Talk:John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon

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  • Archive 1 - from article creation (2007) to end of March 2008.
  • Archive 2 - from April 1 to May 16, 2008.

A new beginning

Friends, I've gone through the archives for the talk page here and made some comments, and also adjusted the text of the article a little bit. I think we're at a pretty good point here -- the article gives a short summary of the Metropolitan's life and work, hits on the basics of his writings, and includes some of the back and forth and how it has been received. Of course, many points could be expanded, and a few things could be cleaned up, but overall I think the "neutrality" is pretty good -- it seems to me that the article as it currently stands neither denigrates Met. John and his work nor exalts him.

I've received numerous requests to be more active in moderation here. I've wanted to give everyone some time to settle down a bit. I am pretty tired of all the personal invective, accusations, etc. Let me give a strong warning here: if those who have participated in these talk pages continue to deal disrespectfully with other sysops or members of the wiki and attack them personally rather than just their ideas, they will be banned. Because of the history of this article, I'm also asking that changes be discussed on this page first. Thank you. — FrJohn (talk) 03:08, May 21, 2008 (UTC)

Criticisms section

Mention of the Leithart article in the "Criticisms" section is problematic in that the article is not at all a criticism of Metropolitan John, nor does the author understand it as a criticism (personal communication). It can only be described as an "implicit criticism" if one buys the fallacious idea that to differ from V. Lossky is to depart from patristic theology. I also think it odd to elevate a reference in a letter by an Old Calendarist bishop to Metropolitan John and the late Fr John Meyendorff as "Westernized" theologians to the level of encyclpedic criticism. There is no argument made in the letter, no appeal to a text by either the Metropolitan or Meyendorff as evidence, simply the dismisal of two mainstream Orthodox theologians by a decidedly out of the mainstream bishop who is not in communion with the autocephalous Churches. The piece by Hieromonk Patapios has the same problem as the piece by Archbishop Chrysostomos -- an out of the mainstream opinion without any argument or appeal to a text by the Metropolitan. There is a reference to a 1971 article attacking dialogues with non-Chalcedonians that refers to Metropolitan John as a "muddled theologian." This is another example of an Old Calendarist criticism that I don't think belongs on a mainstream Orthodox encyclopedia. As to non-Orthodox influences on his thought (if this is to remain in the article) this sentence needs to be revised: "Some are concerned by his reliance of non-Orthodox sources on his thought ...." As the Metropolitan is quite specific that he does not rely on these non-Orthodox sources and points out how all of them cannot produce a true theology of personhood, it is wrong to refer to "his reliance" as if that is a fact. And, as it has been pointed out before, whether or not someone is "influenced" by a non-Orthodox writer should not be an issue -- V. Lossky was certainly influenced by non-Orthodox writers. The question is whether it can be shown that such influence has had the effect of determining a heterodox result in a theologian's position. Even Turcescu, who criticizes Metropolitan John on personhood and mentions the influence of non-Orthodox writers on the Metropolitan, does not make the claim that this influence results in heterodoxy. --Fr Lev 14:45, May 21, 2008 (UTC)

I'm in favor of removing references which are essentially just offhand remarks, especially those made by representatives of fringe groups. The "Criticisms" section should not essentially be "List of bad things anyone has ever said about Metr. John." It has to include criticisms of substance that understand themselves as criticisms, with more weight being given to MCB writers than those of non-MCBs. —Fr. Andrew talk contribs (THINK!) 14:54, May 21, 2008 (UTC)
I've moved the Leithart reference to the "studies" section and marked the Old Calendarist schismatics as such. Not sure what to do with them, although I think we must admit that they are part of the larger conversation here, which is, of course, much larger than Met. John. — FrJohn (talk) 18:09, May 21, 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Fr Andrew here. I think that, at the very least, a criticism has to consist of an argument against Metropolitan John's position, and not just a negative adjective or an unjustified assertion. The article shouldn't be a list of names Zizioulas has been called (or reportedly has been called).
I suggest that we list thematically the studies and serious interactions with Metropolitan John's theology, giving short summaries of their conclusions. Seminarist 21:17, May 21, 2008 (UTC)