Eastern Orthodox History, and Book Updates

Fr. Andrew Louth

Fr. Andrew Louth

I’ve been reading a series of volumes on the history of the Church from the Eastern Orthodox perspective. I started in the middle with (EO) Fr. Andrew Louth’s volume that covers 681 – 1071 AD. I also have Fr. Meyendorff’s volume that covers the previous time period beginning with the ecumenical council of Chalcedon.

So far, I can highly recommend these books. They are the perfect complement to (Catholic historian) Warren Carroll’s excellent History of Christendom series. Carroll goes into more historical depth, but the Eastern Orthodox volumes spend more time on theological issues that occur throughout the history. Carroll, a Catholic, covered the Church in the West with great detail and skill. The Orthodox volumes naturally cover the Church in the East with greater depth and skill. Both series seek to provide a history of the Church both East and West, which is why they complement each other so well: you see each aspect of the Church from the other’s perspective, as well as from your own.

These books have been of invaluable help with the writing of my historical fiction book concerning the events leading up to the excommunications of 1054 AD. That book, with the working title Torn Asunder, is coming along, already it is over 10,000 words (an average novel might be 100,000 words, for comparison).

The book is an experiment for me: learning how to write fiction and specifically historical fiction and learning a lot about this period of history. The Latin protagonist, Crispin, fights in the Battle of Civitate where the Pope is captured by the Normans who control the south of Italy at the time. He ends up going with the Pope’s legate, Cardinal Humbert, to Constantinople, where he meets Philomena, the Greek heroine. Crispin and Philomena seek to stop the excommunications from happening but fail.

“What has happened to Catholic Answers publishing If Protestantism is True?” Many friends have asked me about that. The book has had other books jump ahead of it in the queue for Catholic Answers (all for very good reasons). It should come to the front of the editing queue in the spring of this year and hopefully be finished by the summer. The new title will likely be “If Protestantism were True,” but it will be a completely new book, retaining the strengths of the original while beefing it up significantly. A few months before the new book is published I will stop selling the original book.

Quick blog technical note: Something on the blog has been eating up cpu cycles on my hosting company’s servers. I’ve been trying to figure this out for a few weeks, and they are probably getting annoyed by it. So I’ve been cutting down features, plugins, etc. to try to isolate what is causing the excessive resource usage. I may have found the culprit, but it is too early to tell. In any case, I have had to cut off comments on posts older than 7 days in the meantime, disable the podcast player in blog posts, disable the blog footnotes in various posts, and so on. My apologies and hopefully I can figure this out. The blog is almost 8 years old and it could be that enough cruft is built up that I will have to re-install from scratch, migrate the database over, etc. You shouldn’t have to care about any of this but since some people have been affected by the measures I’ve taken, I wanted to let you know.

Regarding the homestead we put an offer on, I am happy to say it is now under contract. If all inspections go well, there should be no obstacles. Thanks for your prayers. If we do purchase the place, I will make a video tour of the land so you can see how neat it is!

God bless,
Devin

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15 Responses to Eastern Orthodox History, and Book Updates

  1. Dave says:

    Speaking of Eastern Orthodoxy, you or some of your readers might be interested in this new Foundation, started by some folks including the editor of _Inside the Vatican_ magazine:

    http://s14.fused.com/~moynihan/2013/01/18/in-defense-of-the-west-announcing-a-new-foundation-to-help-create-a-strategic-alliance/

  2. Leila says:

    Oh my gosh, I cannot wait for your book!! And, congrats on the land!

  3. Paul Davis says:

    Devin, that series of Church History books (Louth, Meyendorf, etc) are incredibly well done, It’s a whole series done by different authors. It was Meyendorfs idea from what I can gather. I read through them last year, they helped in my conversion to the EO. I’ll have to pick up Carroll’s books as well, I tend to prefer books written by Scholars, I’m not as much interested in opinions as I am in what is actually taking place.

    Good news on the property, praying that everything goes smoothly.

    Still not sure about your idea on the book, I’ll have to wait and see. I’ve read a couple of novels based on church history, and they were entertaining, but I had to be careful about what I walked away with, because the author shaped the story to his view of theology.

    Blessings

    -Paul-

    • Devin Rose says:

      Paul, yes I think Meyendorff had the idea but it fell by the wayside with his passing. Carroll was a professor at (and founder of) Christendom College. Remarkably, his description and analysis of the events around 1054 AD matches almost perfectly with Fr. Louth’s, which I think is a good indication that they both represent the events and people fairly.

      My book will not be a Catholics are right, Orthodox are wrong book. Rather there are protagonists on each “side” who work together and antagonists (often unwitting or unintentional) on each “side” who they battle against. The idea is that the Church’s unity is paramount and avoiding the wounding of that unity is also of great importance. Yet pride and other factors won the day and the schism occurred.

      God bless!
      Devin

      • Paul Davis says:

        On the whole I was impressed with how balanced an approach they took, I’m glad you found the same thing. It gets a little long in the tooth once you move past the schism, and there where times I was wondering what the heck was wrong with these people!!. I guess that’s why I’m not very good at history, I get bored with all the drama and nonsense that takes place, the curse of being a programmer I guess! :)

        I’m more than willing to give your book a try, I liked the first one a great deal. I’m just not sold yet on the idea, but that doesn’t mean I’m not supportive. No matter what I think, I hope it’s wildly successful, and one day I can say I knew Devin before he became famous ;)

        Blessings

        -Paul-

  4. PMG says:

    Devin,

    I first came across Dr. Louth via iTunes University. He is a visiting Professor at The Amsterdam Centre for Eastern Orthodox Theology at Vu University/Amsterdam: http://www.aceot.nl/

    LOTS of great recorded lectures, lots of great handouts.

    EXCELLENT resource. I highly recommend it!

  5. Scott Alt says:

    And I’ve been looking around for a good source for understanding Orthodoxy better–thanks for the recommendation.

  6. Dave says:

    Has anyone read anything of Soloviev? I have thought about picking up some of his writing, but wasn’t sure where to start. Any reviews/ideas?

  7. John says:

    I took a course with Fr. Meyendorff when I was a student at Fordham College. He was very formal, but a great mind. A great interweaving of the doctrinal issues and the historical currents and personalities in his teaching. His ability to create a synergy among those elements in his teaching really brought it to life.

  8. Devin,

    If you’re using Media Temple, the problem is them.

    I switched a couple of my websites because of the very same issue you had, the cycles are eating up a lot of resources and Media Temple has their servers configured that makes this worse. They refuse to fix it, so I switched two of my websites to rectify my problem (I still have Media Temple for my other websites, until that is, the same issue arises, then I’ll move them too).

    I like Carroll as well!

    JMJ,

    Tito

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  10. Elisa says:

    Last year I read your book “If Protestantism is True” and enjoyed it!

    I’m nearly done reading “History of the Catholic Church” by James Hitchcock. There’s a chapter titled “East and West” which discusses the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and the schism. The year 1054 is one of in a series of events leading to the final split between the two churches nearly 3 centuries later.