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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the limited impact of Orthodox theology upon early modern Catholic and Protestant writers who found selected aspects of the Orthodox tradition useful in polemical exchanges. By examining ecclesiology, ecclesial discipline, liturgical and sacramental piety, and the role of monasticism and mysticism within the Orthodox tradition, one can glimpse a limited and declining impact of these theological components of Orthodoxy upon early modern Western Christianity. Of necessity, one must also distinguish geographical regions of contact and conflict between the Orthodox and their Western counterparts. Since after 1453 most of the Orthodox world, with the singular exception of Russia, could only engage in limited theological exposition or engagement, what exchanges did occur did so between unequal partners. By the late eighteenth century, both Catholic and Protestant interest in Orthodox theology suffered eclipse as Western Christianity confronted the implications of various forms of Enlightenment thought.

Keywords: Orthodox, polemics, confessionalism, ecclesiology, liturgy and sacraments, piety, monasticism, mysticism, hesychasm

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