- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 19, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199324956
- ISBN-13: 978-0199324958
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1 x 5.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Turning to Tradition: Converts and the Making of an American Orthodox Church 1st Edition
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"Turning to Tradition is clearly and carefully written and is a welcome examination of contemporary American Orthodoxy....Much in this excellent book will surprise non-Orthodox readers, and will be news to Orthodox readers as well."--American Catholic Studies
"Turning to Tradition is a powerful and convincing argument for viewing Orthodoxy as something more than ethno-religiosity. Alongside the cradle Orthodox in this volume are a variety of converts--African-Americans, former Evangelicals, and former Eastern-Rite Catholics--each with its own story. In the process of telling their stories, Herbel shows how converts have substantially reshaped North American Orthodoxy. At a time when growing numbers opt out of Christian faith traditions, or choose a faith tradition they were not raised in, these American converts are crucial for understanding twenty-first-century Orthodox identity." --Michael J. McClymond, Professor of Modern Christianity, Saint Louis University
"This fascinating and original study explores uncharted territory, namely the phenomenon of Christians from other church bodies who convert to (Eastern) Orthodox Christianity. Herbel introduces a really diverse selection of converts--from Bjerring and Alexis Toth to Moses Berry and Peter Gillquist. The scholarship is thorough, careful, and relevant, and the writing accessible. There is virtually no other published work on this topic." --Michael Plekon, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, Baruch College of the City University of New York
"In a religiously pluralist society, inter-religious conversion is a live and familiar option. In this engaging and timely book D. Oliver Herbel makes a significant contribution to the study of intra-Christian conversion by narrating and analyzing the stories of four prominent 20th century converts to Orthodox Christianity in the U.S. whose conversion experiences exemplify American Restorationism by ironically professing a 'non-traditional tradition.' Students of Conversion, Religious Pluralism, American Religious History, and Eastern Orthodoxy in America will profit from reading this insightful text." --Albert J. Raboteau, Henry W. Putnam Professor of Religion Emeritus, Princeton University
"This book has much to say to both historians of American Eastern Orthodoxy and scholars of American religion in general... [T]hought provoking..." --Nova Religio
"Rising from the murk of that contradictory stew comes D. Oliver Herbel's Turning to Tradition: Converts and the Making of an American Orthodox Church. It is the first scholarly monograph on historical conversions to Orthodoxy in America, making some historical material available for the first time." --First Things
About the Author
D. Oliver (Fr. Oliver) Herbel holds a doctorate in historical theology from Saint Louis University. He is the author of Sarapion of Thmuis: Against the Manichaeans and Pastoral Letters as well as articles and book chapters, many of which concentrate on Orthodox Christianity in America. He currently serves as the priest of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in Fargo, ND, and as a chaplain in the North Dakota Air National Guard.
Top customer reviews
Whether considering this group of Evangelicals, or Robert Morgan, the very first African-American to be ordained to the Orthodox priesthood, Herbel finds a peculiarly American component in each of the four conversion stories he explores, which he calls "the tradition of anti-traditionalism." Observers of the Christian scene are familiar with restorationist attempts that have resulted in now over forty thousand Christian denominations, virtually all of which use terms like "rediscovering," "reclaiming," "getting-back-to," or of course "New Testament" as self descriptors. All share an assumption that there is a pristine, primitive Christianity that has been coopted or altogether lost and that must be recovered.
Herbel demonstrates that even when appealing to "Tradition," Americans do so in peculiar way. Typically, some sort of Byzantine or Russian Utopia is invoked; life long Orthodox may suddenly find themselves being rather uncharitably lectured on everything from which calendar is the most sanctified to appropriate head-scarf wearing. It would appear that many do not expressly convert to Orthodoxy so much as decide that Orthodoxy looks like the most redeemable option.
Importantly, Herbel's approach to his subject is both scholarly and irenic. He does not cast aspersions or project motivations beyond what his evidence suggests. Especially with regard to the Evangelical conversion story, he provides the interested reader with a sobering set of details in a way that is not dismissive or insulting to the efforts made by those men, efforts which often involved difficult and, for them, disappointing discoveries.
Herbel's book adds valuable insight the recent work of Amy Slagle, who has looked at the "religious marketplace" component to Orthodox conversions. Finally, for "ethnic Orthodox" who are often puzzled by what seems to be an onslaught of people from other Christian places, this is an extremely informative book.