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Praxis (Byzantine Rite)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Praxis, a transliteration of the Greek word πρᾶξις (derived from the stem of the verb πράσσειν, prassein "to do, to act"), means "practice, action, doing".[1] More particularly, it means either:

  1. practice, as distinguished from theory, of an art, science, etc.; or practical application or exercise of a branch of learning;
  2. habitual or established practice; custom.[2]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Indus Valley Civilization: Crash Course World History #2
  • Communion Hymn - لحن التوزيع
  • Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Full Video)


Hi, I’m John Green, and this is Crash Course World History. Let’s begin today with a question. Why am I alive? Also, why don’t I have any eyes? Ah, That’s better. The way we answer that question ends up organizing all kinds of other thoughts, like what we should value, and how we should behave, and if we should eat meat, and whether we should dump that boy who is very nice, but insanely clingy, in a way that he cannot possibly think is attractive. All of which adds up- Uh, Mr. Green, Mr. Green, uh, are you talking about me? Yes, I’m talking about you, me from the past. I’m telling you that one of the reasons we study history is so that you can be a less terrible boyfriend, but more on that momentarily. [intro music] [intro music] [intro music] [intro music] [intro music] [intro music] [intro music] ;) Today we’re going to talk about civilizations, but in order to do that, we have to talk about talking about civilizations, because it’s a problematic word. So problematic, in fact, that I have to turn to camera 2 to discuss it. Certain Conglomerations of humans are seen as civilizations, whereas, say, nomadic cultures generally aren’t, unless, you are--say it with me-- the mongols By calling some groups civilizations, you imply that all other social orders are uncivilized, which is basically just another way of saying that they’re savages or barbarians. side note: originally Greek, the word Barbarian denoted anyone who did not speak ancient Greek, because to the Greeks, all other languages sounded like bar bar bar bar bar bar. So, that is to say that we are all essentially barbarians, except for the classics majors, which is worth remembering when we’re discussing civilizations. Civilizations are like most of the things we like to study, they’re intellectual constructs. No one woke up in the city of Thebe’s in Egypt one morning and said, “what a beautiful morning, I sure am living at the height of Egyptian civilization.” Still, they’re useful constructs, particularly when you’re comparing one civilization to another. They’re less useful when you’re comparing a civilization to a non-civilization type social order, which is why we will try to avoid that. And yes, I am getting to the good boyfriend stuff. Patience, grasshopper. So what is a civilization? Well, diagnosing a civilization is a little like like diagnosing an illness. If you have four or more of the following symptoms, you might be a civilization. Surplus production. Once one person can make enough food to feed several people, it becomes possible to build a city, another symptom of civilization. It also leads to the specialization of labor, which in turn leads to trade. Like, if everybody picks berries for a living, there’s no reason to trade, because I have berries, and you have berries,  but if I pick berries for a living and you make hammers, suddenly, we have cause to trade.   Civilizations are also usually associated with social stratification, centralized government, shared values, generally in the form of religion, and writing. And at least in the early days, they were almost always associated with rivers. These days you can just bisect a segment of land horizontally and vertically, and boom, build a city. But 5000 years ago, civilizations were almost always associated with rivers. Whether that’s the Tigris and Euphrates, the Yellow River, The Nile, the Amazon Basin, the Coatzacoalcos - Gaaah! I was doing so good until I got to Coatzacoalcos! (computer says: Coatzacoalcos) Coatzacoalcos. Maybe. Why river valleys? They’re flat, they’re well watered, and when they flood, they deposit nutrient-rich silt. We’ll have more to say about most of these civilizations later, but let’s talk about this guy, the Indus Valley Civilization, ‘cause it’s my all time favorite. The Indus Valley Civilization was located in the flood plain of the Indus and Sarawati rivers, and it was about the best place in the world to have an ancient civilization because the rivers flooded very reliably twice a year, which meant that it had the most available calories per acre of pretty much anywhere on the planet. We know the Indus Valley Civilization flourished a long time ago. Probably around 3000 BCE. Why is that question literally hanging over my head? But people of the Indus valley were trading with Mesopotamians as early as 3500 BCE. We also know that it was the largest of the ancient civilizations. Archaeologists have discovered more than 1500 sites. So what do we know about this civilization? Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. Everything we know about the Indus Valley Civilization comes from archaeology, because while they did use written language, we don’t know how to read it, and no Rosetta Stone has thus appeared to help us learn it. I meant the other Rosetta Stone, Thought Bubble, yeah. Although, come to think of it, either would be acceptable. So here’s what we know, they had amazing cities. Harappa and Mohenjo Daro are the best known, with dense, multi-story homes constructed out of uniformly sized bricks along perpendicular streets. I mean this wasn’t some ancient world version of Houston, more like Chicago. This means they must have had some form of government and zoning, but we don’t know what gave this government its authority. Cities were oriented to catch the wind and provide a natural form of air conditioning. And they were clean. Most homes were connected to a centralized drainage system that used gravity to carry waste and water out of the city in big sewer ditches that ran under the main avenues, a plumbing system that would have been the envy of many 18th century European cities. Also, in Mohenjo Daro, the largest public building was not a temple or a palace, but a public bath, which historians call the Great Bath. We don’t know what the great bath was used for, but since later Indian culture placed a huge emphasis on ritual purity, which is the basis for the caste system, some historians have speculated that the bath might have been like a giant baptismal pool. Also, they traded. One of the coolest things that the Indus Valley Civilization produced were seals used as identification markers on goods and clay tablets. These seals contained the writing that we still can’t decipher, and a number of fantastic designs, many featuring animals and monsters. One of the most famous and frightening is of a man with what looks like water buffalo horns on his head, sitting cross-legged between a tiger and a bull. We don’t know what’s really going on here, but it’s safe to say that this was a powerful dude, because he seems to be able to control the tiger. How do these seals let us know that they traded? Well, because we found them in Mesopotamia, not the indus valley. Plus, archaeologists have found stuff like bronze in the indus valley that is not native to the region. So what did they trade? Cotton cloth. Still such a fascinating export, incidentally that it will be the subject of the 40th and final video in this very series. But here’s the most amazing thing about the Indus Valley people. They were peaceful. Despite archaeologists finding 1500 sites, they have found very little evidence of warfare, almost no weapons. Thanks Thought Bubble. OK, before we talk about the fascinating demise of the Indus Valley Civilization. It’s time for the open letter. Magic! I wonder what the secret compartment has for me today? Oh! Fancy clothes. I guess the secret compartment didn’t think I was dressed up enough for the occasion. An open letter to Historians. Dear historians, the Great Bath? Really? THE GREAT BATH? I’m trying to make history fascinating, and you give me a term that evokes scented candles, bath salts and Frederic Fekkai hair products? I know sometimes the crushingly boring names of history aren’t your fault. You didn’t name the federalist papers or the Austro-Hungarian Empire or Adam Smith. But when you do get a chance to name something, you go with THE GREAT BATH? Not the Epic Bath of Mohenjo Daro, or the Bath to End All Baths, or the Pool That Ruled, or the Moist Mystery of Mohenjo Daro or the Wet Wonder? The Great Bath? Really? You can do better. best wishes, John Green. So what happened to these people? Well, here’s what didn’t happen to them. They didn’t morph into the current residents of that area of the world, Hindu Indians or Muslim Pakistanis. Those people probably came from the Caucasus. Instead, sometime around 1750 BCE, the Indus Valley Civilization declined until it faded into obscurity. Why? Historians have three theories. One: Conquest!   Turns out to be a terrible military strategy not to have any weapons, and it’s possible people from the Indus Valley were completely overrun by people from the Caucasus. Two: Environmental Disaster! It’s possible they brought about their own end by destroying their environment. Three: Earthquake! The most interesting theory is that a massive earthquake changed the course of the rivers so much that a lot of the tributaries dried up. Without adequate water supplies for irrigation, the cities couldn’t sustain themselves, so people literally picked up and headed for greener pastures. Well, probably not pastures, it’s unlikely they became nomads. They probably just moved to a different plain an continued their agricultural ways. I am already boring you and I haven’t even told you yet how to be a better boyfriend and/or girlfriend. I’m going to do that now. So we don’t know why the Indus Valley Civilization ended, but we also don’t really know why it started. Why did these people build cities, and dig swimming pools, and make unnecessarily ornate seals? Were they motivated by hunger, fear, a desire for companionship, the need to be near their sacred spaces, or a general feeling that city life was just more awesome than foraging? Thinking about what motivated them to structure their life as they did helps us to think about how we structure our own lives. In short, you’re clingy because you’re motivated by fear and a need for companionship, and she finds it annoying because it’s enough work having to be responsible for herself without having to also be responsible for you. Also, you’re not really helping her by clinging, and from the Indus Valley in the bronze age, to school life today, human life is all about collaboration. Trading cloth for bronze, building cities together, and collaborating to make sure that human lives are tilted to catch the wind. Next week we will travel here to discuss the Hot Mess o’ Potamia, but in the meantime, if you have any questions, leave them in comments, and our team of semi-trained semi-professionals will do their best to answer them. Also, you’ll find some suggested resources in the video info below, he said, pointing at his pants. Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next week!

