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Publisher's Summary

What does it mean to "think Orthodox"? What are the unspoken and unexplored premises and presumptions underlying what Christians believe? Orthodox Christianity is based on preserving the mind of the early Church, its phronema.

Dr. Jeannie Constantinou brings her more than 40 years' experience as a professor, Bible teacher, and speaker to bear in explaining what the Orthodox phronema is, how it can be acquired, and how that phronema is expressed in true Orthodox theology - as practiced by those who are properly qualified by both training and a deep relationship with Christ. 

©2020 Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou, Ph.D. (P)2021 Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou, Ph.D.

What listeners say about Thinking Orthodox: Understanding and Acquiring the Orthodox Christian Mind

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Thinking Orthodox

Next Pascha will mark my 10 year anniversary of entering the Orthodox Church. As each year passes as I realize more and more how little I know. Not only are there limitless depths of the Orthodox faith in which to plunge, but the majority of my time has been spent unlearning so many theological assumptions I once held. In Thinking Orthodox: Understanding and Acquiring the Orthodox Christian Mind Dr. Jeannie (Eugenia) Constantinou addresses this very issue: acquiring the mind of the Orthodox Church. Each person’s thinking is formed within their milieu which, for modern readers of the Scriptures, has caused many troubles. We approach the Scriptures and theology in a way that was foreign to Christ, the Apostles, and the early Church. The good news is that the Orthodox Church serves as a bridge to this worldview through maintaining the tradition that was passed down from the Apostles. This tradition is found within the life and teaching of the Orthodox Church; from the liturgy and hymnography to the canons and iconography. The mind or phronema of the Orthodox Church can be acquired through active participation in a life of prayer, ascesis, humility, and obedience to the teachings passed down generation to generation. Only by immersing ourselves, humbly, into this context can we acquire an Orthodox phronema.

Dr. Constantinou speaks often of a Western mind that is in opposition to the mind of the Church, however I think it can be specified even further to an American mind. Many of the views which are given as examples contrary to the Orthodox phronema are found primarily within the American worldview. Although her arguments do relate to the Western mind in general they especially interact with an American religious context. I think this speaks volumes to the current status of the Orthodox Church in the Americas. While the Church has been in the Americas for a couple hundred years comparatively it is still rather nascent. Most of the mother churches of Europe and the Middle East have had thousands of years to develop a culture and mindset fully integrated with the Orthodox phronema. If Orthodox Christians desire to spread the Orthodox faith to the American people, they must be willing to do the hard work of acquiring and developing an American Orthodox phronema as a legacy for the generations to come.

Seen in this light, Dr. Constantinou’s work serves less as a critique and more of a siren call to the “high calling of God in Jesus Christ”(Philippians 3:14). Therefore, “if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by…[Having] this mind (phroneite) among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:1,2,5).

A complimentary copy of the audio version of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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Informative and well written but be warned...

I was initially put off by the slow reading pace which the narrator uses but once I got used to it I didn't really mind. If you're the sort who gets impatient when someone is speaking slowly then I would recommend sampling before you buy. The author has many opinions and makes no attempt to disguise them so if you think you might be bothered by that then I would also advise you to be wary. I was able to accept those two aspects of the book and move past them but not everyone may find it so easy to do so. I do believe that it was worth the effort because I learned a lot from the book in spite of these minor distractions. The actual content is pretty informative and there is plenty of wisdom and insight to be found in it.

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Excellent

An indispensable resource for those desiring to understand the Orthodox mind. This moved my appreciation of Orthodox Christianity to a whole new level.

