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Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church (Contemporary Greek Theologians Series) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 31. Mai 1991

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'A superb example of the creative use of Scripture and tradition to address contemporary tensions.' -- Rowan Williams -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


A systematic and contemporary presentation of Orthodox ecclesiology, including chapters on Eucharist and catholicity, apostolic continuity and succession, ministry and communion, and the local church.


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Amazon.com: 4.9 von 5 Sternen 14 Rezensionen
89 von 92 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Absolutely M A S S I V E 23. August 2004
Von benjamin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
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.

For those that have found themselves turned off to Orthodox theology in the past due its oftentimes proclaimed self-sufficiency, Zizioulas may very well seem like a theologian that comes out of left field: his *criticisms* of Orthodox theology (and I have never read an Orthodox theologian that was critical of Orthodox theology before) are what many Western inquirers have long wanted to know: can Orthodoxy be constructively self-critical? Can Orthodoxy be open to the recognition of Western churches as viable, even if critiquing them at the same time? Zizioulas presents an unapologetic "yes" to both of these questions.

The most heartening thing about this book, however, is the fundamentally pastoral angle the Zizioulas takes. While he can discuss the Cappadocians, for example, at great length, he also sees the essentially pastoral implications of the relational, Trinitarian God: the imitation of this *as* the relational pastor. He is especially concerned with the rise of anti-clericalism in both Greece and abroad; he sees this anti-clericalism as committing the same fallacy that it seeks to fight against: the reduction of the Church to being first and foremost an institution. Yet, he also sees how the pastoral failures of the past have contributed to this by not seeking to incarnate the fundamentally relational nature of God.

The book ends with a substantive - and crucial - question. If the Church is fundamentally the communion of churches, what do we make of churches that are in ecclesiastical and/or confessional division? It is with this question that Zizioulas quite literally ends; it is an abrupt ending, too, that leaves reader in a state of suspension. Yet, I can't think of a better way to end it. From theology as the contemplation of God to the reality of a fragmented Church (especially with regard to Protestantism/s/s/s/s/s...), there is quite a tragic distance. It is in the recognition of this distance, though, that the real conversation and communication - the very word "communication" being etymologically related to both "community" and "communion" - begins.

This is a book that cuts through dogmatic and ecclesiastical divisions and asks substantive questions that are birthed from the very life of the God who is in communion with himself and, in being so, opens himself to communing with all others. At this time, I know of no other book that more urgently needs to be read; and, I know of no other book that I would more highly recommend.
30 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Why the Trinity matters! 24. Dezember 2002
Von matt - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
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. SOme other books taht may be of related interest are: God For Us, by LaCugna (although I think she misses the point of the Cappadocians); The One the Three and the Many, by Gunton; The Tripersonal God, by O'Collins; The Eucharist Makes the Church, by McPartlan; The Sacrament of Salvation by McPartlan; Theology in the Russian Diaspora, by Nichols; Altogether Gift, by Downey; Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries, by Werner Elert (very thorough); After Our Likeness, by Volf; Flesh of the Church, Flesh of Christ, by Tillard; God as Communion, by Fox and The God of the Gospel of John by Thompson.

THese books all concern themsleves with the ideas of how communion and fellowship are defined and experienced within the life and teachings of the Church based upon the life of God, in Whom we live, move and have our being. Some are very original. I would also recommend the works of Kallistos Ware, Volume One and Two of his Collected Works for similar themes.

Ut Unum Sint.

26 von 26 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen God is Love, Love is Communion 11. Juli 2003
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
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.
25 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen once upon a time 19. November 2005
Von Wyote - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
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.)
13 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Beautiful Book 3. April 2009
Von Derrick A. Peterson - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
While not strictly a book on the Trinity, but on Ecclesiology, it contains arguably one of the most important conceptual developments on the Trinity written in the 20th century from an Eastern Orthodox (or any denominational) perspective. Utilizing the theologies of the so-called "Cappadocian," Church Fathers Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Basil of Caesarea, Zizioulas explores the connections between "being," or "existence," (ontology) and the "community," or "communion," implied between the persons of the Trinity, and its implications for the Church and our conception of personhood. For example: "To say that the Son belongs to God's substance implies that substance possesses almost by definition a relational character...If God's being is by nature relational, and if it can be signified by the word 'substance' can we not then conclude almost inevitably that, given the ultimate character of God's being for all ontology, substance can be conceived only as communion?" (p.84) In other words "person/hypostasis became capable of signifying God's being in an ultimate sense." (p.88) This volume covers a wide range of theological topics, from Theology Proper, Revelation, Jesus Christ, humanity, etc... but all theological topics find their locus, says Zizioulas, in the doctrine of the Church, which finds its structure in the ontologico-communal vision of the Trinity.

While Zizioulas has been criticized on many accounts (e.g. Patristic specialists note his interpretation of the Cappadocian's Trinity of "relation," is definitely mediated via his presupposed understanding of communion and hence his turning of the Cappadocians against the Latin "Augustinian" understanding of the Trinity is both too sharp and fundamentally misunderstands pro-Nicene Trinitarianism) we should, I suspect, take Miroslav Volf's advice and attempt to take Zizioulas' theological understandings on their own merit, rather than disregarding them because their pedigree is suspect. Overall this is a must read for anyone interested in 20th century Trinitarianism as the "Zizioulas dictum," (a term coined by Stanley Grenz) that being is communion has become so commonplace since the publication of this book that it is often perpetuated without even citing Zizioulas as its source and inspiration anymore. Buy this book and read it!
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