A beautifully written overview of Orthodoxy based on the metaphor of music, filled with personal asides. Highlights Syrian, Armenian, Byzantine, and Russian theologians, poets, liturgists, and iconographers to illumine creation, the apocalypse, divine therapy, the victorious cross, the mother of God, and the rhythm of the resurrection. 184 pages, softcover. Eerdmans.
Guroian (Incarnate Love: Essays in Orthodox Ethics), professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia, sets out with a bold missionto write a series of theological tonal poems, each reading more like music than prose. This, he asserts, will not produce a rational or linear organization, but rather create an aesthetic reading experience in which literary themes will develop into melodic variations and fugues. Hymnody, he asserts, existed before any Christian art and architecture because it integrated the feeling of doctrine along with the thought of theology, creating a richer spiritual understanding. Consequently, the book divides itself into six hymnlike chapters that sing the Orthodox theologies of creation, the apocalypse, redemption, the Virgin Mary, the crucifixion, and resurrection. To a large extent, the execution of the books mission is successful, particularly the authors method of separating each chapter into verse-like subsections. Yet the reader may feel lost at times in the complexity of the authors intent. To fully appreciate the musical style of the prose, one may at times be required to pay less attention to the beauty of the very theologies Guroian wishes to convey. (Feb.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
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