Orthodoxy and orthopraxis

Eastern Christian writers, especially those in the Byzantine tradition, use the term "praxis" to refer to what others, using an English rather than a Greek word, call 'practice of the faith', especially with regard to ascetic and liturgical life.

Praxis is a key to understanding the Byzantine tradition, which is observed by the Eastern Orthodox Church and some Eastern Catholic Churches. This is because praxis is the basis of the understanding of faith and works as conjoint, without separating the two. The importance of praxis, in the sense of action, is indicated in the dictum of Saint Maximus the Confessor: "Theology without action is the theology of demons."[3][4][5]

Union with God, to which Eastern Christians hold that Jesus invites mankind, requires not just faith, but correct practice of faith. This idea is found in the Scriptures (1 Cor 11:2, 2 Thes 2:14) and the Church Fathers, and is linked with the term 'praxis' in Byzantine theology and vocabulary.[6] In the context of Orthodoxy, praxis is not mentioned opposite theology, in the sense of 'theory and practice'.[7] Rather, it comprehends all that Orthodox do,[8] and is considered to be 'living Orthodoxy'.[9]

Praxis is perhaps most strongly associated with worship. "Orthopraxis" is said to mean "right glory" or "right worship", and is then synonymous with orthodoxy;[10] only correct (or proper) practice, particularly correct worship, is understood as establishing the fulness of glory given to God. This is one of the primary purposes of liturgy (divine labor), the work of the people. Some Byzantine sources maintain that in the West, Christianity has been reduced "to intellectual, ethical or social categories," whereas right worship is fundamentally important in our relationship to God, forming the faithful into the Body of Christ and providing the path to "true religious education."[11] A "symbiosis of worship and work" is considered to be inherent in Byzantine praxis.[12]

Fasting, another key part of the practice of the Christian faith, is mentioned as part of Byzantine praxis, in connection with the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 6),[13] and in comparison with the history and commemorations of Lenten fasts.[14]

Praxis may also refer to proper religious etiquette.[10]

Corresponding terminology in Latin Christianity

In the Latin Church, parallel ideas of asceticism and worship exist. The word used in this regard is the regular English word "practice", since in English the term "praxis" is not normally used in this sense.

The simplest and most common understanding of the term "practising Catholic", a minimal interpretation of the phrase, is that the person has been baptized (or canonically received into full communion with the Catholic Church) and strives to observe the Church's precept of attending celebration of the Mass or Divine Liturgy on Sundays and holy days of obligation.[15] Someone who does not fulfil even this minimum requirement for being considered "practising" is referred to as a lapsed Catholic.

A more ample indication of what practice involves is given in a statement by Bishop Luc Matthys of Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.[16] Living the Catholic faith involves much more than the minimum requirements referred to above.

Matters such as fasting have applications that vary according to place and according to the autonomous particular Church to which a person belongs. In each of the Eastern Catholic Churches, practice is generally the same as in the associated Eastern Church with which it is not in full communion. Thus, practice in the Eastern Catholic Churches of Byzantine Rite is identical with that described above for the Churches that constitute the Eastern Orthodox Church, but differs from that of, for instance, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church. Within the Latin Church too, there are variations in such matters in accordance with rules laid down by the episcopal conferences in view of local conditions and traditions.

Modern meaning of "praxis"

In English, the word "praxis" is more commonly used in the sense not of practice but with the meaning given to it by Immanuel Kant, namely application of a theory to cases encountered in experience or reasoning about what there should be as opposed to what there is: this meaning Karl Marx made central to his philosophical ideal of transforming the world through revolutionary activity.[17] Proponents of Latin American liberation theology have used the word "praxis" with specific reference to human activity directed towards transforming the conditions and causes of poverty. Their "liberation theology" consists then in applying the Gospel to that praxis to guide and govern it.[18]

See also


  1. ^ "praxis (n.) | Search Online Etymology Dictionary". Archived from the original on 2020-12-04. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  2. ^ "Praxis Meaning | Best 10 Definitions of Praxis". Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2021-01-06.
  3. ^ Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians. International Conference (1985). Virginia Fabella; Sergio Torres (eds.). Doing Theology in a Divided World. Orbis Books. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-88344-197-8.
  4. ^ Paul W. Chilcote, Wesley Speaks on Christian Vocation Archived 2017-02-15 at the Wayback Machine (Wipf and Stock 2001 ISBN 978-1-57910812-0), p. 67
  5. ^ "Mission among Other Faiths: An Orthodox Perspective". Archived from the original on 2010-07-05. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
  6. ^ "Yahoo! Groups". Archived from the original on 6 Feb 2012.
  7. ^ "The Fellowship of St. Cædmon | Orthodox Christian Literature in the English Tradition". June 6, 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-06-06 – via
  8. ^ "Orthodox Praxis". August 8, 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-08-08 – via
  9. ^ "The Orthodox World-View". Archived from the original on 2021-02-15. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  10. ^ a b "Living an Orthodox Life: Introduction :: Orthodox Christian Information Center". Archived from the original on 2021-04-10. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  11. ^ "The Orthodox Difference". May 10, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-05-10.
  12. ^ "Anagalpura Mission Centre". July 2, 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-07-02.
  13. ^ "Holy Transfiguration". Archived from the original on 2021-01-25. Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  14. ^ "Resources for Orthodox Great Lent". June 3, 2004. Archived from the original on 2004-06-03.
  15. ^ "Birmingham Diocesan Education Service". Birmingham Diocesan Education Service. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2021-01-06.
  16. ^ "What distinguishes a practising Catholic?". Archived from the original on October 25, 2010.
  17. ^ Simon Blackburn, Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy Archived 2017-02-15 at the Wayback Machine (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 0-19-861013-0), pp.287-288
  18. ^ "Praxis |". Archived from the original on 2021-01-08. Retrieved 2021-01-06.
This page was last edited on 10 September 2023, at 07:12
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