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The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann, 1973-1983 Paperback – Abridged, March 31, 2000


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The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann, 1973-1983 + The Eucharist: Sacrament of the Kingdom + For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 353 pages
  • Publisher: St Vladimirs Seminary Pr; abridged edition edition (March 31, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881412007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881412000
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #734,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Includes some brilliant nuggets of theological reflection and wonderfully honest accounts of the struggles and victories of faith. -- Christian Century, March 14, 2001

It is a big book of some 350 pages and, after I had finished reading it, I wished for more. -- First Things

Powerful in the way Thomas Merton's journals are powerful: words written out of deep faith [in] the light of God. -- Commonweal, September 22, 2000

Schememann, more than any other Orthodox churchman, communicated to the Christian West the liturgical spirit of the Christian East. --Christian Century, April 25, 2001

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Customer Reviews

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See all 13 customer reviews
They are a valuable look into the heart of a great man.
Wyote
I was just relating the impact of this book on me to a friend yesterday; made me go back this morning and do a quick review, years after reading this book.
Dan E. Nicholas
The Kingdom of God is more likely to be found in a walk in the park, a child's smile, a memory of Paris or crisp winter air than in a theology book.
Michael G. Huber

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jacob on July 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading another's letters or journals, while sometimes ethically questionable, is almost always entertaining and more often than not, it provides illustrations of how literature and theology ought to be done. Fr Schmemann is no exception. These journals span ten years and reflect his thoughts on church, politics, and culture. What makes them refreshing is that he can offer America an outsider's perspective on a range of topics. One can summarize the Journals in a few words: two No's and a Yes--no to secularism, no to "spirituality" and yes to the Kingdom of God.

I read this several years ago and since then, reflecting developments in European and American history since Fr Alexander wrote this book, I must modify most of my praise. That will come at the end of the review.

Fr Schmemann saw the problem in the 70s and 80s as the Church (mainly Orthodox but any denomination would be accurate) capitulating to the world's values. But the two No's cannot be understood apart from Schmemann's goal: helping the (local) Church understand it's role in the Kingdom of God and in participating in the Eucharist. The Eucharist reflects the light of the future Kingdom and reorients the Church's values. Take away the Kingdom (and the Eucharist) and one is left with left-over secularism and vague spiritualities. Secularism is misplacing the Kingdom of God. Spirituality is simply trying to do "religion" apart from the historical reality of the Kingdom and the concrete reality of the Eucharist. If one is tied to history and receives the Sacrament, then one cannot fall prey to "spirituality."

Conclusion:
The book is a gem. Some pages are beyond beautiful.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Wyote VINE VOICE on November 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
Father Alexander Schmemann is one of the greatest theologians and teachers America has ever known, and he was very open in these journals. They are a valuable look into the heart of a great man. His honest desciption of his vision of the ecclesiastical world, his own failings, and the realities of seminary life may be eye-opening to some, perhaps even discouraging. But his tenderness and sensitivity to the world saturate almost every page, and his rich wisdom and deep faith will challenge every reader. Here is the spiritual life of an authentically human Orthodox Christian.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Mark R. Farmer on December 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Richard John Neuhaus has a beautifully touching review of the "Journals" and tribute to Father Schmemann (the dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary who died in 1983) in the January 2001 issue of "First Things" magazine. The seven-page article has extensive quotes from the book, including Schmemann's friendship with Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Father Neuhaus (Roman Catholic), who became friends with Fr. Schmemann (Eastern Orthodox) in his last years, terms him a true "man in full." I'm looking forward to reading the book, to learn more about his impressions of America (he moved here in the 1950s from Paris, after growing up in Estonia), his efforts at ecumenism, as well as his great love for the Divine Liturgy. Schmemann writes: "All of life flows out of -- and is connected with -- the Liturgy!"
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mark A. Bentley on December 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Never have I come across a man like Fr. Alexander Schmemann. His perception of America from an outsiders perspective is clear and his comments always go strait to the root of the matter. His views of the future of the Church and its current internal state can only be described as Prophetic. His honesty about the World, the Church and Himself is often troubling, yet he always leaves you much more hopeful than when you started. This book is Light, Freedom and Joy for whoever finds it.
God has truly blessed Fr. Alexander Schmemann
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael G. Huber on August 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is Fr. Schmemann both at his theological and philosophical best and his psychologically most vulnerable as a human. Fr. Schmemann (+1983), former professor at St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York, pillar of Russian-American Orthodoxy in the late 20th C. takes us to the essence of Orthodox Christian experience and also to the reality of his inner human dilemma. We get a rare and prolonged view of the passions of the private, inner man in contrast to the powerful public figure that he displayed across not only the American Orthodox and nonOrthodox scene, but also internationally, especially in France and the former Soviet Union via his radio broadcasts.

At first glance this book would seem to have a very narrow audience--Orthodox, especially those of traditional Russian background (the very audience that would seem to be most offended by many of the pages of this book). Even recent converts in the West to Orthodoxy, especially Protestants, likely will not understand many of the cultural idiosyncrasies of the immigrant Russian church. But there is so much more to this volume. As a psychotherapist I find in his journals a plethora of insight into the psychological and characterological dynamics of this renowned professor and lecturer. Anyone of a Christian religious background, open to the sacramental point of view, will find sparkling gems of insight and spiritual experience (a topic, oddly, Fr. Schmemann himself despised). In addition, his journals are a veritable time capsule of contemporary events of the 70's and early 80's. We relive Carter, Begin and Sadat, the Iranian hostage crisis and the Ayatollah, the Jim Jones Guyana mass suicide, the British invasion of the Falklands and so much more as though it is happening before our eyes.
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