Patristic Fundamentalism?

Fr. Ted has an excellent post in which he writes, ‘Orthodoxy’s efforts to define itself by adopting an absolutist and oppositional attitude (to) Western Christianity (which) has caused the Orthodox to become exclusivist and even sectarian.’

He cites another article, in which the author, Kalaitzidis, notes:

“The consequences of this ‘return to the Fathers’ and the subsequent overemphasis on patristic studies were, among other things: (1) the neglect and devaluation of biblical studies; (2) an ahistorical approach to patristic theology and a subsequent exaltation of traditionalism;(3) a tendency toward introversion and Orthodox theology’s near total absence from the major theological developments and trends of the 20th century; (4) the polarization of East and West, and the cultivation and consolidation of an anti-western and anti-ecumenical spirit;  and (5) a weak theological response to the challenges posed by the modern world and; more generally, the unresolved theological issues still remaining in the relationship between  Orthodoxy and modernity.”

The same author goes on to show how the East (and indeed, many in the West) take the Fathers as the absolute and refuse to question things, even to the exclusion of history,

“Today, we have come to regard that encounter as self-evident, forgetting the titanic battles that preceded it. Perhaps we are unaware or fail to notice how difficult and painful it was for primitive Christianity (with its Jewish and generally Semitic roots and origins) to accept and incorporate Hellenic concepts and categories such as nature, essence, homoousion,hypostasis, person, logos, intellect, nous, meaning, cause, power, accident, energy, kath’holou, cosmos, etc.   But this ahistorical approach to patristic theology is in fact a ‘betrayal’ of the spirit of the Fathers inasmuch as it betrays and ignores the very core and essence of their thought, i.e., a continuous dialogue with the world, and an encounter with and assumption of the historical, social, cultural, and scientific context of their time…”

Read the rest here:

Modern Orthodox Theology: Do What the Fathers Did, Not Just What They Said | Fr. Ted’s Blog.

And excellent post for many reasons, namely two – it shows that anyone can be a fundamentalist and two, it calls to mind that modern, orthodox, Christianity is a development away, or from, the Jewish beginnings, incorporating many foreign elements.

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