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Humbling and inspiring food for thought

Listening to "Thinking Orthodox" was an eye-opening or rather “mind-opening” experience. Even though I have been an Orthodox Christian for almost forty years, Dr. Constantinou’s book helped me realize that my twenty or so years of being a Protestant Christian affected my thinking in ways I hadn’t realized – mostly good but sometimes limiting my ability to fully embrace some of the joy and freedom found in Orthodoxy.
I especially enjoyed that Dr. Constantinou read the audio version of her book. Her voice was familiar from listening to her podcast, Search the Scriptures, and her personal experience of Orthodoxy along with her years of academic study and teaching comes through in her voice.
Part I describes the Orthodox mindset or phronema and how it colors and affects our understanding of both Scripture and Tradition in important ways. The chapters in Part I were the most profound and easily understood of the three parts. Among other things, Dr. Constantinou discusses how the Orthodox phronema helps one avoid the temptation of a pharisaical approach to the Orthodox lifestyle.
Parts II and III were very interesting but I think would be better understood in printed form – easier to review and use the material in the footnotes. Because of the depth of this material, I would recommend acquiring the printed or at least the e-book along with the audio version of this book.
Dr. Contantinou’s frequent references to quotes from the Church Fathers throughout the book are pearls of wisdom that many of us may not have had a chance to hear before. This is a long book, but well worth the time to listen to and to read.

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Contributed to my Conversion to Orthodoxy

The way the Eastern Orthodox Church thinks may seem counterintuitive at first, but, it makes perfect sense when taken seriously. This was a huge influence in my leaving of Protestantism becoming Orthodox. Christ is truly present here! I also always enjoy audiobooks read by the author!

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This is such a good book.

Very eye opening! I'm so glad I picked up this book 😊. I converted to orthodoxy from western Christianity, and I quickly noticed how my thought process was something that needed a shift.

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Capture the Mind of Christ

I'm new to Orthodoxy and I have a to say this book teaches on so many levels. History, Sociology, Psychology, and of course Christianity.

For the new seeker to the born orthodox, I think all will be enriched by this book.

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Very insightful but has a couple editing problems

I started reading this during my catechism as a supplement to the books suggested by my priest. Between my busy school, work, catechism, and exercise schedule, it took me months to get through this book. Ultimately, it taught me a lot about fronima and why the Orthodox oppose the Roman Catholics much more strongly than I would.

I happened to notice a couple of outtakes were left in, particularly in the later parts of the book. Additionally, the author states that summing up Orthodoxy as 'tradition' is faulty 20 minutes before she herself does exactly that. Despite these minor errors, this is a great overview of Orthodox thinking for the Westerner.

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Orthodox primer for catechumens

As a recently illuminated catechumen this book was an invaluable resource. I cannot say enough good things about it. She narrates the book herself which is a wonderfully familiar voice if you listen to her program on Ancient Faith radio. I appreciated the repetition of important concepts within the varied contexts, and the emphasis on gentleness with one's own growth.

I did need to speed up the narration yo 1.25x speed though because she was reading slowly. Understandable given the content.

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His humility alone is our key to the Kingdom

After searching for the ancient Faith as part of the70s & 80s "Evangelical Orthodox Church" that thankfully was grafted into the Antiochian Orthodox American archdiocese a critical missing element of the faith was eloquently explained by this work from Pres./Prof./attorney E.S. Constantinou, by the "The Mind of Christ". Truely a piece of the puzzle that defines the "Narrow Gate". May God grant you many years!

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  • 07-10-21

Another excellent Orthodox work.

I've been listening to Rowan Williams' 'Looking East in Winter' which I found quite hard to follow. Not so with 'Thinking Orthodox' which is intelligent but fairly easy to follow.

Orthodox Christianity has great theologians and yet it doesn't hold the intellect with the esteem that the Protestant and Catholic churches seem to. Those that live the faith are those that are in highest regard: saints; living and reposed, holy monks and nuns, spiritual elders etc. I feel that Protestantism is always after a new thing, a new angle or way of doing things whereas Orthodoxy passes down from generation to generation the accumulation of experience to guide you and to avoid unnecessary mistakes. Orthodoxy has been somewhat shackled by the oppression of Islam under the Ottoman Empire and then later on, communism. With freedom I can see it slowly grow in the West bringing back a certainty of belief.

Eugenia reads the book herself and is nice to listen to. It does what it says - gives you an understanding of the Orthodox view. I enjoyed it and will no doubt listen to it again soon, God willing !

3 people found this helpful