Studies in Honour of Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia
4 The Teacher
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4 The Teacher
It is a great delight to be asked to offer a tribute to Metropolitan Kallistos as teacher. I am aware of being in an especially fortunate position for this task given that I was catechized by him, attended the various lecture courses he gave at Oxford as both undergraduate and post-graduate student, and wrote my doctoral thesis under his supervision. After that, in my time at the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge (2000–13) I had the joy of sitting at his feet for almost innumerable courses and lectures – not to mention many and various other contexts.
One of Metropolitan Kallistos’s favourite quotations from Plato comes from the Theaetetus: ‘The beginning of philosophy is a sense of wonder’; and a sense of wonder is inescapable in anyone who has attended his lectures, talks, or sermons. This sense of wonder certainly has something to do with humour. While never flippant, Metropolitan Kallistos invariably peppers his presentations with a range of hilarious anecdotes. These have great pedagogical value, creating a sense of uplift, refocusing attention, and contributing to the overwhelmingly positive and affirmative character of his discourse. Humour, for the Bishop, has something fundamental to do with human nature (as does, in his estimation, a love of the railways). Having attended very many of the Bishop’s presentations, I often find myself laughing at a joke or anecdote long before the punch line. Perhaps this will...
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