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Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: A Concise Exposition Paperback – February 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


In the writings of Fr. Michael Pomazansky, one may see a characteristic of genuine Orthodox theology that is so often lost sight of in our cold, rationalistic age. Theology is not primarily a matter of arguments, criticisms, proofs and disproofs; it is first of all men s word about God, in accordance with the Divinely revealed teaching of Orthodoxy. Therefore, its first purpose and intent is always to inspire, to warm the heart, to lift one above the petty preoccupations of earth in order to glimpse the Divine beginning and end of all things and so to give one the energy and encouragement to struggle towards God and our heavenly homeland....

Fr. Michael s theology is in this warm-hearted and inspiring tone. He is not the only one to write Orthodox theology with this intent today, but he is one of the few, in an older generation that is fast vanishing, who can serve as a link between us and the genuine theology of the Holy Fathers....Orthodox Dogmatic Theology is his masterpiece. -- --Hieromonk Seraphim Rose

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As briefly as possible I have set forth for you our love of wisdom, which is dogmatical and not dialectical, in the manner of the fisherman and not of Aristotle, spiritually and not clearly woven, according to the rules of the Church and not the marketplace. --St. Gregory the Theologian, 4th Century

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood; Third Expanded edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0938635697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0938635697
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #291,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A very complete overview of Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, from a traditional Orthodox perspective. While not as broad in it's scope as other books, such as "The Orthodox Church" by Bp. Kallistos, the smaller scope of the book does allow for a closer examination of the subjects that are dealth with, and Fr. Michael Pomazansky does this quite well.

This book is a systematic examination of Orthodox theology, and for that some have criticized it; systematic, catechism, etc. are four-letter words for some Orthodox. However, one cannot help but wonder why organization as it happens in this book could ever be considered a bad thing. Perhaps only behind "The Orthodox Church" and "The Orthodox Way," this is the book that I would most likely recommend to anyone wishing to have a broad but intellectually satisfying overview of what the Orthodox believe.

I do have two minor issues with the text as it is today. First, it is impossible to tell when footnotes are from Fr. Seraphim Rose (the translator) or Fr. Michael (the author). This has caused a problem at times when I know that Fr. Seraphim feels a certain way about a subject, but I am not sure whether Fr. Michael also feels the same way. A lengthy footnote is sometimes provided, but with no indentification as to who is speaking.

And second, Fr. Seraphim does seem to insert things into the book that were not originally part of the book. While this is not uncommon in books published by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, and while these additions are given in appendices, I still feel like it is an unfortunate move sometimes, as in a case like this book where the appendices bring in a controversial tone to the book that would have otherwise been absent. If I lend or give this book to someone and they have questions about Orthodoxy, I'd much rather try and answer questions about icons or Mary, and not controversial subjects like the Dogma of Redemption.
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Format: Paperback
To quote from the 'Translator's Preface', written by Hieromonk Seraphim Rose, 1981: "One of the major advantages of this book is its simplicity of presentation. It was written not for academic theologians, but primarily for pastors, and thus it has a practical approach that is missing in many works of contemporary academic theology. In his theological writings, Fr Michael remains deeply rooted in the tradition of the Orthodox Church, not trying to supercede with his own private opinions any revelation that the Church has handed down to us.... his intent here is to write about exactly what the Church teaches -- what pastors can give to their flocks as the certain, unchanging teaching of the church -- and not about what is "disputed". There is a distinct wholeness in Fr. Michael's approach, which allows for no confusion over the Church's actual teaching. Another advantage of this book, especially for pastors who deal with converts to Orthodoxy from various religious denominations, is that it contrasts the traditional Orthodox teaching with the errors and innovations of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism."

And further "Fr. Michael is the last surviving graduate of a pre-revolutionary Russian theological academy (that of Kiev), and is therefore one of the few living contacts we have with the long-standing centers of traditional Russian theology, the direct inheritance of the Byzantine Fathers. Always faithful to the instruction of the Church, his actual "school" is, ultimately, the Church herself".

I love this book. I love this book because while it is scholarly, and in fact is used as a text at the Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, New York, it speaks to the heart. This is terribly important as Orthodoxy is a faith which speaks to the heart. "The soul...
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Format: Paperback
Orthodox Dogmatic Theology is a top-notch introduction to Orthodox Theology for the Orthodox Christian, the Catechumen, or the Outsider (that's me). I keep this on my shelf along with The Orthodox Church by Bishop Kallistos Ware, and The Mystical Theology of the Orthodox Church by Vladimir Lossky. This is a fine translation by Father Seraphim Rose, a gifted and intelligent man who became an atheist as a young man but after his college years, walked into a Russian Orthodox Church and became a Priest, Monk, and Scholar. Don't let the controversy surrounding his views concerning aspects of the intermediate state keep you away from this book. A must read for anyone with an interest in Orthodoxy.
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I had been looking for a textbook on Orthodox systematic theology for quite some time before accidently coming across an older edition of this volume while I was in Europe. I am an evangelical who is painfully aware of our tradition's ignorance of Eastern beliefs, and of our dependence on Western conceptions of theological categories and methods. As such I was (and still am) deeply interested in exploring the depths and riches of Eastern theology, and to this end Pomazansky is a gem.

I imagine most pastors have at least one or more volumes of systematic theology in their libraries. Everyone has their favorites: Barth, Calvin, Miley, Mueller, Grudem, Ott, Wenger, etc. Most of us try to have a wide variety of sources at our disposal for the sake of reference. Pomozansky's Orthodox Dogmatic Theology deserves to be on your shelf because I doubt anyone has written a one-volume systematic with the same measure of depth, eloquence, and brevity, let alone from an Eastern Orthodox perspective. Think of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, but with greater clarity, and a even more deeply devotional/pastoral spirit.

That being said, Pomazansky's book is not without its flaws. He is strongest when articulating the faith all Christians share, and in that respect, I would reccomend his book to every student of theology, both lay and clergy. On the other hand, from an evangelical perspective, he is weakest when defending Orthodox distinctives. I think evangelicals will find that some of his arguments are far from convincing because they are exegetically unfounded or suspect. That being said, Orthodox readers probably won't be bothered too much by this apparent shortcoming because Scripture does not have the same place of authority in Eastern traditions as in evangelical traditions.
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