"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

We Have Here No Lasting City.....or Church (I)

I'm about half-way through Cyril Hovorun's welcome new book, Scaffolds of the Church: Towards Poststructural Ecclesiology (Cascade, 2017), 276pp. I will post more thoughts when I have finished it. It shows vast reading and reflection, but all of it is worn lightly. The author suggests but never bludgeons.

For now I can say that it is a fascinating book that sheds a great deal of important historical light on the changing nature of ecclesial structures, showing up all their pretenses to permanence (usually disguised by a lot of gas about the Church's "divine nature") and instead asking anew the question: what is this structure for? And if it has ceased to serve that purpose, can we change the structure so that it will again serve the purpose for which it was designed?

While coming from, and primarily directed at, the structures of the Christian East, the book cannot, of course, fail to deal with comparable situations in the West with the development of the papacy and the mono-episcopacy and all the questions about primacy thereby entailed.

This new book clearly continues work begun in his earlier book, Meta-Ecclesiology: Chronicles on Church Awareness about which I interviewed him here.

Both books, I have no hesitation in saying, deserve a place in every course on ecclesiology. Both books offer much to those interested not just in ecclesiology but also church history as well as the sociology of institutions.

I'm told that I may be seeing Fr. Cyril at a conference we are both likely attending next month in Bergamo (having met up almost a year ago now in Vienna at another conference). If so, I shall see about interviewing him about this new book also.


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