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What is Orthodoxy?

What is Orthodoxy?

A Genealogy of Christian Understanding

By Antoine Arjakovsky

Foreword by John Milbank

414 pp

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About the Book

In this remarkably original work, Antoine Arjakovsky brings us to a discovery of Orthodoxy within the dynamics of history—including the profound crisis that the Christian churches, with their too often congealed identities, are passing through today. Faced with internal tensions and the millennium-old fragmentation of Christendom, the path to a common Christian identity has been rendered all but impossible. Undaunted, Arjakovsky points to the emergence of a new concept of Orthodoxy as “right knowing,” a knowing that unifies what is believed with what is lived, wherever this might be. He is an acute reader of the tensions between the piously political and the truly spiritual in the troubled history of Christendom—East as well as West. The book’s contributions to studies in the history of Christianity, ecumenism, and sophiology offer Christian readers renewed hope in an ecumenical project uninhibited by tired tropes of division and over-rehearsed acrimony. It is a most timely work.


“Antoine Arjakovsky’s theological, geographic, and diachronic breadth is matched by largeness of heart and deep reflection guided by lived experience and eschatological hope.”


Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

“Antoine Arjakovsky has written a sweeping scholarly account of how the very concept of ‘orthodoxy’ has been approached historically, philosophically, and theologically over the last two millennia. In this rich exploration beyond the closed spheres of confessionalism, heterodoxy versus orthodoxy, and our ‘epistemic ghettos,’ Arjakovsky sees the possibility of ‘a common shared consciousness’ that could open ‘a new ecumenical history of the Church and a new history of philosophy.’”


Chancellor, Orthodox Church in America

“In this remarkable book, Antoine Arjakovsky shows why a theological Church History is crucial for theological understanding. Orthodoxy is not such, if it is only about right belief. It is, rather, about the participation of human existence and history in the divine and angelic wisdom which is itself a metahistorical drama.”


University of Cambridge

“This volume is no mere historical overview of Orthodox Christianity, but an extraordinary multidimensional exploration of what Orthodoxy has tried to confess and enact of Christ’s Gospel. An exciting, provocative, and most important contribution to theology and church history.”


Professor Emeritus, City University of New York

“Antoine Arjakovsky’s historical scholarship opens onto an astonishing array of sources, ancient and modern, offering us a vitally important exploration of Orthodoxy that is both theologically faithful and historiographically self-critical.”


University of Saint Francis

“Antoine Arjakovsky offers a provocation to orthodoxy that is rooted in genuine metanoia, and thus irreducible to the triumphalism of ecclesial bureaucracy and confessional boundaries. An important and highly-recommended work.”


Seminario Mayor San Cecilio, Granada, Spain

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.

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