Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review: The Old Testament in Eastern Orthodox Tradition

The Old Testament in Eastern Orthodox Tradition, by Fr. Eugen J. Pentiuc.

One thing that comes across in this book is Fr. Eugen's love of Scripture. In his introduction, he speaks about how when he was growing up in Communist Romania, he first had the opportunity to read a Bible at the age of 13. The Communists limited the Church's ability to print copies of the Bible, but 1968, the Church was allowed to print 100,000 copies (for a population of 20 million people). He was able to get his hands on a copy of the Bible, and read almost the entire text in one week. Then, he says, the services of the Church came alive to him, when he was able to connect all the Scriptural references for the first time. The excitement of this 13 year old boy, who was able to secretly read the Bible still comes across in the rest of the text -- and even more so, when you hear Fr. Eugen speak.

Here are some podcasts of his talks that are well worth listening to, and I think show what I am talking about:

I suspect he is probably the favorite professor of a great many of his students.

This book was very interesting and informative. However, I would not recommend it to those who are unfamiliar with contemporary Biblical Scholarship. It is written on a scholarly level, not really as a guide to the average layman. There are a number of things that he writes that I would take issue with, but I look forward to the next two books Fr. Eugen intends to write as follow up texts to this one.