[MGSA-L] Princeton Hellenic Studies Workshop: Novemver 9, 2012

Dimitri H. Gondicas gondicas at Princeton.EDU
Tue Nov 6 08:30:26 PST 2012

Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies


The Eschatological Understanding of Tradition in Contemporary
Eastern Orthodox Theology and its Relevance for Today's Issues

Pantelis Kalaitzidis
Volos Academy for Theological Studies
Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Research Fellow, Hellenic Studies
Respondent: Eugene Rogers
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

In Christian context eschatology introduces the active expectation of the coming Kingdom of God, accompanied by the dimension of the future and the renewing breeze of the Spirit. As such, it feeds into a dynamic commitment to the present, an opening to the future of the Kingdom in which the fullness and identity of the Church is to be found. In the light of eschatology, even the Tradition of the Church itself acquires a new meaning, an optimistic and hopeful perspective, as it is not identified with habits, customs or various traditions of the past, but with a person, Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory who is coming.

All this should have multiple consequences for Orthodoxy's witness in the contemporary world. But this is not always the case, as it becomes clear from the following points: 1) The relationship between Orthodoxy and Modernity and the crucial question: Did Orthodoxy come to a halt before modernity? 2) The way in which the famous "Return to the Fathers" was understood and practiced, which led, in some cases, to a "fundamentalism of tradition." 3) The burning issues of reformation in Orthodoxy or of women's ordination. 4) Ecclesiastical culturalism and the identification of Orthodoxy with local traditions, customs and cultural legacy. 5) Religious nationalism, i.e. the inability to conceive the Orthodox Church and its mission and witness in the world independently from the particular national idea or narrative. It seems that behind all these difficulties facing Orthodoxy today, lies the inversion of the paradoxical relationship between eschatology and history, and that, despite the appearances, Orthodoxy is to a large extent shaped by history, and more precisely by the historical experiences of its peoples.

Pantelis Kalaitzidis studied Theology in Thessaloniki, and Philosophy in Paris, Sorbonne, where he obtained his M.A. His doctoral thesis deals with the issue of Greekness and Anti-westernism in the Greek "theology of the '60s." He has published three books, and over 60 articles in Greek, French, English, German, Romanian, Serbian, Russian, Byelorussian, and Arabic, mainly in the areas of the eschatological dimension of Christianity, the dialogue between Orthodox Christianity and modernity, theology and modern literature, religion and multiculturalism, religious nationalism and fundamentalism, issues of renewal and reformation in Eastern Orthodoxy, and post-modern hermeneutics of Patristics. He has a rich editorial activity, being the editor of many collected volumes (mainly issued from the Volos Academy's conferences), while at the same time serving as the editor of the English-speaking theological series "Doxa & Praxis: Exploring Orthodox Theology" (WCC Publications) He has been a visiting scholar at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Boston, and Princeton Theological Seminary. For the last twelve years he has been the Director of the Volos Academy for Theological Studies. He teaches Systematic Theology at the Hellenic Open University, at St. Sergius Institute of Orthodox Theology in Paris (as Visiting Professor), and Religious Studies at the University of Thessaly, in Volos, Greece. His last book Orthodoxy and Political Theology has been published by WCC Publications (Geneva, 2012).

Friday, November 9, 2012
1:30 p.m.
Scheide Caldwell House, Room 103

The HELLENIC STUDIES WORKSHOP provides an opportunity for post-doctoral fellows, visiting fellows, and graduate students to present their work-in-progress or recently published research. The aim is to encourage exchange of ideas across disciplines among Classical scholars, Byzantinists, and Modern Greek Studies specialists.

DATES:  Most Fridays, 1:30-3:30 p.m., during the term. Dates, speakers and titles will be announced in advance via e-mail.

PLACE:  Room 103, Scheide Caldwell House, Princeton University

For further information about current events in Hellenic Studies, please refer to the calendar posted on our website: http://www.princeton.edu/~hellenic/

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