Orthodox Theological Method I

Yep, here’s another essay series: What is distinctive about the way Orthodox theologians conceive of their task, with reference to the writing of Elisabeth Behr-Sigel.  When it comes to grappling with some of the shortcomings of late Enlightenment theology, contemporary Orthodox Theology tremendously exciting, because it’s tracked a different geographical-political-theological-historical-sociological-etc. pathway to Western theological traditions.  A great conversation partner for twentieth century continental philosophy!

Anyway, here’s part I -the introduction – that’ll give you an idea of whether or not you want to read the rest!  The whole essay is linked on the ‘writing’ page and if you want full reference details you can get them there.  The icons in this series are from a contemporary Serbian iconographer called Nebojsa Djukic: waysha.com.  Enjoy.

Orthodox Theology is a unique voice in twentieth and twenty-first century global theology. In simplistic terms, it is the conception of Tradition which accounts for their distinct perspective, however there are several key elements contained within this which delineate the task of theology. The Orthodox concept of Tradition demonstrates a preference for locating the task of theology within the tasks of worship and spirituality. It also expresses a non-dualistic hermeneutic unfamiliar to Western approaches to theology and there is an integrated Trinitarian Pneumatology flowing out of that. Practically speaking, this works its way out in a distinct style of biblical exegesis, drawing consistently on the wisdom of the Church Fathers and Ecumenical Councils.

Elisabeth Behr-Sigel illustrates the genius that this distinctive theological approach brings to theology in the current global context. She embodied the challenges of the last century: Jewish by virtue of her mother’s religion; baptised Lutheran; lived through both world wars in Europe; bilingual French and German; the first woman to study theology at Strasbourg University; a pastor during the war; and exposed to the whirlwind of Parisian intellectualism. She was involved in ecumenism since her student days with the Student Christian Movement and converted to Orthodoxy by the inspiration of notable friends recently arrived from Russia.

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