Feast of St Irene the Great Martyr
Against Religion: The Alienation of the Ecclesial Event by Christos Yannaras; trans. Norman Russell
WHEN THIS ORTHODOX theologian tackles the greatest force undermining Christianity today, the usual suspects (materialism, secularism, etc.) don’t even make the list. The real tension, he contends, lies between Church—defined as the ecclesial “event” of participation in the Eucharistic body—and religion per se. Yannaras doesn’t stop, however, with a comfortable critique of “organized religion,” although he offers us a scathing analysis of how “institutionalized religionization” evolved in the West. Nor does he let the East off the hook, despite its more ecclesiocentric focus. The real target of Yannaras’ dissecting knife is religiosity—“a natural, instinctive urge in human nature,” ultimately driven by self-interest and the need for survival—and he finds its destructive traces everywhere, even in the ascetical texts of the Philokalia. The dangers of religiosity include not only the surrender of human freedom to authority and reified “rules,” but also a perilous individualism that withdraws the person from the possibility of true communion—the “Triadic mode of existence.” Yannaras’ propositions are blunt—“Church and religion are two realities that are incompatible and irreconcilable, like life and death, freedom and necessity, love and self-interest”—and deeply disquieting: “Heresy is objectifying love, for example, in good works that nourish your narcissism while at the center of your life, like an idol, is only your ego, your authority, your reputation.” Yet at the same time there is deep hope here, a glorious reminder that the Church’s never-ending struggle “to attain freedom from self-interest” still bears fruit.
217 pp. paper $24.95
Exercise the virtue of patience, resist Amazon, and support Eighth Day Books. Give them a call at 1.800.841.2541 between 10 am and 8 pm CST Mon-Sat and engage in a conversation about books and ideas with a live human person who reads books and loves to discuss them. Or, if you insist, visit their website at www.eighthdaybooks.com.
Become a Monthly Eighth Day Patron & You Receive a Complementary All-Access Pass to Your Choice of 1 of our 4 Signature Events.
Eighth Day Colloquium - $125 Value
Florovsky Week - $125 Value
Inklings OktoberFest - $100 Value
Eighth Day Symposium - $125 Value