The Bible in the Orthodox Church: Page 2So tradition may be good or bad, and good tradition is handing over, passingon, the Christian faith, as St Jude urges his readers to contend for the faithonce delivered, or “traditioned” to the saints. “Faith” can mean both what isbelieved, and the act of believing, and so tradition can mean both what ishanded over, and the act of handing over. And for Orthodox Christians theHoly Scriptures are part of this tradition, part of what is handed on.We do not speak of two sources, of Scripture
Tradition. There is onesource, one tradition, and the Holy Scriptures are at the core of it.
Orthodox culture and Western culture, especially Protestant culture, arevery different in this respect, and it is this difference that I shall try toexplain.
Nowadays we hear a lot about the differences between modernity andpostmodernity, the differences between modern and postmodern culture.But to understand the difference between Orthodox culture and Protestantculture one must go back to premodern culture.
Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment
When we speak of modernity, or modern culture, we are usually referring toWestern culture as it has been shaped by three movements or intellectualcurrents: the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment.In my youth there was a fashionable cultural theorist, Marshall McLuhan,who pointed out that modern culture, modernity, is above all a print culture.He wrote several books expounding his theories (in print), and one of themwas called
The Gutenberg galaxy
. In another book,
The medium is the massage
he tried to escape from the constraints of the print medium to tryto get his message across. One of his theories was that the advent of electronic media would change culture in our time as profoundly as printhad changed it in the sixteenth century. Television would usher in thepostmodern age.
The Gutenberg Galaxy
The Gutenberg galaxy meant, among otherthings, that reading, including reading thescriptures, could become, above all, aprivate affair, an individualistic affair.Printing meant that people could havetheir own copies of a book, called
, and read it on their own, in private.Early modern Europe saw the rise of individualism. It was not seen only inprinted books. If you look at Renaissancepainting, you will see that there was anobsession with perspective. Andperspective represents, above all, an