митрополит Иоанн Зизиу́лас

Lectures in Christian Dogmatics



Introduction I. Doctrine II. God The Economy The Church The Son and the Spirit Eucharist Catholicity Chapter 1. DOCTRINE AS THE TEACHING OF THE CHURCH I. The Church and the Formation of Doctrine 1. Theology and Hermeneutics 2. The Purpose of Doctrine 3. Scripture and Doctrine II. Knowledge of God 1. Knowledge in General 2. Knowledge Through the Son 3. Knowledge Through Personhood 4. Knowledge Through Faith Chapter 2. THE DOCTRINE OF GOD I. Beginnings II. The Being of God 1. One and Many 2. That, What and How God is 3. Augustine. III. Theology and Economy IV. Filioque Chapter 3. CREATION AND SALVATION I. The Doctrine of Creation II. Creation EX NIHILO III. The Significance of the Doctrine of Creation IV. The Fall V. Christology VI. Salvation VII. Communion Chapter 4. THE CHURCH I. The Identity Of The Church II. Gathered Church III. The Church Of God IV. The Church as Image of the Future V. The Church and the Churches VI. The Church around the Bishop VII. Son and Spirit VIII. Eschatology and History IX. Reception  


The present volume contains material from my lectures on Christian Dogmatics which were given to students of theology in the Universities of Edinburgh (1970–1973), Glasgow (1973–1987), London (King’s College 1984, 1989–1998) and finally, Thessalonica (1984–1998). These lectures were tape-recorded by my students in Thessalonica and widely circulated. From this text a group of young scholars in Greece took the initiative to produce an English translation, which Douglas Knight has edited to produce the present volume. I am grateful to Katerina Nikolopoulou, Anna Nevrozidou, Thomas Dritsas and their colleagues at the Outlet for Dogmatic Enquires (OODE) who produced the first text, and also to Liviu Barbu in London. As to Douglas Knight, I find no words to express my appreciation for the hard labour and, above all, the enthusiasm with which he has edited these lectures. The Introduction he has provided for the book will certainly be of help to the reader.

This book does not claim to be a systematic theology, and unlike my previous books, does not contain references to other authors, except to Biblical and Patristic sources. It is written primarily for undergraduate students, although I hope that other theologians мая find it useful too.

Orthodox theology in our time must operate in an ecumenical context and so in dialogue with other Christian traditions. And it cannot take place in a cultural vacuum that ignores current philosophical trends, and it cannot simply repeat the traditions of the past. It is unfortunate that much of today’s Orthodox theology is in fact nothing but history – a theologically uncommitted scholar could have done this kind of ‘theology’ just as well or even better. Although this kind of ‘theology’ claims to be faithful to the Fathers and tradition, it is in fact contrary to the method followed by the Fathers themselves. For the Fathers worked in constant dialogue with the intellectual trends of their time to interpret the Christian faith to the world around them. This is precisely the task of Orthodox theology in our time too.

In the lectures contained in this volume Christian doctrine is approached as a tradition that comes to us from the past but which is interpreted in a way that answers the needs of human beings in our own time, particularly in the context of Western culture. It is an attempt at dogmatic hermeneutics that aims to answer this question: what would the Fathers say to us today in response to our own concerns, as these are shaped by our Western culture? In this attempt faithfulness to history is presupposed and care is taken not to deviate from it. But this does not exhaust our purpose which is to offer an interpretation rather than simply a repetition of Christian doctrine. In the inspired words of the late Father Georges Florovsky, the message of the Fathers must be phrased today ‘in such a way as to secure an ecumenical, a truly universal appeal. This obviously cannot be achieved by any servile repetition of the Patristic letter … servility is alien both to the Bible and to the Fathers. … The East must face and meet the challenges of the West, and the West perhaps has to pay more attention to the legacy of the East … Theological tradition must be reintegrated, not simply summed up and accumulated’. 1This neopatristic synthesis, as Florovsky termed it, is the task to which Orthodox theology is called today.1

These lectures are dedicated to my students in the Universities in which they were given. For they are the result of constant and creative dialogue with them over the many years of teaching, for which I wholeheartedly give thanks and glory to the merciful God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

+Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon

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    George Florovsky, ‘The legacy and the task of Orthodox theology’, Anglican Theological Revieio, 31 (1949) 65–71.

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