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Remembering the Future: Toward an Eschatological Ontology

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Remembering the Future: Toward an Eschatological Ontology
By: John D. Zizioulas, Metropolitan of Pergamon

This long-awaited, posthumous book by Metropolitan of Pergamon John Zizioulas, with an insightful and heartfelt prologue by Pope Francis, is a comprehensive exploration of eschatology and its profound implications for theology and ontology. It is divided into five chapters, each addressing a specific aspect of eschatology and its relationship with various theological themes. Through rigorous analysis and theological insight, the book explores how eschatology shapes our understanding of existence, purpose, and ultimate destiny. This scholarly work offers a deep dive into the theological and philosophical aspects of the Eschaton, providing readers with valuable insights into the Christian understanding of the future and its implications for the present. With meticulous attention to detail and a rich array of topics, this book is invaluable for theologians and scholars seeking a deeper grasp of eschatological thought. It is written for those who have accepted the fact of the Resurrection of Christ and are interested in the “logical” consequences that follow the acceptance of this fact: “credo ut intelligam”.

To hold this book by John Zizioulas, Metropolitan of Pergamon, in my hands is for me still to clasp his hands in the friendship that bound us together. A posthumous book, as the title tells us, it comes to me as a sign springing from a past that has been liberated in the Future of God…. The eschaton knocks at the door of our daily life, seeks our collaboration, loosens the chains, liberates the transition to a good life. And it is at the heart of the eucharistic canon that for Zizioulas the Church “remembers the future,” completing as he does in the chapters of this book a doxology to “Him who comes,” a theology that he has written on his knees, in expectation.
Pope Francis

The posthumous book Remembering the Future, by the late Metropolitan of Pergamon John Zizioulas of blessed memory, is a truly remarkable book. Through its impressive documentation and abundant bibliographical references, it opens exciting and challenging perspectives for theological dialogue, for discussing Biblical hermeneutics and for evaluating practices existing in the life of the Church related to preaching the Gospel and teaching the essentials of Christian Faith. The decisive achievement of the book is that it brings the reality or activity of eschatology, i.e., Christ’s teaching about His second coming and about the resurrection of the dead and the last judgment, to the center of serious discussion, comprehensively in terms of biblical, systematic, liturgical or practical Theology. The truly unforgettable late Metropolitan of Pergamon successfully transfers eschatology from the end of the books of systematic theology to the center of them and makes the teaching about eschatological ontology a relevant and vital topic for our Church today.
Archbishop Demetrios Trakatelis, Former Archbishop of America

Metropolitan John Zizioulas is the most recognizable and ecumenically impactful Orthodox theologian since St. John of Damascus. He carries forward the patristic tradition in a way that meets his mentor’s (Florovsky) call for a “neo-patristic synthesis,” but without shying away from bold and creative proposals that respond to contemporary questions and challenges. This book, his final monograph, is a gift that clarifies and extends his profound insights in Trinitarian theology, theological anthropology, creation theology, ecclesiology, and, of course, eschatology. His theological legacy is sure to endure not only in Orthodoxy, but in the history of Christian theology.
Aristotle Papanikolaou, Professor of Theology, Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture, Co-founding director, Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Fordham University, USA

In his Remembering the Future: Toward an Eschatological Ontology, the late Metropolitan John Zizioulas revitalizes theological discourse by reintroducing the overlooked concept of eschatological ontology, placing it at the forefront of contemporary theological thought. Drawing from biblical, patristic, and Eucharistic sources, Zizioulas reexamines theological concepts like creation, humanity, evil and the fall, science and art, the Church and liturgical time, the ontology of the person and love through the lens of the coming Kingdom and the risen Christ. This work introduces an iconic ontology, emphasizing that our current, partial experience of truth will ultimately culminate in a perfected and complete state in the last days.
Stavros Yangazoglou, Associate Professor of Dogmatics, Department of Theology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

