Liturgical Theology after Schmemann

An Orthodox Reading of Paul Ricoeur

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Brian A. Butcher
Orthodox Christianity and Contemporary Thought
  • Bronx, NY: 
    Fordham University Press
    , February
     360 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


While only rarely reflecting explicitly on liturgy, French philosopher Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005) gave sustained attention to several themes pertinent to the interpretation of worship, including metaphor, narrative, subjectivity, and memory. Inspired by his well-known aphorism, “The symbol gives rise to thought,” Liturgical Theology after Schmemann offers an original exploration of the symbolic world of the Byzantine Rite , culminating in a Ricoeurian analysis of its Theophany “Great Blessing of Water.” . 

The book examines two fundamental questions: 1) what are the implications of the philosopher’s oeuvre for liturgical theology at large? And 2)how does the adoption of a Ricoeurian hermeneutic shape the study of a particular rite? Taking the seminal legacy of Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983) as its point of departure, Butcher contributes to the renewal of contemporary Eastern Christian thought and ritual practice by engaging a spectrum of current theological and philosophical conversations.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Brian A. Butcher is Assistant Professor in the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at the University of St. Michael’s College, in the University of Toronto. He also teaches at U of T’s Trinity College, as well as at Augustine College (Ottawa). He is a contributor to the Oxford Handbook of Sacramental Theology and a subdeacon in the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church.


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