March 15, 2006
"Tradition as the 'Platonic Form' of Christian Faith and Practice in Orthodoxy"
I have just posted on my writings page a new essay, "Tradition as the 'Platonic Form' of Christian Faith and Practice in Orthodoxy." This served as my mid-term essay in my class on the Greek Orthodox Church here at DIKEMES in Athens where I am studying this semester. I have attached a short preface explaining the relationship of the views presented in my essay (realizing that the essay is supposed to explain the teaching of the Orthodox Church) to my actual beliefs and my reasons for deciding to publish the essay. Please post here with any comments or objections. If I edit the essay at any time in the future, I will document that here as well. The essay is located here.
Posted by kpearce at March 15, 2006 07:49 PM
Vangelicmonk, thanks for your comments. As you say, I think that it is very important that we start these kinds of dialogues up again with other branches of Christianity. Fortunately, some in the Orthodox tradition, especially Bishop Ware, are also realizing that their theology is impoverished by lack of significant contact with the West, so I'm hopeful that there will be a big growth in the amount of meaningful dialog over the next few decades.
It's an interesting comparison. I don't have time to read the paper, but I wonder if the biggest difference between Platonic Forms and Tradition as the Orthodox see it is that Platonic Forms are eternal and unchanging, while Tradition is constantly in flux as the continued use of it becomes itself part of it.
Jeremy, actually the point is that in Orthodox doctrine Tradition (with a capital 'T') IS eternal and unchanging, but its manifestation in history varies in outward form and degree of clarity over time. This is similar to the idea (with which I think many Protestants can agree) that the Church, with a capital 'C,' is the eternal communion of all believers, but (small 'c') churches grow and shrink and change over time.
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