Ashley M. Purpura, God, Hierarchy, and Power: Orthodox Theologies of Authority from Byzantium. New York: Fordham University Press, 2018. 226 pages. $65.00 (hardcover). ISBN: 978-0-8232-7837-4.

This book is a reworking of the author’s 2014 doctoral dissertation on the history of Christianity at Fordham University. It deals with intriguing questions about hierarchy as a theological ideal in Orthodoxy and the ways that ideal was understood and interpreted by leading figures during the Byzantine era, as they dealt with problems and failures in the way hierarchy actually functioned. The author draws attention to problems she perceives in the way hierarchy has been embraced and practiced within Orthodoxy and urges, among other items, that the common Orthodox practice of excluding women from priestly or episcopal office cannot be readily defended from the writings of the historic Orthodox spokespersons whom she studies in this work.



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