A Basic Guide to Eastern Orthodox Theology

Introducing Beliefs and Practices

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Pub Date 20 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 21 Sep 2021

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Description

Eve Tibbs offers a comprehensive yet accessible introduction to the beliefs and practices of the Eastern Orthodox Church for Western readers. Tibbs has devoted her career to translating the Orthodox faith to an evangelical audience and has over twenty years of experience teaching this material to students. Assuming no prior knowledge of Orthodox theology, this survey covers the basic ideas of Eastern Orthodox Christianity from its origins at Pentecost to the present day.

Eve Tibbs offers a comprehensive yet accessible introduction to the beliefs and practices of the Eastern Orthodox Church for Western readers. Tibbs has devoted her career to translating the Orthodox...


Advance Praise

“Inviting, informative, inspiring! This primer on Eastern Orthodox theology by Dr. Eve Tibbs is much more than a textbook. A Basic Guide to Eastern Orthodox Theology is an invitation into the mysteries and beauty of this ancient yet ever-renewing and living tradition. It is full of useful ‘insider’ information about the Church and its vibrant spirituality. Throughout, Tibbs hospitably compares Orthodox theology and tradition with its Protestant and Roman Catholic counterparts. An indispensable guide for all students, ministers, and instructors.”—Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, professor of systematic theology, Fuller Theological Seminary; docent of ecumenics, University of Helsinki

“It is rare to find a female Orthodox theologian, let alone one that teaches at a leading Protestant evangelical seminary! Dr. Tibbs’s years of teaching evangelical students have enabled her to write a basic but effective introduction to the beliefs and practices of the Eastern Orthodox Church and its relationship with the Protestant and Catholic traditions. Her experience dealing with common questions and misconceptions that evangelicals often have makes this book a valuable text for students and teachers alike.”—Bradley Nassif, professor of biblical and theological studies, North Park University

“An Orthodox Christian with years of experience teaching evangelical students—Eve Tibbs is an ideal person to explain the fundamentals about the life, ethos, and faith of the Orthodox Church. She has written an accessible yet substantial book on Orthodox Christianity. I hope that her readership will include not only inquirers and converts to Orthodoxy but also ‘cradle’ Orthodox as well—anyone seeking to understand the basics and beyond.”—Peter C. Bouteneff, professor of systematic theology, St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary

“Dr. Eve Tibbs combines her considerable professional engagement with Western Christian thought and theology with her personal background and experience to present a fresh approach to Orthodox Christianity. This book is concise and readable yet sufficiently informative and detailed to serve as a solid introduction to the Eastern Orthodox Faith. Tibbs does not limit herself to simply explaining differences in doctrine and practice between Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and Protestantism. She provides effective examples and real-life stories that illustrate how Orthodoxy has maintained an entirely distinct character and history, which cannot be understood within the framework of the typical Catholic-Protestant dichotomy and debates. She presents Orthodoxy and its most important claim—of a direct and unbroken continuity with the ancient, historical Church—not as a relic of the past but as a vibrant faith community with its own beliefs, practices, mode of thought, and way of life. Orthodoxy has too often been misunderstood as an exotic form of Catholicism or dismissed as a cult of dead, ritualistic observance. This book serves to dispel those misconceptions and promote better understanding between Christians.”—Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou, Franciscan School of Theology, University of San Diego

“Because this book was ‘born’ in classes attended mainly by evangelical Protestant theological students at Fuller Theological Seminary, Eve Tibbs’s A Basic Guide to Eastern Orthodox Theology wonderfully shifts from being an introduction to and apologetic for Eastern Orthodoxy to being a comparative study in dialogue with Western Christianity. Her engaging text reveals a fluency with both Orthodox theological sources—the extensive footnotes will lead readers deeper into many topics—and Protestant and Roman Catholic sources. Throughout the book, she presents the liturgical and patristic texts of the Christian East, demonstrating that these historical texts are not only sources for Orthodox theological study but also that they live within the hearts of today’s Orthodox churches and people.”—Anton C. Vrame, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology

“Inviting, informative, inspiring! This primer on Eastern Orthodox theology by Dr. Eve Tibbs is much more than a textbook. A Basic Guide to Eastern Orthodox Theology is an invitation into the...


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Featured Reviews

Essential for those seeking a robust introduction to the Eastern Orthodox Church. Tibbs' broad overview of Orthodox history, tradition, and beliefs through doctrine, discipline, and practice is approachable and goes beyond the basics. Her Evangelical lens will be of particular interest to those utilizing this text for comparative theological study. Tibbs uses practical insight while also breaking through Western misconceptions. She makes a strong case for Eastern Orthodox practice not being an archaic faith, but one that is alive, well, and relevant

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This book was very interesting. It originated from a course that the author teaches on Eastern Orthodox Theology to a classroom of mostly Western Protestant students. It is a good introduction to Westerners about the enigma of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Throughout the book Tibbs distinguishes some of the differences between the Eastern and Western church, such as the Eastern Orthodox being more mystical and less academic. They believe that theology is not something to be studied as it is done in the West, the Eastern Orthodox believe that theology is about contemplating the experience of God. The Eastern Orthodox Church doesn’t believe in purgatory like Catholics do, although they do include the Apocrypha in their Bible. There is no central authority in the Orthodox Church; it’s conciliar/synodal and not papal as it is in the Catholic Church. One section of the book that I found really interesting was on the Orthodox Holy Icons, also known as the visual Gospel (see the cover for an example). The book also covers how worship is conducted in the Orthodox Church which is also different from the Western Church. I’m sure that this book is just a glimpse of how the Orthodox Church operates. The only true way to know more about the Orthodox Church is to attend a service, the author encourages it, and I plan to attend one in the future.

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Many times want to recommend books on certain topics, to deepen my readers' understanding, but know they will get lost or bored reading an academic textbook. Yet that's often all I can find on some subjects. This book on the Eastern Orthodox tradition is very accessible. It was first a class, comprised mainly of evangelic protestants. Not necessarily read all in one setting, but an excellent resource.

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