Theological Education in the Twenty-First Century
The Very Rev. Dr. John Behr
Father Georges Florovsky Distinguished Professor of Patristics
St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary
“Go and teach” has been a mandate for all Christians from the beginning, being at the heart of spreading the Gospel. Yet the context in which this mandate is carried out continually changes, always presenting new challenges, especially in the 21st century. If previous centuries were torn apart, as Edward Gibbon jested, over an “iota” (the difference between homoousios and homoiousios), we face broader, more profound, and more disturbing challenges today. In a “post-truth” era, riven by factionalism and polarization, how do we teach the truth that sets us free and find the freedom for which we are set free?
In this year’s Orthodoxy in America Lecture, Father Behr will explore the task before us, that of continuing the past century’s renaissance of theological reflection and education, which has taken place largely in the West but has deep roots in Eastern Orthodox history. The increasing contexts, institutional homes, and platforms in which Orthodox theology is taught offer us possibilities not envisioned before, yet it is only by returning to “the Word delivered in the beginning” (St. Polycarp) that the coherence of theology can again be found and the teaching of theology flourish.
This event is open to alumni, faculty/staff, parents, students, and the public.