I am delighted and excited to have received a copy of Metropolitan John’s “Remembering the Future”. Congratulations on the splendid appearance of the volume—its striking and dramatic cover befits the momentous contents within. I have always been captivated by Metropolitan John’s understanding of eschatology. As aptly noted in the Preface, this book represents his Grand Unified Theory. I am already quite familiar with the book’s final chapter, and I cannot wait to delve into it again, now within the proper context of Metropolitan John’s comprehensive eschatological vision.
Fr. Paul McPartlan, Carl J. Peter Professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenism at the Catholic University of America

A copy of Metropolitan John's book, „Remembering the Future,“ is a priceless gift. I hope his reflections from this book will continue to fertilize the Church and enable it to reach out prodigiously to human beings and all creatures in the present from the future. The late Metropolitan watches over us from Heaven.
Fr. Dario Chiapetti, friar minor of the Tuscan Province of St Francis Stigmatised, Doctor in Sacred Theology at the Facoltà Teologica dell’Italia Centrale

"The death of the particular person cannot be tolerated by the Christian faith. Only if the resurrection somehow intervenes in the course of time can the particular survive and time be redeemed." Met John Zizioulas’ crowning opus, fittingly published after his repose, distills from Patristic and Liturgical sources to construct the philosophical scaffolding needed to situate the ever-being communion of persons, time, history and nature, where according to Apostolic testimony, they have always belonged: re-membered eternally in the Risen and Ascended Christ Who is present Eucharistically through the Holy Spirit and yet still to come in the Eschaton of the New Jerusalem. It is a refreshing and reorienting volume, revealing new facets of the one Great Truth of the Church: that we who are divided are being re-membered together with all life, by Christ who IS our future. Don’t miss it!
Fr. Stephen Muse, PhD, LMFT, LPC, Clergy-in-Kairos program at Pastoral Institute in Columbus, Georgia, Mercer University School of Medicine

Eschatology is not simply a doctrine; it is an orientation, a perspective, a mode of existence. Eschatology does not concern only the future; it affects our past as well as our present. This is how the Church viewed and experienced the “last things” from the beginning.
John D. Zizioulas, Metropolitan of Pergamon

Metropolitan John Zizioulas emphasized that his book is written for those who have accepted the fact of the resurrection of Christ and are interested in the “logical” consequences that follow the acceptance of this fact: credo ut intelligam. Throughout many discussions, he urged us to critically examine both the foundations and ramifications of his groundbreaking assertion that “the future precedes the past” from both logical and ontological perspectives. He maintained that Christian theology represents a hermeneutics of resurrection, a pivotal theme at the heart of this book’s inquiry.

Language: English
Number of pages: 336, softbound  

Published: 2023

John D. Zizioulas (1931–2023), a renowned modern theologian and former Metropolitan of Pergamon in the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, is known for his significant contributions to Christian theology. He earned his doctorate in theology from the University of Athens and held academic positions at various universities. He was a professor of Systematic Theology at the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Thessaloniki and a visiting Professor at King’s College in London. Metropolitan John became a regular member of the Academy of Athens in 1993 and its president in 2002–2003. His extensive ecumenical involvement and scholarly work resulted in several influential publications, solidifying his reputation as a leading Orthodox theologian of our time. He is generally recognized as the most brilliant and creative theologian in the Church, dealing with the most contemporary issues facing humanity today. Аt the culmination of his theological journey, John Zizioulas, has bestowed upon the academic world his magnum opus, a work that surpasses all his previous endeavors in depth, insight, and scholarly rigor. The insights presented in his celebrated Being as Communion and Communion and Otherness provided the groundwork for the extensive exploration undertaken in this seminal piece that will likely be dissected and referenced even more extensively than the author’s prior contributions. This Zizioulas’ work presents a holistic Christian “theory of everything,” as he underscores how eschatological ontology deeply influences the entirety of Christian doctrine. Metropolitan Zizioulas acknowledged the profound challenge of articulating the influence of the future on the present. In 1999, he remarked, “I realize that this concept is most difficult to grasp and to experience,” attributing this difficulty to the fact that “we still live in a fallen world in which protological ontology is the dominant form of rationality.” The future of things in this perspective is defined by its origins and the “given” or the “factum.”
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    Remembering the Future

    Posted by Alyosha Myshkin on Jan 8th 2024

    Congratulations! The ultimate book on eschatology! Fascinating reading.