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Orthodox Constructions of the West

George E. Demacopoulos

Publication Year: 2013

The category of the "West" has played a particularly significant role in the modern Eastern Orthodox imagination. It has functioned as an absolute marker of difference from what is considered to be the essence of Orthodoxy, and, thus, ironically, has become a constitutive aspect of the modern Orthodox self. The essays collected in this volume examines the many factors that contributed to the "Eastern" construction of the "West" in order to understand why the "West" is so important to the Eastern Christian's sense of self.

Published by: Fordham University Press

Series: Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-6


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xii

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Orthodox Naming of the Other:A Postcolonial Approach

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pp. 1-22

Who is Western? Who is Eastern? Am I “Eastern” if I commune in an Eastern Orthodox parish in Toledo, Ohio? Am I “Western” if I commune at an Eastern- Rite Catholic parish in Kiev? What if I was baptized into the Eastern Orthodox faith as a child, but I’ve never learned an Eastern language or traveled outside of the United States— am I Eastern or Western? What if I am a convert to an Eastern or Western faith? In...

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Perceptions and Realities in Orthodox-Catholic Relations Today: Reflections on the Past, Prospects for the Future

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pp. 23-44

On the feast of St. Andrew, November 30, 2000, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I said after Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of St. George in the Phanar: “Revisiting the past and examining human faults must continue in all directions . . . because whoever consents to the misdeeds of another or tolerates them by his silence, shares the responsibility of...

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Byzantines, Armenians, and Latins: Unleavened Bread and Heresy in the Tenth Century

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pp. 45-57

The study of how Byzantine Orthodox Christians in the Middle Ages define themselves in relation to the many faiths, ethnic groups, friends, and enemies who surround and live within the Byzantine Empire is as fascinating as the history of any group’s self- definition and its ramifications, with some added twists.1 Greek- speaking Christians who lived...

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“Light from the West”: Byzantine Readings of Aquinas

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pp. 58-70

It is a truth universally acknowledged that East and West possess fundamentally opposing theological bases, presuppositions, and methodologies. But the assumption that East and West are meaningful and clearly delineated theological categories is of relatively recent provenance. It is the burden of this paper to demonstrate that this assumption of opposition...

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From the “Shield of Orthodoxy” to the “Tome of Joy”: The Anti-Western Stance of Dositheos II of Jerusalem (1641–1707)

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pp. 71-82

The ambivalence of Orthodoxy’s attitude to the West is reflected in the contrasting approaches of contemporary Orthodox thinkers. For some, Western culture embodies spiritual values that have the potentiality to enrich Orthodoxy.1 For others, the West represents an alien ideology dominated by individualism and consumerism that threatens to...

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The Burdens of Tradition: Orthodox Constructions of the West in Russia (late 19th– early 20th cc.)

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pp. 83-101

The nineteenth century was pivotal in the history of both Russian intellectual and modern Orthodox thought. In the first half of the century, following Russia’s defeat of Napoleon in 1814 and the Decembrist uprising in 1825, many of Russia’s educated elite, who later would be identified as the first generation of Slavophiles and Westernizers, fervently...

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Florovsky’s Neopatristic Synthesis and the Future Ways of Orthodox Theology

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pp. 102-124

Archpriest Georgii Vasil’evich Florovsky (1893– 1979) is commonly credited with initiating a return to the Fathers in twentieth- century Orthodox theology. For Florovsky, Christian Hellenism was the norm by which all modern theological proposals were to be judged. He believed that Western influences upon modern Russian theology led to dangerous...

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Eastern “Mystical Theology” or Western “Nouvelle Théologie”?: On the Comparative Reception of Dionysius the Areopagite in Lossky and de Lubac

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pp. 125-141

This volume is devoted to the intriguing topic of Orthodox constructions of the West. The very term “construction,” of course, suggests a certain hermeneutics of suspicion: What Orthodoxy “constructs” could turn out, on inspection, seriously to mislead. But caution must be exercised, equally, in not overreacting into an opposite danger: that of presuming...

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The Image of the West in Contemporary Greek Theology

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pp. 142-160

The relationship between Greek theology1 and the West has nearly always been one of ambivalence: On the one hand, the Greek side has shown a pronounced rejection and a radical critique of its Western counterpart, which has lately been justified in the name of authenticity and faithfulness to Orthodoxy, and is usually accompanied by an attitude...

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Christos Yannaras and the Idea of “Dysis”

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pp. 161-180

I do not intend in this to deal with every aspect of the idea of Dysis in the thinking of Christos Yannaras, for in Yannaras’s vast oeuvre the theme of the West comes up in many different contexts and plays a variety of roles.1, I shall look at his thinking statu nascenti, or in the early years of his refl ection— that is to say, from 1964 to 1967, from his leaving the Zoe...

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Religion in the Greek Public Sphere: Debating Europe’s Influence

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pp. 181-192

In 1999, Peter Berger, renowned sociologist of religion, did something scholars rarely do. A leading figure in the development of the theory of secularization— the theory that predicted that modernization would necessarily lead to the decline of religion—Berger professed that he had been wrong: “The world today,” he wrote, “is massively religious, is...

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Shaking the Comfortable Conceits of Otherness: Political Science and the Study of “Orthodox Constructions of the West”

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pp. 193-210

The invitation to contribute to the conference that eventuated in this volume afforded a much- welcome opportunity to engage in cross-disciplinary inquiry into the subject of Orthodox constructions of the West. As a political scientist, I am especially enthusiastic about the possibility for such cross- disciplinary excavation of an intellectually complex...

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Eastern Orthodox Constructions of “the West” in the Post-Communist Political Discourse: The Cases of the Romanian and Russian Orthodox Churches

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pp. 211-228

Romania and Russia began the process of transformation from communism to capitalism within two years of each other. The glasnost and perestroika (openness and restructuring)— the political, social, and economic reforms— implemented by the Soviet secretary of the Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev, revealed the major cracks in the...

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Primacy and Ecclesiology: The State of the Question

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pp. 229-239

The phenomenon of antipapism, understood as the denial of a primus for the Universal Church and the elevation of such denial to a trait that allegedly identifies the whole Orthodox Church, is, properly speaking, heretical. In saying this, I am returning the favor, so to speak, to all those who have taken upon themselves the onerous task of defending...

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(In)Voluntary Ecumenism: Dumitru Staniloae’s Interaction with the West as Open Sobornicity

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pp. 240-254

Orthodox theology suffered an unhealthy influence during its “Western captivity.”1 Specifically, the overly intellectual bent of neo- Scholasticism divorced Orthodox theology from its tradition of spirituality. In line with several notable predecessors, Eastern and Western alike, Georges Florovsky called for theological education to break from...


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pp. 255-356


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pp. 357-360


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pp. 361-366

Series Page

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pp. 367-368

E-ISBN-13: 9780823252060
Print-ISBN-13: 9780823251926
Print-ISBN-10: 0823251926

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: Cloth
Series Title: Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Catholic Church -- Relations -- Orthodox Eastern Church
  • Orthodox Eastern Church -- Relations -- Catholic Church
  • Orthodox Eastern Church -- Doctrines.
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