“Face of God” is a wonderful book, as are all of Kyr Raya’s books. That being said, however, he does have a tendency to repeat certain cliches that were started in relatively recent times by popular Orthodox theologians. The cliche that Eastern theology is “mystical” and Western theology is “rational” was popularized, I believe, by Vladimir Lossky in his book “Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church.” I believe in one of his books Kyr Raya repeats that cliche. :shrug: Generally when I’m reading an Eastern theologian I ignore any and every comparison and contrast they make to Western theology. I’ve found that 9 times out of 10 the comparison is just silly.
I get the sense that many Easterners, both Catholic and Orthodox, believe that Western theology consists mainly in the decrees of the Western Councils (i.e. the 14 post-Schism Councils often referred to as “ecumenical”), and the Summa Theological of St. Thomas Aquinas. With that they get the wrong impression that Westerners believe God to be some sort of logical conclusion rather than a Trinity of Persons we encounter in and through the Church. For any practicing Roman Catholic who grew up in the Church and is knowledgeable of the Faith, such a generalization is laughable. No one can read the writings of such great mystics as St. John Cassian, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Augustine (ummmm, I said the “A” word), St. Francis de Sales, St. Alphonsus Ligouri, etc., etc., etc., and then make the claim that the theology of the West is “rational” with a straight face.
I remember being told once that in order to really understand Eastern/Byzantine theology, you have to experience it by regularly attending the DL, praying the daily prayers of the Byzantine tradition, praying the Jesus Prayer, as well as reading the writings of the Fathers, etc. Well, the same can be said for the West. In order to really understand the theology of the West, you do have to experience it, live it. I believe that until one has done so, one has little to no right to make the sort of comparisons and contrasts between East and West that many Easterners, both Catholic and Orthodox, make. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh.