Thursday, February 10, 2011

Greek and Latin, or Greek vs Latin


‘From the start Greeks and Latins had each approached the Christian mystery in their own way. At the risk of some oversimplification, it can be said that the Latin approach was more practical, the Greek more speculative; Latin thought was influenced by juridical ideas, by the concepts of Roman law, while the Greeks understood theology in the context of worship and in light of the Holy Liturgy. When thinking about the Trinity, Latins started with the unity of the Godhead, Greeks with the threeness of the persons; when reflecting on the Crucifixion, Latins thought primarily of Christ the Victim, Greeks of Christ the Victor; Latins talked more of redemption, Greeks of deification… These two distinctive approaches were not in themselves contradictory, each served to supplement the other , and each had its place in the fullness of Catholic tradition. But now that the two sides were becoming strangers to one another—with no political and little cultural unity, with no common language—there was a danger that each side would follow its own approach in isolation and push it to extremes, forgetting the value of the other point of view.’

Kallistos Ware in The Orthodox Church (48-49)
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