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Awesome Orthodox Book Reviews!!!

Book Reviews

Hi! The books in the Reference section and in my Book Reviews can be purchased from Orthodox Bookstores such as:
St. Vladimir's Seminary Bookstore (home of SVS Press): 1-(914)961-2203
Light and Life Publishing Co.: 1-(888)925-3918

The first book you should buy is the Orthodox Study Bible. Its notes are wonderful resources for Orthodox views on tons of subjects. It is a delight to wander around in. St. Athanasius Academy, which organized this New Testament, is now done translating the Septuagint, which is the Old Testament the early Church used. There is one older English translation, which includes the Greek side-by-side, out there which I like very much. In either version you need to look at the Greek in order to see what words were translated with a more Western understanding than that of the early Church. It is a good thing to have more than one for comparison.

For dog lovers I heartily recommend two books by the Monks of New Skete: How to be Your Dog's Best Friend, & The Art of Raising a Puppy, Little Brown & Co. '78 & '91 respectively. The Monks are well known for the quality, temperment and trainability of their German Shepherd dogs. (They also train outside dogs.) These books are written with love and true understanding. If you read these books and take them to heart your relationship with your dog could be transformed. If you are looking to share your life with a new soul, the puppy book is invaluable. They have a Godly and respectful outlook, with care and love directed to both person and puppy. These books are a rare combination of the utmost in practicality and information, combined with recognition of the spiritual side of all things.
Their books, videotapes, dvds and casssette can be ordered at 1-(888)77-SKETE, their website or at any bookstore. I find the video tapes and the puppy book can prove benefical for all animal lovers. I haven't heard the cassettes. And I'm perishing for one of the cookbooks! (I collect cookbooks, esp. Orthodox ones.) Oh yeah, they have nice Nativity cards too.
They have lovely websites at www.dogsbestfriend.com & www.newskete.com.

I highly recommend Animals and Man: A State of Blessedness by Joanne Stefanatos, D.V.M. (who established a lion sanctuary with her family members) Light & Life Publishers, '92. This is the first easily accessible effort to collect the Orthodox Church's thought on animals. My niece says this is her absolutely favorite book (and she is 14). It is one of my favorites as well. When Beth got sick I found I kept coming back to taste of it's wisdom.

Another consolation was The First Created Man by St. Symeon the New Theologian, St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, '94. It is a goldmine in reference to the creation and disposition of animals in Genesis and Revelations (among many other things). I used a quote from this book on the Orthodox Prayer for & with our Fellow Creatures site.

There is a book which is currently out of print which details why the loss of the vision for animals has come about: Human Image: World Image - The Death and Resurrection of Sacred Cosmology by Philip Sherrard, Golgonooza Press, '92. This secular "Fall" was actually a philosophic and scientific development which culminated with Rene Descartes' (mathematician & philosopher) thought, which was developed to allow experimentation on living animals (read here - vivisection). The discovery of these insidious roots is not entirely new. I've found it in my own research as well as that of others, but Mr. Sherrard details the history and effects extremely well.

For those who are non-Orthodox and/or have a different world-view I recommend:

On God and Dogs: A Christian Theology of Compassion for Animals by Stephen H. Webb, Oxford University Press, '98. Available through St. Vladimir's Seminary Bookstore.

Animal Gospel by Andrew Linzey, Westminster John Knox Press 2000. Actually I have just recently read this book and I highly recommend it to all people. This is a beautiful, personal book with very orthodox Christian views on man's relationsip with the animals. It also contains a very astute and practical vision of progress towards (what some would think is impractical but I don't) making the world realize that we have a duty toward God's creatures. They are not just something to stuff cans with. God loves them and takes joy in their joy. Anyway, buy this book. It is a keeper.

Now, back to Orthodox sources:

Man and the Environment - A Study of St. Symeon the New Theologian by Anestis G. Keselopoulos, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press 2001. An excellent study worth your reading.

Living in God's Creation - Orthodox Perspectives on Ecology by Elizabeth Theokritoff, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press 2009. The book I wish I had written. Awesome. Get this book. You will NEVER regret it.

"All things are near to God." - Russian Proverb

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