Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky, Orthodox Dogmatic Theology (Third edition, second printing), Platina, CA: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2009. 426 pages. (First edition in English 1983).
Since everyone but me seemed to have read this book, I decided to finally purchase it some days ago, and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. Although I had known about the book for several years, I had hitherto avoided it because it came out of the so-called Jordanville school which, like much of modern Russian theology, was heavily influenced by Western scholasticism, often adopting Roman Catholic teaching wholesale (minus the obvious doctrines of Papal supremacy/infallibility, the Immaculate Conception and the Filioque). While this work certainly is not void of scholastic influence, as the editors acknowledge in the preface, this relates essentially only to the mode of presentation and does not affect the actual substance of the content, which is thoroughly Orthodox. Fr. Michael clearly explains the differences between the Orthodox and Latin views on issues such as original sin, the satisfaction theory of atonement, and so on. In many ways, the book is much like the icon on the front cover: Orthodox in content but 'Western' in style.
|Fr. Michael Pomazansky|
Read in conjunction with a general work on the history and faith of the Orthodox Church (Ware's, The Orthodox Church, for example), Fr. Michael's book serves as a perfect introduction to Orthodox theology and would be of great benefit to catechumens or those instructing them. While the scholastic style should be borne in mind, it is only prolematic if the reader absolutises the language and expressions used and forgets that these are simple expositions of vast and complex subjects which are naturally significantly deeper and more subtle than what such an introductory work can offer.
On the whole, this is a wonderful addition to any Orthodox library and one I wish I had read a decade ago.