Fr. Ted's Reviews > The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to Its History, Doctrine, and Spiritual Culture

The Orthodox Church by John Anthony McGuckin
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's review
Apr 29, 2011

it was ok

I think for an "introductory" work, it is way (or weigh) too heavy, long, dense. It does try to go beyond what many introductions to Orthodoxy offer, but I found it to be too much, and also at points exceedingly idealistic. For example he waxes on about how there is virtually a universal love by Orthodox for their bishops who are such wonderful shepherds. It made me wonder what universe he is talking about. I suppose at this point in my life reading introductions to Orthodoxy probably are not going to impress me all that much. But this one does not speak to me very well, and I can't deny that I had no trouble putting it down many times. But perhaps to a learned reader who really wants a lot more than the most basic introductory work, this book might speak to them because it does cover many topics in depth and does look at the contemporary scene of Orthodoxy not just into its past.
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Hank I agree with most of what you stated. I learned the most in the first chapters, the ones over history and organization, because they were more fact-after-fact and less room for him to "ramble." The chapters thereafter are less "here's a view Orthodox perspectives on theology rooted in texts" and more his personal opinions with multiple, small citations to back his points up. I generally see his books as an "ideal" that the Orthodox would want Orthodoxy to be; but it is not an objective, general introduction - at least not the one I was looking for.

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