Feast of St John of Damascus and St Barbara the Great Martyr
St John of Damascus: Writings, Fathers of the Church 37, trans. by Frederic Chase
THE IMPORTANCE of these texts in the history of Christian theology cannot be overestimated. Here in one volume (the only translation in its entirety in English) is St. John’s monumental Fount of Knowledge, comprised of “Philosophical Chapters,” “On Heresies,” and “An Exact Exposition of The Orthodox Faith.” This last section is a synthesis of the whole Eastern Christian tradition, a unique summa of the mind and heart of the early Greek Fathers. Aside from a wholehearted recommendation of this book, two points commend themselves to us as imperative to pass on to you. First, of the 103 heresies exposited in “On Heresies,” the 101st is that of “the Ishmaelites,” making it therefore one of the first recorded Christian responses to Islam. (Remember that St. John was living and working in Muslim lands, experiencing Islam in its infancy.) Second, the introduction, written originally in 1958, refers to the Fount of Knowledge as “the last work of any theological importance to appear in the East.” To remedy this gross misstatement, we could refer to any works of Photius, Symeon the New Theologian, Theodore the Studite, Gregory Palamas, Alexei Khomiakov, and a host of twentieth-century worthies. We boldly insist that St. John did not “close” the Patristic Age. He laid a solid foundation for defending the Faith in all following generations.
426 pp. paper $39.95
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