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For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy (1963)

– tekijä: Aleksandr Shmeman

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
876718,119 (4.51)1
An approach to the world and to life that stems from the liturgical experience of the Orthodox Church. Father Alexander deals with the issues of secularism and Christian culture, viewing them from the perspective of the Church as revealed and communicated in its worship and liturgy. "A powerful, articulate (and) creative essay in sacramental theology. One of the best books I have read for a long time. I suggest every novice read it twice - at least once." - Thomas Merton. "This is one of the best introductions to the sacraments, and not simply the 'Eastern' view of them. If you have not read it by all means do so now." - Leonel L. Mitchell, The Anglican. Other books on Sacramental Theology published by St Vladimir's Seminary Press include: The Eucharist, by Alexander Schmemann; Marriage, An Orthodox Perspective, by John Meyendorff; and Of the Water and the Spirit: A Liturgical Study of Baptism, by Alexander Schmemann.… (lisätietoja)
  1. 00
    Theologia Prima: What Is Liturgical Theology? (tekijä: David W. Fagerberg) (johnredmond)
    johnredmond: Fagerberg is a Roman Catholic theologian who has been influenced by Schmemann. "Theologia Prima" is considered one of the most influential books written in the field in the past few years.
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
An immensely important book. You can feel yourself becoming radicalised as the pages pass, and by the end you will feel that you have been given a wholly new, radically Orthodox view of Christianity, its link to other "religions", and secularism. Highly recommended. ( )
  maximilian.aigner | Apr 24, 2020 |
Incredible and incredibly challenging. ( )
  nicholasjjordan | Nov 13, 2019 |
One of the clearest and most penetrating books ever written on the nature of "sacrament." The first two chapters (as well as the final essay 'Worship in a Secular Age') contains one of the most helpful discussions of what the Eucharist and all Christian worship is about.

Schmemann was a Russian Orthodox theologian (and a few parts of this book are specifically focused on Eastern Christian traditions), but his wok had deep impact on many Anglicans. If you are thirsting for a new and thoughtful way of understanding worship and the purpose of being human, then this book might be the ticket,.

Nov 2002 Goodnewsletter
  saintbedefg | Mar 6, 2019 |
I have little to add to the first four LibraryThing reviews (which reviewers have done an excellent job); only that I was amazed at how very relevant Schmemann's observations on the current situation (1963/73) continue to be in 2016. ( )
  pickupf | Aug 20, 2016 |
The title to this review provides a single quote by Father Alexander Schmemann: "Secularism must indeed be acknowledged as a 'Christian' phenomenon" [111]. Provocative and insightful, Schmemann recognizes how ancient distortions arise concerning tenets and practices of the Christian faith. Dual emphases on living the Liturgy and discussing distortions of the communal liturgical life of the Church provide foci for his inquiry.

The quote also discloses the author's humble demeanor, for he admits that Christians have distorted what they believed and how they worshiped. His solution resists liturgical reforms that abandon an ancient mystical union between God and the human race. Just the same, his solution resists liturgical conservationists who maintain sterile liturgical climates inside ethnic ghettos. In fact, to those who propose fulfilling human needs by promoting secularized liturgical practices among post-modern Christians, Schmemann exposes human needs that, he claims, secular proponents deny.

Consider, for example, one of the author's crafty points. By acknowledging that secularism is a "negation of worship" [118], Schmemann identifies an irrational denial by secular liturgists of a human need to adore. Schmemann admits that a reader would have expected him to define a "negation of worship" as denying divine transcendence. Instead, he identifies a phenomenon of Christian anthropology that helps human beings meet their need to adore [in addition to 20, NB: 21,57, passim].

In the main, this book sets out to clarify distortions of an experiential faith that secularism presents. However, unlike many contemporary opponents of secularism, whose approach is deductive and systematic as illustrated in their method of inquiry concerning moral depravity, Schmemann simply describes what should be a vibrant liturgical life of the Church. However, secularists do not bear all the guilt for sapping life from liturgy, according to Schmemann. Not only have secularists distorted a vibrant liturgical life, but also many moralists among Christians have removed life from the liturgical community by trying to deduce liturgical experience from prescriptive formulae.

His sustained interest in meeting human needs throughout the book leads me to agree with Schmemann that he has not written a "...treatise of systematic theology" [20]. Rather, he acts more like a phenomenologist, by naming experiences in worship that he shares with others.

Anyone familiar with the writings of early-to-mid 20th-century phenomenologists such as William Kristensen, Max Scheler, Edith Stein and Dietrich von Hildebrand--viz. their descriptions of intuitive spiritual phenomena in everyday experience apart from adherence to a history of philosophy--will recognize sympathy in Schmemann's treatment of 'homo adorans' in Appendix 1 [118-19]. In particular, Schmemann discusses 'homo adorans' as a relational characteristic of all human beings, an idea which few secularists would oppose.

Without global opposition among secularists, surely this book's enterprise will appeal to at least those whose method for inquiry is descriptive and contextual like Schmemann's. Moreover, the author's interests in liturgy are constructed "for" readers and "for" the world. Indeed, the title for the book depicts a universal blend of practical service and contemplative support within the Church: "For the life of the world."

Almost a half century has passed since 1963 when Schmemann's book was first published. Later reprinted and translated into several languages, the book occupied an integral place in earlier discussions of secularism, even as it occupies to this day. Of particular note is the fact that the book appeared only two years after Gabriel Vahanian's 'The Death of God.'

Numerous theologians and philosophers of the early 1960's had advanced an experiential approach to divine immanence, and had disavowed themselves of transcendental language in worship concerning God. For example, talk about the death of God had become a topic of even small-town churches by the time that 'Time' magazine released a front cover headline, "God is Dead," in 1966. Therefore, Schmemann demonstrated astute timing when he created a "study guide" for a 1963 student Christian conference to address what he called "the Christian 'world-view' " [7]. The study guide was published as the book's first edition.

In addition to scattered textual revisions of the first edition, Schmemann added two appendices to the 1973 second edition. The author notes that he wrote the Appendices "...in a somewhat different 'key' " [8]. The appendices are "Worship in a Secular Age" [117-34], and "Sacrament and Symbol" [135-51]. There is no index of key terms and names, and editors of the Publisher (SVSP) should consider introducing an index in a third edition if one were planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first edition.

What I like most about this book is Schmemann's honest acknowledgment of paradoxes in what Orthodox Christians pray aloud in the Divine Liturgy, services of the Church, and theology. The title of this review introduces a paradox of how secularism had its start as a 'Christian' phenomenon. I will close with a second example of paradox. "...In baptism, man 'wants' the newness of life as forgiveness, and he is given it. And yet sin is still in us..." [78]. ( )
2 ääni Basileios919 | Mar 20, 2010 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 7) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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An approach to the world and to life that stems from the liturgical experience of the Orthodox Church. Father Alexander deals with the issues of secularism and Christian culture, viewing them from the perspective of the Church as revealed and communicated in its worship and liturgy. "A powerful, articulate (and) creative essay in sacramental theology. One of the best books I have read for a long time. I suggest every novice read it twice - at least once." - Thomas Merton. "This is one of the best introductions to the sacraments, and not simply the 'Eastern' view of them. If you have not read it by all means do so now." - Leonel L. Mitchell, The Anglican. Other books on Sacramental Theology published by St Vladimir's Seminary Press include: The Eucharist, by Alexander Schmemann; Marriage, An Orthodox Perspective, by John Meyendorff; and Of the Water and the Spirit: A Liturgical Study of Baptism, by Alexander Schmemann.

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