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Andrew Louth, The Church in History, vol. 3,
Greek East and Latin West: The Church AD 681– 1071 (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir's Seminary
Press, 2007), pp. xvii + 382. \$30.00.
Scottish Journal of Theology / Volume 67 / Issue 02 / May 2014, pp 238 - 239
DOI: 10.1017/S0036930612000324, Published online: 03 April 2014
Link to this article: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0036930612000324
How to cite this article:
Augustine Casiday (2014). Scottish Journal of Theology, 67, pp 238-239 doi:10.1017/S0036930612000324
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Downloaded from http://journals.cambridge.org/SJT, IP address: 22.214.171.124 on 08 Feb 2015 scottish journal of theology despite the widely acknowledged tendency of the Chronicler to abridge his source material. Yet, I disagree with Auld’s analysis at points. For example, to my mind, Judges 19–21 and 1 Sam 9–11 may originally have formed a continuous narrative describing the demise and re-emergence of Benjamin in Israel, with one of their own, Saul, rising to the kingship. In other words, 1 Sam may reflect more source material and less imaginative composition than Auld allows. In this regard, I would have welcomed from Auld a fuller explanation of how such composed pieces reflect the social, political and historical settings of their authors. This thoughtful and well-argued volume is a most welcome addition to Auld’s important and original body of work on the former prophets.
Stephen C. Russell
Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ 08542, USA firstname.lastname@example.org doi:10.1017/S0036930612000324
Andrew Louth, The Church in History, vol. 3, Greek East and Latin West: The Church
AD 681–1071 (Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2007), pp. xvii + 382. $30.00.
Andrew Louth’s Greek East and Latin West is a remarkable book. The series to which it contributes offers perspectives on Christian history which are informed by Orthodox perspectives and therefore by sustained attention to the experiences and records of the Christian East. In that way, the series as a whole complements countless otherwise comparable surveys that are available in English, which tend to leave Greek behind shortly after making reference to the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451 or – what may be subtly worse – to reserve for a separate volume consideration of all forms of
Christianity not native to Western Europe. In terms of the series itself,
Louth’s book bridges a chasm between the golden age of patristic Christianity (vol. 2) and the era of accelerated alienation between the Latin and the Greek worlds that culminated with the fall of Constantinople (vol. 4). This period, the early Middle Ages, is difficult for any approach, given the diverse and often competing groups who rose to prominence during it. It is therefore a testament to Louth’s prodigious knowledge and clear thinking that he has produced an overview of that era which is reliable, informative and positively enjoyable to read.
The successful integration of so much information is possible, I think, because Louth’s perspective is not limited by partisan politics. For example, his account of the Carolingians does not simply vilify them as upstart competitors to the emperors (or indeed the empress) in Constantinople. 238
Rather, Louth presents (e.g.) the Carolingian rejection of the Greek cult of icons intelligibly and without condescension. Theodulf of Orle´ans therefore emerges (pp. 88–91) as a serious theologian working in a meaningful context. Similarly, Louth’s presentation of Symeon the New Theologian (pp. 322–33) notes Symeon’s sometimes self-defeating and antagonistic behaviour, without compensating by gilding the saint’s reputation. The resulting history is much richer than it would have been had it simply rehearsed old polemics. Moreover, Louth’s account is not limited to ecclesiastical affairs and incorporates multiple ethnic and political groups whose ambitions and enterprises impacted upon Christian history: the
Vikings, the Normans, the Bulgarians and the Turks, amongst many others.
This attention to social, military and theological trends enriches
Louth’s evaluation of the increasing isolation of particular churches. While interpreting a period of tension ‘between aspirations after independence and the ideal of a united, or even single, Christendom’ (p. 183), Louth avoids facile claims. For that reason, it may be that his book is no simple history of ‘the Church’. But it is none the worse for that. In his introductory comments,
Louth notes that the series has been relaunched after the considerable hiatus which followed the untimely death of its founding editor, Fr John
Meyendorff; he also states that he has taken up editorial responsibilities for the series and announces the titles of the two books which will bring it to completion. If those volumes carry forward in the manner of this volume, the series will be a monument to scholarship.
University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, Lampeter SA48 7ED, Wales, UK email@example.com doi:10.1017/S0036930612000476
Piet J. Naude´, Neither Calendar Nor Clock: Perspectives on the Belhar Confession (Grand
Rapids, MI, and Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2010), pp. xxii + 255. $25.00.
This book is an impassioned apology for the Belhar Confession (BC). The BC was drafted by the so-called Dutch Reformed Missionary Church (DRMC, ‘Coloured Church’) in 1982. The DRMC is a daughter church of the (mainly ‘white’) Dutch Reformed Church (DRC) in South Africa, and the BC was a confessional reaction to the policy of Apartheid. This ideology formed a master narrative according to which South Africa was organised politically by the Nationalist Party. The DRC also shaped itself according to this doctrine, establishing separate daughter churches along racial lines. In the Apartheid era, the DRC was facetiously referred to as ‘The National Party in Prayer’, because it supplied a theological rationale for Apartheid. 239