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Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church (Contemporary Greek Theologians Series, No 4) Paperback – March 1, 1997


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Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church (Contemporary Greek Theologians Series, No 4) + Communion and Otherness: Further Studies in Personhood and the Church
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 269 pages
  • Publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Pr (March 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881410292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881410297
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'A superb example of the creative use of Scripture and tradition to address contemporary tensions.' -- Rowan Williams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Zizioulas is Metropolitan of Pergamon in the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

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Customer Reviews

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Worth having and re-reading.
Bibliophile
Bishop Zizioulas presents a very systematic defense of the Eastern Orthodox understanding, and relevance, of Trinitarian theology.
matt
A deeper, yet still crystal clear and refreshing spring is Olivier Clement's "The Roots of Christian Mysticism."
Wyote

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 82 people found the following review helpful By benjamin on August 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Every so often a book comes along that manages to rotate and shake up your paradigm in such a way that, after the shift is over, you suddenly see things not only in a new way, but in a new way that makes far greater sense. _Being as Communion_ by Metropolitan John Zizioulas is one such book for me.

It works on several levels, bringing together what are oftentimes considered disparate strands of thought - philosophical, theological and pastoral - into a thickly weaved narrative that shows why an Orthodox understanding of the Trinity as the communion of the three persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is...necessary. For Zizioulas, this communion of the Trinity is the model to be embodied not only by the Church as the communion of all churches, but by the very person as well: we only are who we are when we are in communion with God and one another.

The title of the book is no mistake; Zizioulas puts himself in dialogue with some of the great philosophers of the 20th century (such as Heidegger and Levinas, the latter of whom he praises, particularly his work Totality and Inifinity). The fundamental point that Zizioulas raises about Being is that in the eucharist - in the act of communion itself! - the essential and the temporal become fused into a living harmony. Such was - and is - Christ, and such also is to be the Church and the Christian, participating in the eternal life of God while in the here and now. Being is not static, but in time and in relation.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By matt on December 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Bishop Zizioulas presents a very systematic defense of the Eastern Orthodox understanding, and relevance, of Trinitarian theology. He shows how the starting point of the Trinity is not the essence, as is often the case in western theology, but with the persons- Father, Son, Spirit. Commenting on western, essense first approach, he writes:

"This interpretation represents a misinterpretation of the Patristic theology of the Trinity. Among the Greek Fathers the unity of God, the one God, and the ontological 'principle' or 'cause' of the being and life of God does not consist in the one substance of God but in the hypostasis, that is, the person of the Father. The one God is not the one substance but the Father, who is the cause both of the generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit. Consequesntly, the ontological 'principle' of God is traced back, once again, to the person." (page40-41)

This line of thought runs thru the whole text, linking personhood with being in the ontological sense. Moreover, he draws various ecclesiological conclusions about he role of the bishop in the church catholic. He builds a eucharistic ecclesiology around some of his reading of the Greek Patristic tradition that fits well with much of modern Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic thought.

This book has had a very wide influence among theologians.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
I found this book hard to understand the first time through, but after struggling with it a second time, I am very grateful for the understanding that it gives. The main philosphical/theologiical argument is that nothing exists without communion, not even God. THis book really helped me understand the centrality of the the doctrine of the Trinity.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Wyote VINE VOICE on November 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Let me 'fess up here: I read this book about 5 years ago. Along with many other books about theology.

But it is one of the few that I still remember pretty well, years later.

I'm in no position to say how well Zizioulas represents "orthodox" Orthodoxy, but I can say that in my opinion this is the best presentation I've ever read of Trinitarian theology, ecclesiology, and theological anthropology. Those are some massive areas, and it's remarkable that one book covered them so well.

I'd also recommend Lars Thunberg's study of Maximus the Confessor in "Microcosm and Mediator," as another one of those books that has stuck with me for a very long time. It touches on a lot of these same issues among others, showing that at the very least, Zizioulas is not "out of line."

However, both of these books are quite hard for most people (me included) to read. For a simpler introduction to modern Orthodox ecclesiology, I'd direct you to Khomiakov's essay "On the Western Confessions of Faith," available in a book edited by Schmemann, "Ultimate Questions." Of course, Bishop Kallistos (Timothy Ware) writes very clearly about all this and more in, for instance, "The Orthodox Way." A deeper, yet still crystal clear and refreshing spring is Olivier Clement's "The Roots of Christian Mysticism."

(Mea Culpa / Caveat Lector: I am not Orthodox.)
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