Trinity College

What Do We Really Believe? Dogma, Heresy and Non-Dogmatics in the Orthodox Tradition

Course Code: 
Last Offered: 
Summer 2019
Next Offered: 

The course will present and explore the principal dogmatic themes of Orthodoxy, beginning with key notions which served to mould the context in which Patristic theology developed: faith, revelation and philosophy; conceptual and experiential knowledge; kerygma and dogma; theology and mysticism; the sources of tradition; positive or cataphatic theology and negative or apophatic theology.

From these foundations, the course will focus on a selection of major specific themes of Orthodox theology: God as Unity and as Trinity; creation (cosmology); anthropology; the Incarnation (Christology); salvation (soteriology); the Holy Spirit (Pneumatology); eschatology.

These themes will be explored in large part through the contributions of modern Orthodox theologians, especially Sergius Bukgakov, Vladimir Lossky, Georges Florovsky, John Meyendorff, John Romanides, Dumitru Staniloae, Christos Yannaras and John Zizioulas.

Reference will be made throughout the presentation and discussion of these themes in patristic theology, especially in response to the challenges to the faith in the form of major heresies, particularly those relating to the Trinity, Christ and the Holy Spirit.

The relationship of major themes of the dogmatic tradition mentioned above to ecclesiology and to ascetic theology or spirituality will be mentioned, although these aspects of Orthodox theology are treated in detail in other courses.