In this book, a revised, annotated, and expanded second edition of Théologie dogmatique, edited in the French by Olivier Clément and Michel Stavrou, readers encounter Lossky’s classroom lectures on dogmatic theology. Lossky confronts the great questions of theology: How can we know God? How is the Creator related to his creation? What is the vocation of human beings, created in God’s image?
These questions are understood in light of the two great mysteries of the faith: the Trinity and the incarnation of the Son of God. In Lossky’s articulation, these are not abstract theories, but living and vivid realities. “Emphasizing the thought of the Fathers, Lossky actualizes the latter in a creative fashion through a critical reflection—namely on the theme of the person—attempting through an approach that is faithful and free, to express the elements of the ecclesial tradition in a contemporary language. In the wake of the Fathers, Lossky linked dogma narrowly to the spiritual life, rejecting the false and ruinous split between spirituality and theology, hence this term ‘mystical theology’” (from the Introduction).
This dynamic tension between theology and spirituality is maintained in the Orthodox Church, which, as Lossky put it, “is not an element of world history among so many others, but the very center of the universe and its history, the center in connection with which the historic process in its entirety as well as each particular destiny receives its definitive meaning. Although the Church is in the world, she is not a constituent part of it, for she contains what the world cannot contain: the fullness of uncreated grace.”
VLADIMIR LOSSKY (1903–58) was one of the most brilliant theologians of the twentieth century. Living in the Russian diaspora in Paris, he was at the heart of the “neo-patristic” revival. Several of his works are available in English from SVS Press: In the Image and Likeness of God, The Meaning of Icons (with Leonid Ouspensky), The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, Orthodox Theology: An Introduction, and The Vision of God.