Not Without a Guide: The Role of Reason in the Orthodox Tradition


Reading only the contemporary and popular literature on the Orthodox spiritual life, it is possible to get the impression that Orthodox Christianity affirms only mystical theology and that it has no place for philosophical investigation, rational inquiry, or thinking for oneself. In this paper I show that this view of the relationship between philosophy and the Orthodox Christian life is one-sided and distorted. For while it is certainly true that reason is impotent to lay bare the very nature of God, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Maximos the Confessor, and St. John of Damascus all see it as a guide and powerful ally in coming to know that God exists and a little of what He is like, as well as in patterning our lives after He who is the source of all life. The explicit statements that these Fathers make as well as the use that they make of reason in their writings show how it can function as a guide for those in the beginning stages of the spiritual life even if it ultimately points beyond itself to the God who is beyond every conception.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

Stages on life's way: Orthodox thinking on bioethics.John Breck - 2005 - Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. Edited by Lyn Breck.
Prolonging Life: An Orthodox Christian Perspective.C. Dimitri - 1997 - Christian Bioethics 3 (3):204-221.
An eastern orthodox approach to bioethics.Stanley S. Harakas - 1993 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 18 (6):531-548.
Graced response: John Owen on faith and reason.Sebastian Rehnman - 2011 - Neue Zeitschrift für Systematicsche Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 53 (4):431-449.
The Genealogy of the Feeling of Law in Orthodox Countries.Sergey Shevtsov - 2007 - The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 3:13-16.
Turning East: Contemporary Philosophers and the Ancient Christian Faith.Rico Vitz (ed.) - 2012 - New York, USA: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press.
Faith and Reason in the Wake of Milbank and Pickstock.Michael M. Waddell - 2008 - International Philosophical Quarterly 48 (3):381-396.


Added to PP

281 (#52,688)

6 months
63 (#30,213)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references