Historical Dictionary of the Orthodox Churchby Michael Prokurat, Alexander Golitzin, and Michael D. Peterson (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 84, Number 4, October 1998
- pp. 706-708
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- Additional Information
706BOOK REVIEWS the post-Chalcedonian disputes in the Coptic literature ofupper Egypt (p. 109). The recently published homilies of Rufus of Shotep show on the contrary a keen sensitivity to theologically correct terminology. Additional unpublished material is likely to show the same. In the third part ofthe book (pp. 202-334)Winkler traces the involvement of the Coptic Church in the ecumenical movement beginning with its participation as a founding member in the World Council of Churches in 1948 and later its participation also as a founding member in the Middle East Council of Churches and the dialogues with other churches to which these contacts led. He divides his discussion into dialogues between the Oriental-Orthodox Churches and the Orthodox Church (unofficial and official) and dialogues between the Oriental-Orthodox Churches and the Roman-Catholic Church (unofficial [those sponsored by Pro Oriente in Vienna] and official). Winkler explains the degree of agreement to which these discussions have led on christological questions and the degree of disagreement that remains on eccesiological matters, as well as the difficulties of translating theological agreement into visible communion among the churches. Winkler's work provides a veritable guidebook to these complex developments of the last fifty years. It would also be interesting to know what are the sources used by the Oriental Orthodox theologians participating in these dialogues (Jbeyond the classical authors such as Cyril and Severus) and to what extent they accept western historical scholarship. This is a very useful book,whether as a guide to the complexities ofthe christological disputes of the fifth and sixth centuries and recent research thereon or to the more recent and equally complex dialogues on the subject. A briefreview cannot do justice to the many finely balanced discussions contained in it. An ample and useful bibliography completes it. Mark Sheridan, O.S.B. PontificioAteneo S.Anselmo, Rome Historical Dictionary of the Orthodox Church. By Michael Prokurat, Alexander Golitzin, and Michael D. Peterson. [Religions, Philosophies, and Movements, No. 9] (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. 1996. Pp. xvii, 440. $89.00.) Students of the Christian Church may avail themselves of such fine reference works as the three-volume Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church (1965), the eighteen-volume New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967 et seq.), the eight-volume Coptic Encyclopedia (1991), or the renowned Oxford Dictionary ofthe Christian Church,written largely from a British and Anglican perspective (1786 pp.; 3rd ed., 1997). The book here under review is a more modest but entirely welcome reference work on the Orthodox tradition and meets a long-felt need. Of the three authors Dr. Prokurat and Dr. Golitzin are both assistant professors of BOOK REVIEWS707 theology, while Mr. Peterson is a professional librarian; all three are associated with theological institutions in the United States. An introductory essay discusses, among other things, the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (without the Filioque) as the basic statement of Orthodox belief , the world-wide distribution of Orthodox believers, the perception of Orthodoxy by contemporaryWestern historians and the media, and future challenges ; among the latter the authors see a need for a "united witness of Orthodoxy on the international scene." It is one of the strong points of this book that it does not limit its coverage to the Greek-speaking Orthodox churches, but rather gives equal attention to the Orthodox churches of the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Thus we find articles not only onJohn Chrysostom or Photius, but also on the Doukhobars orAlexander Nevskii. While biblical matters have been excluded—justifiably so, given the ready availability of various Bible dictionaries and commentaries—the chronological scope is also impressive: from Justin Martyr or Gnosticism in the second century to Archbishop Iakovos or the ecumenical movement in the twentieth century. The last 150 years receive, relatively, more attention than earlier centuries; thus the article on Georges Florovsky takes up a whole page, that on Constantine the Great only half a page. There are articles not only on historical figures and events but also on theological concepts, liturgical practices, and religious institutions. Important personalities of the West, such as Augustine of Hippo or Charlemagne, are not overlooked. Some technical terms are explained such as "autocephalous," Filioque, or Kyrie eleison. Controversial subjects are not avoided; thus...