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Jaroslav Pelikan Is Recognized As The Foremost Church Historian Of The Twentieth Century A Position He Has Held For Nearly Fifty Years It Is A Reputation Built Upon Such Monuments As The Christian Tradition, And His Most Recent Work, Creeds And Confessions Of Faith In The Christian Tradition These Essays By Colleagues And Former Students Of Pelikan Were Given During A Yearlong, Nationwide Celebration Of His Th Birthday, Culminating In December At Yale University, Where Pelikan Himself Gave The Final Lecture The General Theme Of The Series Was The Impact Of Orthodoxy On Western Culture Was wir ererbt haben What we have inherited is the title for the editor s preface to these collected essays, which marked the 80th birthday of Jaroslav Pelikan Editors Valerie Hotchkiss Medieval Studies, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas and Patrick Henry Senior Editor of Touchstone A Journal of Mere Christianity and Pastor of an Orthodox parish in Chicago , both former students of Pelikan, provide selections on the theme of Orthodoxy and Western Culture that reflect the complexity of scholarship embraced by Pelikan throughout his illustrious career.Of particular note is how well each chapter engages relationships of Orthodoxy to the history of culture Leading the selections is the first chapter, which Pelikan himself wrote as fragments of autobiography Self effacing humor about Pelikan s own interests and inspirations fill the chapter He opens deep feeling about passions of inquiry that do not wander into self aggrandizement For example, I like to say that I was born into a family that was rich in everything except money, speaking of his Slovak family s riches in good food, music, books, languages, and above all tradition and faith Among chapters in this book, I single out three for attention in this review First, Andrew Louth s chapter Is Development of Doctrine a Valid Category for Orthodox Theology identifies the seminal contribution by Pelikan to the notion of development However, given widespread reticence among Orthodox theologians to employ and embrace theological development as concept, Louth poses his question Having established the boundaries for Orthodoxy of development as progress of doctrine, Louth explores John Henry Newman s and the Romantics uses of development Finally, Louth arrives at what he considers an impasse among many Orthodox theologians who represent the teaching of various Fathers of the Church in a rather flat way But Louth hastens to add that the Holy Fathers are not dead but alive in their witness and writings Rightly understood, then, development is a conversation with the living about their ideas He continues by exploring the ramifications of his idea.Second, James H Billington s chapter, The Orthodox Frontier of Faith, explores significance to reading historical materials from Orthodox missioners on North American soil Billington, Librarian of the USA Congress, enters his chapter with fresh insights from four recent exhibitions or projects of the Library a recording of Coptic liturgy made over an entire year, Lewis and Clark exhibit, acquisition by the Library of the Waldseemueller Map first map of New World with word America , and a joint digital project with Russian institutions to describe how Russians planted European civilization from Alaska to the Russian River an hour north of San Francisco, California Given that Russia, admittedly, developed a parallel heroic track for its Orthodoxy contrasted with western dominated abstract theology, it is difficult to identify a European civilization that Russians might have planted on the North American frontier However, this chapter is brilliant in its sensibilities concerning a Russian ethos that missioners planted and workers continue to harvest in North American climes.Finally, Pelikan provides still another chapter, The Will to Believe and the Need for Creed Pelikan describes how he created the title for his chapter from a lecture a century prior by William James The Will to Believe and a headline from a contemporary newspaper The Need for a Creed Explaining the chapter s title serves Pelikan in extending his own agreement with James, who in the Gifford Lectures had concluded that religion proper was feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in relation to whatever they consider the divine However, as Pelikan continues in agreement with James, our faith is faith in some one else s faith Building upon faith as faith received, Pelikan launches his thesis concerning Orthodoxy as creedal Faith that surpasses dogma and dogmatism Pelikan entertains creed as a literary genre in itself, which shelters Faith within heritage against anti creedal vagaries such as modernism volleyed in the 19th and 20th centuries.A chronological bibliography of Pelikan s works in print covers 43 pages of type face, spanning years from 1946 to 2006 Pelikan reposed in Christ 13 May 2006.This book must be read by anyone interested in the history of culture, sociology of culture, cultural anthropology, East West relations, inter communion dialogues, and multiple branches of theology and philosophy Renaissance men and women populate these pages in honor of a great Renaissance historian, theologian, philosopher, musician, and humor specialist extraordinaire Jaroslav Pelikan. This festschrift honors the life of Jaroslav Pelikan A historian of excellence to some, a hero to emulate to others, Prof Pelikan actually saw the printing of this collection before falling asleep in the Lord earlier this year 2006 , several months after publication.The most exciting, informative and challenging part of Orthodoxy and Western Culture is the short autobiographical note that Pelikan wrote for this publication It is perhaps frustrating that he only allotted a mere 15 pages From his decision to annually read Goethe s Faust and memorization of Schiller to his extensive work in the Greek and Latin Fathers, Pelikan is a man to emulate On the subject of his intriguing and controversial conversion to Orthodoxy, Pelikan devoted, sadly, two paragraphs He explains, somewhat cryptically, that his life s work led him ultimately to this decision, and that it was much like a pilot who kept circling the airport, looking for a way to land The reader is left starving for explanation.The actual essays are varied some are enlightening, some profound, and some down right embarrassing I cite just a few examples.Prof Andrew Louth begins the festschrift with a compelling essay entitled Is Development of Doctrine a Valid Category for Orthodox Theology Louth challenges us with, Scholarship inspired by the idea of development can produce a kind of hubris as if we know than they did, whereas real scholarship is aware that, in fact, we know very much less than the Fathers did p 56.Prof Anthony Ugolnik attempts, rather ineptly I think, to tie Pelikan s legacy to a bald face relativistic version of ahl al kitab He writes, We are called to an interrelationship of three traditions Christian, Jewish, Islamic We have been called, in fact, the People of the Book p 67 Ugolnik develops this tired and obviously poorly understood theme into blatantly un Christian areas that have absolutely nothing to do with Pelikan.John Anthony McGuckin writes what I would call a powerful orthodox introspection.He laments the loss of a strong and unbroken presence of an Orthodox aristocracy which fuelled the intellectual life and ecclesiastical vigor of the Church by its patronage and by its bloc influence and the destruction and impoverishment of Orthodox institutes of higher learning p.87.Over all, Orthodoxy and Western Culture is a Christian intellectual s treat and a great tribute to Jaroslav Pelikan As I mention above, the essays will vary in orthodoxy no pun intended.