Saturday, April 5, 2008

Accentuating the Positive

I apologize if the recent Orthodox Study Bible-related posts have proved to be something of a downer. While I do think it essentially to provide sufficient warning about the OSB's very serious shortcomings, creating further division among the Orthodox is the very last thing I mean to do. I therefore announce three new kinds of reoccurring posts that will join the regularly scheduled programming:
  • The Fathers on Reading Scripture: I will regularly post short selections from the writings of the Holy Fathers about what it means to "study" the Holy Scriptures. In all the back-and-forth about the merits (or lack thereof) of the OSB, I think it essential that we have before us a clear vision of how the Holy Fathers themselves read, interpreted, and taught the Holy Scriptures. This vision, I hope, can serve as a criterion for our ongoing criticism (both positive and negative) of the OSB – besides simply being genuinely beneficial reading for everyone.
  • Alternatives to the OSB: It should be fairly obvious by now that I simply cannot in good conscience recommend the OSB to anyone, Orthodox or non-Orthodox. Yet the most common defense of the OSB is something along these lines: But the OSB is better than nothing! I will attempt to demonstrate that we have in English a whole lot more than nothing. I'll introduce and review a whole series of books and resources which can be safely employed by anyone wanting to learn more about the place of the Holy Scriptures in the Orthodox Church.
In the meantime, however, I'm afraid you'll have to suffer through some more OSB-related posts, though I promise to buffer them among more edifying reading.


Anonymous said...

In addition to "The Brothers Karamazov," I am also reading "Light From the Christian East" by James Payton. I am already Orthodox; however, my husband is not. I decided to read the book before passing it on to him. I am very impressed with the book. I hope my husband will read it (despite my being Orthodox for 4 years, my husband hasn't shown much interest in learning about Orthodoxy).

Felix Culpa said...

I'm not quite half way through Dr Payton's book, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it. There is a small library of books attempting to introducing Orthodoxy, few of which seem to get it right. I wonder if Dr Payton, as a sympathetic outsider, was able to succeed precisely because he made a real attempt to portray the Tradition of the Orthodox Church as objectively and clearly as possible, whereas many Orthodox authors attempt to give "their" version of Tradition. Kudos to Professor Payton!

the student said...

These new posts are a GREAT idea. I was just saying to my self the other day, before this post was made, that I really appreciate the critique and how informative it has been regarding the OSB as well as with the links and other helpful insights (kudos to Esteban and Kevin). I have thoroughly and thoroughly enjoyed the engagement and the multi-layered and multi-sided perspectives that add to how one should be thinking about phenomenons like the OSB. I said to my self, "Self, instead of just a critique of the OSB which has been very helpful, a fuller picture would include the opposite as well, This is what the OSB should do if it claims to be Orthodox, this is what an Orthodox view of Scripture is, not just what it isn't. These are other books that do what one would expect or these other ones truly convey the Orthodox "mind". This has been partially done as the ACC is mentioned as a better commentary source. I appreciated that because one needs to know where to go to find something solid. This being said that this solidity looks the most solid when one is able to discern that which isn't solid as well. It's these two areas that I find the most beneficial for myself. Then all of a sudden *POOF* you write the post "Accentuating the Positive"

O happy fault!