The Fathers Now
Friday May 26th 2006, 7:50 am
Filed under: Patristics

Kevin at Biblicalia gives us this from Father Georges Florovsky:

When I read … the fathers of the church, I find them more relevant to the troubles and problems of my own time than the production of modern theologians … I would risk a suggestion that St. Athanasius and St. Augustine are much more up to date than many of our theological contemporaries. The reason is very simple: they were dealing with things and not with the maps, they were concerned not so much with what man can believe as with what God had done for man. We have, “in a time such as this,” to enlarge our perspective, to acknowledge the masters of old, and to attempt for our own age an existential synthesis of Christian experience.

Read the rest at Biblicalia. Kevin has posted other good material as well: his own reflections on St. Gregory Nazianzen, a passage from Lactantius on demons, and, at long last, an answer to that perennial question: Where did the Desert Fathers go to take a leak?

UPDATE: David Mills at Mere Comments offered some further reflections on Father Florovsky’s statement.


3 Comments so far
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I especially like the “they were dealing with things, and not with the maps.” How much time do we waste reading about the Bible, the Fathers, and so on, instead of actually reading them? One of the reasons I’ve so enjoyed Fr Florovsky’s and Fr Chryssavgis’ writings lately is that they’re nice and short! Their books pithily say: here’s the basic information you need to understand the Fathers, now go and read them! They humbly step aside, while also helpfully drawing back the curtain so that the main attraction gains our focus. I love that.

Comment by Kevin P. Edgecomb 05.26.06 @ 2:15 pm

Bravo, Kevin! Too many patristic and biblical scholars take the opposite approach. “Just leave this to the professionals, ma’am. Don’t try this at home”

Comment by Mike Aquilina 05.26.06 @ 3:03 pm

As someone much wiser said, “Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” I’m finding Biblical Studies more and more tedious these days, a field that is all maps made from maps of maps, all of which have ignored the actual landscape that is the Scriptures. It no longer recognizably represents reality, and in many cases it never did. Such an abomination deserves extinction.

Comment by Kevin P. Edgecomb 05.26.06 @ 5:00 pm



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