Internationally esteemed as one of the most outstanding Greek Orthodox theologians and patristic scholars of our time, Fr. John Romanides was also a groundbreaking pioneer. Paradoxically, he did not break new but neglected and hallowed ancient ground. In an age of religious syncretism and rationalism, this classic work brings to light ancient truths long ago replaced by juridical schemes and forgotten in most Christian denominations.
Truths regarding the creation ex nihilo, the destiny of man, Adam’s sin and fall, the origin of death, soteriology and God’s relations with the world were exposited as the doctrines of the primitive Church by the Apostolic and post-Apostolic Fathers of the first and second centuries. Hindered by the paradigms of post-Augustinian thought, Western Christianity has rarely understood these doctrines that predate by several centuries the commonly held juridical ideas of original sin and atonement.
The Ancestral Sin is the only in-depth comparative study of these doctrines and the underlying paradigms of the earliest Church Fathers on the one hand and the scholastic theologians on the other. It presents the integrity of the Orthodox faith and apophatic, empirical theology of the early Church in sharp contrast to the Augustinian and scholastic rationalism expressed by the aphorism credo ut intellegam, or “I believe in order to comprehend.”
Dr. Romanides devoted his life to the authentic Tradition of the Church Fathers, differentiating it from the post-Augustinian thought worlds that had obscured it even in the Orthodox East. Through this prism, he approached all biblical and theological issues, authoring several books, including The Dogmatic and Symbolic Theology of the Orthodox Catholic Church, numerous essays, and articles in Greek and English. He taught in universities and theological schools in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East and represented the Orthodox Church of Greece at Orthodox and Interfaith Conferences worldwide.