Skip to product information
1 of 1

Towards an Ecumenical Metaphysics, Volume II

Towards an Ecumenical Metaphysics, Volume II

A History of Christian Ecumenical Consciousness

By Antoine Arjakovsky

334 pp

Regular price $22.95
Regular price Sale price $22.95
Sale Sold out
Shipping calculated at checkout.

About the Book

Is there a connection between the systemic crisis of globalization and the current “winter” of the ecumenical movement? Conversely, can radical quests for meaning (sometimes transformed into fundamentalist movements) constitute the basis for a spiritual, political, and intellectual renewal of contemporary societies, if understood through an ecumenical metaphysics?

     In this second volume of Towards an Ecumenical Metaphysics, Antoine Arjakovsky responds to these questions with the help of a historical narrative centered on the history of Christian consciousness. The paradigm of the “ecumenic age” imagined by Eric Voegelin sees human consciousness as the most appropriate place to find meaning in the history of the world. Voegelin particularly underlined the role played by Christian faith in grasping the human consciousness of finitude and orienting it towards divine-humanity. This eschatological conception of history has spread well beyond its purely Judaeo-Christian context and now concerns all peoples on the planet.

     Anglican theologian John Milbank has shown that the history of Christian consciousness is of decisive importance in understanding the crisis of modernity. For his part, Catholic philosopher Charles Taylor has suggested possible exits from the crisis of post-modernity. A third, more historical narrative, however, is also required to show how Western consciousness has been tormented from within by a ceaselessly challenged quest for truth and glory, for rectitude and justice. This narrative tells of the emergence of the Christian world’s ecumenical consciousness, marked by the eschatological quest for the Kingdom of God on earth, by the will of the churches to leave their imprint on the secular world, and by the encounter between grand visions of the world and of the planet. Historically, it is intersected by a dynamic of tensions and ruptures between the different representations of God and the State, of the Church and society, but in our time it can be made fruitful by receiving a vision going beyond this history and by a quest for unity and holiness, for catholicity and apostolicity.


“To act wisely in the present, one must understand the past. This sweeping, erudite history of the development of ecumenical consciousness offers profound insights to all who care about unity in the Spirit today and desire to bridge the sad divisions that have arisen in the church. The book is a masterful, engaging complement to the author’s first volume on ecumenical metaphysics.”


Valparaiso University  

“This monumental work—inspired not only by Nikolai Berdyaev’s Essay In Eschatological Metaphysics but also by Sergij Bulgakov’s ‘sophiology,’ Eric Voegelin’s appeal to an ‘ecumenic age,’ Gadamer’s hermeneutics, John Milbank’s ‘Radical Orthodoxy,’ French personalist philosophy, and Pope Francis’s gospel of the Creation—aims at nothing less than an exit from the many ruptures—between science and wisdom, phenomenology and metaphysics, religion and secularism, philosophy and theology—that have shaped modernity and postmodernity. This broadening of ecumenical inspiration will no doubt seem too ‘ecumenical’ or too ‘irenic’ to some; but its ambition is essential if we are to measure up to today’s challenges. The book will of course be of interest to readers who are themselves believers, but it also opens up new transdisciplinary and dialogical dimensions within the ecumenical idea (including secular humanisms). Its originality lies in showing how, through many convergences between contemporary thinkers and activists, a new model of thought and action is being sought at a global level. Hence this book’s method of bringing the history of Church and socio-political actors into relation with the history of ideas, rather than dealing with them separately. Working in concert with many colleagues in many institutions, both intellectual (such as the Collège des Bernardins in Paris) and religious (such as the World Council of Churches), here is a book determined to understand how to act upon our hopes and thoughts for the world to come.”


Université Catholique de Lyon

“In this critique of agnostic and rationalist historiographers who have nothing to say about divine-humanity, Antoine Arjakovsky appeals to an ‘ecumenical metaphysics which seeks … to think the divine and the human together without confusion and without separation.’ His insistence on divine-humanity is essential today, especially within a Protestantism harboring an ultra-liberal current—an increasingly powerful ‘new Arianism.’ In becoming incarnate, the eternal Son of God took upon himself all the realities of our world. Thus the author is right to insist on divine-humanity. To reject the realities of the world would be to reject the incarnation. There are thus no ‘non-theological’ factors. There is in principle no tension between Faith and Constitution, Mission and Evangelization, and practical Christianity (or ‘Life and Work’), even if it is not easy to keep the different domains balanced with each other. The impressive synthesis of the history of the ecumenical movement provided here opens up new paths for the future.”


Haute École de Théologie de Suisse Romande


“Direct and engagingly informative, this second volume of a trilogy further pursues the perspective of ecumenical consciousness. Having traced different historical meanings of the term oikouménē, it proceeds to cast the history of the Christian tradition in its engagement with the world anthropologically and cosmologically, thereby showing how ecumenical metaphysics is both a resource for understanding our present-day interdenominational situation and for integrating different narratives within Western consciousness and with the spiritualities of the different faith traditions of the world, including that of political theology. Its integrative sweep opens new vistas for understanding and transcending barrios and divisions in our various theological traditions. Its novelty and intellectual freshness spring from a perspective linking different periods of human consciousness through intellectual traditions and personalities as they move from Western to global consciousness. Well worth reading for those who wish to gain an overview of religious pluralism through the lens of ecumenical consciousness.”


Trinity College in the Univ. of Toronto

About the Author

ANTOINE ARJAKOVSKY is Research Director at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris. He is the president of the French Association of Christian Philosophers. Founder in 2004 of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies in Lviv, he has been teaching ecumenical science since 2011 at the Institut chrétiens d’Orient and at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris. He also directs a research seminar on peacebuilding in Europe.

View full details