The Challenge of Our Past: Studies in Orthodox Canon Law and Church History


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The Challenge of Our Past: Studies in Orthodox Canon Law and Church History
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ISBN: 9780881410860
In this collection of essays, Erickson investigates the ways in which concepts and issues relating to the Church's life have developed in the past and continue to challenge Christians in the present. Some take as their point of departure certain words - "canon", "priest", "heretic" - whose meaning and resonance has quietly but significantly shifted over the centuries. Others explore changes in words and images used to express mysteries like forgiveness and reconciliation or to describe the Church's structures for unity and community. Still others examine in historical perspective the issues dividing Christians of East and West; they discuss not only the ways by which the church's unity and continuity have been perceived and expressed over the centuries but also the problems of disunity and discontinuity. Underlying all these essays is the conviction that the Church cannot be adequately understood without reference to Tradition. But as Erickson shows, discerning this Tradition and its significance for the Church today is not an easy task. Tradition, he asserts, is not just another word for church history. It is not a neat collection of precedents from the past which can provide the answer to every contemporary problem. Rather, Tradition "reveals the spirit at work in both past and present". It enables Christians to meet the challenge of the past and thereby to respond to the challenge of the present. 112311 Erickson,, John H. Erickson
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