Lenten Reading


Generally I’m against the “things I’m doing and giving up for Lent” posts, but I’m excited about this book, and this one, ordered to get the free shipping. Amazon now allows one to use credit card “rewards” directly, which I suppose is the one benefit of our massive debt.

I’ve been wanting to read Christ the Conqueror of Hell since Samn! brought it up on another blog, and after reading this.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Lenten Reading

  1. “Amazon now allows one to use credit card “rewards” directly, which I suppose is the one benefit of our massive debt.”

    I can very much commiserate. A while back I ordered some books and when I saw how much in the way of “rewards” we had earned I thought “holy shit, that can’t be good.” Thank you wife’s dental work.

  2. It’s a good book. It’s a little dry and pedantic, but it’s a good resource and brings to light ‘traditional’ teachings from a range of Fathers of unquestionable orthdooxy that is perhaps surprising to some traditionalists/conservatives/evangelicals.

    • Agreed on the dry and pedantic thing. The collection of texts is useful, probably the best part of the book.

      At least there hasn’t been a Love Wins–style controversy over it amongst the ex–Evangelical set.

  3. Eh, by the standards of what Russians expect academic writing to look like, it could be dryer and more pedantic….

    I kind of wish the book had created a controversy among the ex-Evangelical set, in that such a controversy would have made for a very interesting starting-off point for a discussion of how to read the Fathers and how to give doctrinal weight to liturgical texts, which might could spur them on to a broader, if not deeper, view of Orthodoxy. Alfeyev’s own discussion of this issue at the end of the book is valuable, but leaves much to be desired (the most eyebrow-raising statement he makes in the entire book isn’t anything to do with his sympathy for universalism, which all Orthodox should have, but when he says “the church has the authority to return to the decisions of its councils and, if necessary, modify them.”)

    That said, it’s possible that I just like the books because it uses the Syriac fathers as an effective foil to the Latins….

  4. I was thinking about going back to this book again: http://www.amazon.com/Light-Darkness-Balthasar-Catholic-Doctrine/dp/0802840396/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330740105&sr=8-1

    I wonder if anyone here has read Pitstock or is familiar with the debate between her and Balthasar’s groupies?

    Just reading the talk Hil gave at St. Mary’s in MPLS and reading the line “Finally, this very scholastic approach whereby the most mysterious events of history are subjected to detailed analysis and rational interpretation is unacceptable for Eastern Christian theology.” I’m not sure. If you take out the words ‘of history’ I think I would disagree (Ps. Dion, or hell, tollhouses). I actually like that Augustine held that the ‘great’ pagan minds were not necessarily put in a better position for salvation on the basis of their intellectual feats or because they advocated for this or that theme that seemed consistent with some Christian theme. I like the sort of anti-paideia posture suggested by that. But sure, he must have been one fun pastor when your kid died before baptism.

    • Immediately before publication of the book (her dissertation) Pitstick’s views on von Balthasar were given an interminable airing in First Things:

      http://www.firstthings.com/article/2008/10/balthasar-hell-and-heresy-an-exchange-38

      and

      http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/003-more-on-balthasar-hell-and-heresy-39

      Her accusation against von Balthasar is that he erred in claiming that Christ went to hell proper and suffered there the pains of damnation, suffering the punishment for everyone’s sins- and so setting everyone free. She claims that Catholic dogma requires that Christ only descended to the Limbo of the Fathers, setting them– and only them– free. Both positions are kind of freaky from an Orthodox point of view… (I had thought before I read that exchange that the Limbo of the Fathers was an invention of Dante).

      • Yeah I read the debate in FT, and I’ve read most of her book. In the book she gives an outline of the traditional RC position and devotes a few pages to contrasting it with the Eastern position. Then she goes after Von B. I would like to see a book devoted to the traditional RC view, with some contrast provided concerning non-Latin views, especially if it could note and debate or interaction between the alternative positions.

  5. One of my favorite bits in Herman’s translated book on PapaD is the bit about how PapaD’s priest used to go and bless the local brothel after epiphany. The Touchstonista/Dobsonista elements in American convert Orthodoxy would be horrified at the idea of a priest doing such a thing.

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