largest and richest essay in this collection, is on the same page with the editors, but many of the other authors draw chiey on patristic or medieval material, and what they make of Solovyovian social Christianity is not clear. Likewise for sophiology and theurgy: these concepts are engaged by some but by no means all of the authors in this volume. In The Metaphysics of Hope and the Transguration of Making in the Market Empire, Michael Northcott deploys both concepts, and his titular phrase, the transguration of making, may be taken as a gloss on the term theurgy. Antoine Arjakovskys Glorication of the Name and Grammar of Wisdom (Sergii Bulgakov and Jean-Marc Ferry) revisits a pietistic movement in early twentieth-century Orthodox monasticism that the Russian sophiologists much admired. Rowan Williams adds a brief commentary. Marcus Plested explores the concept of sophia in Wisdom in the Fathers: An (Eastern) Orthodox Perspective, but he does so on a strictly biblical and patristic basis without reference to any modern Russian thinkers except for Vladimir Lossky, who of course rejected sophiology and convinced most of his fellow Orthodox theologians to do likewise. The remaining authors engage the thematics of sophiology and theurgy only indirectly or not at all. Graham Ward analyzes soteriological concepts in Paul and the Epistle of James in Kenosis, Poiesis and Genesis: Or the Theological Aesthetics of Suffering, with a commentary by Igor Dorfmann-Lazarev. Philip Blond offers a substantial essay on The Beatic Vision of St Thomas Aquinas, though without any reference to Orthodox theology. Andrew Louth masterfully sketches a liturgical theology in Space, Time and the Liturgy, foregrounding Maximus the Confessors Mystagogia; Catherine Pickstock adds a commentary. In The Theologico-Political Constitution of Monastic Liturgy, Mihail Neamt u offers a reading of Eastern Orthodox monastic liturgy very much in the spirit of Radical Orthodoxy by stressing monasticisms mediating role between the private and public dimension of the Christian faith and by evaluating liturgy as a political category (pp. 255257), a formulation he owes to Catherine Pickstock. In The Transformation of Eros: Reections on Desire in Jacques Lacan, Christoph Schneider closes the collection by
2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

318 Reviews
counterpoising the Christian ideal of non-coercive but directive love (p. 288) to the Lacanian analysis of desire. How does the encounter between Eastern Orthodoxy and Radical Orthodoxy happen in this volume? For the most part, it occurs indirectly, leaving the reader with the chief responsibility for parsing its contents. Not that there is anything obscure about where the main theological issue lies in this conversation: it lies in the tension between the Neo-Palamite and sophiological streams of modern theology. But no essay in this volume anatomizes this antagonism. Preferring deference over confrontation, the authors propound diametrically opposed views without embracing the opposition itself as a subject for discussion. In the opening sentence of his essay Milbank writes, At the dawn of the twenty-rst century, it increasingly appears that perhaps the most signicant theology of the two preceding centuries has been that of the Russian sophiological tradition (p. 45). For those who admire Russian sophiology, this assessment betokens the deserved rediscovery of some remarkable theologians. But it also calls the preoccupations of much contemporary Orthodox theology into question by rehabilitating a tradition that most Orthodox theologians consigned to oblivion some seventy years ago. Yet nowhere in this book does an Orthodox theologian evaluate Milbanks claim or otherwise confront the signicance of Russian sophiology for modern Orthodox theology. The only essay in which an Orthodox contributor extensively assesses Radical Orthodox positions is the contribution by the distinguished Greek theologian Nicholas Loudovikos, Ontology Celebrated: Remarks of an Orthodox on Radical Orthodoxy. Loudovikos expresses admiration for Radical Orthodoxy even if he regards its Platonism with skepticism. But nowhere in his essay does he mention Russian sophiology; he chooses to ignore the elephant in the room. The assessment of Palamas and Neo-Palamite theology is another thorny matter in this volume. Milbank offers a carefully crafted if brief analysis of why, in his opinion, the classic Palamite distinction between divine essence and uncreated divine energies falls short as a theory of divine-creaturely (divine-human) mediation (pp. 7071, 77), while David Hart, an Orthodox theologian whose Foreword prefaces this collection, expresses the hope that some Eastern theologians might be emboldened partly to abandon the Neo-Palamite theology that has become so dominant in their Church since the middle of the last century, and frankly acknowledge its incoherence (p. xiii). In the concluding essay, however, Christoph Schneider unqualiedly reiterates the Neo-Palamite claim that the doctrine of the divine energies plays a key role with respect to the ideas of analogy and participation, for it explains how the one simple God can be fully present in the wide variety of different creatures (p. 287). Nicholas Loudovikos, too, takes a largely Neo-Palamite approach in his critique of what he regards as a tendency to overly intellectualize mysticism in Radical Orthodoxy (pp. 149151). No attempt is made to mediate between these conicting representations of Neo-Palamite theology. Then there is the question of metaphysics in theology: Loudovikos hails Radical Orthodoxy for seek[ing] to establish a non-metaphysical ontology which consummates Neoplatonic inspiration in the Eucharistic experience (p. 142). Adrian Pabst, on the other hand, would serve Radical Orthodoxy by reviving the Solovyovian conviction that Christian theology is metaphysical in this sense that it describes the Christic form of humanity and the cosmos and conceptualizes how and why this might be so (p. 128). So are we doing metaphysics in this volume or not? Social and political ethics is another area where the encounter between Eastern Orthodoxy and Radical Orthodoxy is less extensive than one might have hoped. Social and political agenda gure prominently in Radical Orthodoxy, as some of the authors here acknowledge, but only the essays by Northcott and Papst, and to some extent Neamt us contribution, deal with this aspect of the Radical Orthodox-Eastern
2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Reviews 319
Orthodox relationship. Nicholas Loudovikos refers in passing to his recent monograph, Orthodoxy and Modernization: Byzantine Individualization, State and History in the Perspective of the European Future (Athens, 2006, in Greek), but he does not satisfy our curiosity about what he has to say in that book or how it squares with Radical Orthodox positions. A desire to hear more about politics and society would appear to be justied when one considers that the truly new developments affecting the Eastern Orthodox world since the rise of Radical Orthodoxy some twenty years ago are not sophiology or Palamas or Maximus the Confessor or Plato or any other classical theological source, but the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the catapulting of the peoples of the historic Christian East into a completely new social and political reality. But if the encounter between Radical Orthodoxy and Eastern Orthodoxy in this volume has its limitations, the editors still deserve praise for undertaking an important project of inter-confessional dialogue. This is a rst attempt, after all, and one hopes that it will not be the last. This volume also benets incalculably from incorporating the presumably denitive version of Milbanks essay. Whatever the destiny of sophiology and theurgy for the new theological horizon might be, Milbank has given us the best systematic reconstruction of these concepts to appear in years. No one interested in sophiology, and Bulgakovs theology in particular, can afford to overlook it. Paul Valliere Department of Philosophy and Religion 202 Jordan Hall Butler University Indianapolis, IN 46208 USA

2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd