James's Reviews > Being as Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church

Being as Communion by John D. Zizioulas
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's review
Jul 24, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: orthodoxy, church
Read in July, 2009

I read this book because my much smarter and better looking friend Jeremy did a thesis on John Zizioulas. Zizioulas is one of the leading Eastern Orthodox theologians today. But this was a difficult book. Zizioulas is much easier to read if you have a good working knowledge of the Christian tradition in the Patristic period (particularly in the East), knowledge of doctrinal development and a workign knowledge of philosophy. I possess these in a small measure so I was able to work my way through this book, though it was not a quick read.

However it was delightful. I found this book tremendously helpful in thinking through my thoughts about what the Church is. He actually has a lot to say about the development of ontology from the ancient Greeks, until the Cappadocian Fathers and how the latter came to understand their ontology in light of the personhood of the Father in the Godhead. By this he, he argues relatationship is at the very core of all being (Father relating with the Son and Spirit). The Church, is a body instituted by Christ and constituted by the Spirit which participates in Communion with the Father. Thus those who have been baptized into the Church are constituted not only biologically but also ecclesially.

If the previous paragraph was incomprehensible, know that I was attempting to dumb down Metropolitan John a lot. There is much more in the book than I have described (i.e. The role of the bishop, Apostolic succession, the Eucharist, etc.). Suffice to say, this was a challenging book, which I found fruitful and will likely return to.

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