Alexei Losev was among those few religious thinkers who remained in the USSR after the revolution. He was an advocate of the so-called onomatodoxy movement in the Russian Orthodox Church according to which the name of God is not something conventional, but God himself. It was Losev who elaborated the philosophical foundations of this teaching and built a sort of synthesis of Platonism (and Neoplatonism) and the thought of the Eastern Fathers of the Church, especially St. Gregory of Palamas. As an encyclopaedic man, Losev dealt with different branches of philosophy: philosophy of language, music, mathematics, aesthetics, etc. The common denominator of all works was the issue of symbol, which he considered to be an external expression of an internal content. In the context of onomatodoxy debates, it means that the name of God is nothing but His energy (using the term of the Greek Fathers of the Church), or manifestation of His unknowable essence in the world. Therefore, a symbol is primarily of an objective character and at the same time assumes the cooperation (synergy) between God and man.
An Interview with Professor Teresa Obolevitch, Chair of Russian and Byzantine Philosophy at the Pontifical University of Joun Paul II in Krakow
The book by G. E. Alyaev summarizes long-term research of the philosophy of S. L. Frank and other Russian thinkers. It contains the articles examine the main features of the heritage of Russian philosophers and the results of archival research. Alyaev’s approach combines the aspects of conceptual analysis, reception history and archive work. The main sections of the book demonstrate the practical implementation of research ideas formulated in the introduction. The integrated methodology allows to avoid endless disputes on the ideological question if the Russian philosophy is “better” or “worse” than the Western one. Alyaev admits that the Russian thought, which often interprets itself as closer to real life than the Western intellectual traditions, explicitly sets the task of developing a national idea, but cannot be reduced to it. Moreover, the connection of the ideas of Russian philosophers to practical and political issues reveals its relevance for current intellectual discussions. Alaev’s reflections are close to the approach demonstrated in the works of E. van der Zweerde, who emphasizes that the national dimension of philosophy should not be opposed to the universal one. However, the methodological aspect of Alaev’s book is not sufficiently discussed and can be fruitfully supplemented by contemporary approaches of intellectual history.
At approximately the same time (i.e. in 1920-s and 1930-s), two contemporaries, M. Heidegger and Y.E. Golosovker, turned their attention to the poetry of F. Hölderlin. This article discusses their views on the writings of the German poet. Despite the fact that no direct intellectual contacts were found between the thinkers, Hölderlin’s poetry becomes the point of intersection of their interests, making it possible to identify the “parallels” without contact. Through Heidegger’s scheme (gods, poet, people) and the three dialectics of Golosovker (healing-sacrifice-transformation) the article shows the similarities and fundamental differences in their interpretation of Hölderlin as well as the many ways in which their interpretations complement each other. The article analyzes the concept of “madness” as it was understood by each thinker. According to Golosovker, the cause of madness is “honest burghers” (the people) – contemporaries of the poet; Heidegger, on the other hand, saw the source of the disease in the “excessive brightness of the light” and “hints of the gods”, which had been “revealed” to Hölderlin. The interpretation of “nature” in Hölderlin’s poetry requires special attention: the two thinkers offer different optics through which the poet appears as a proponent of an aesthetic panpsychism or a special kind of ontology. In their exploration of Hölderlin, the two philosophers draw important conclusions about modernity as a kind of intermediate era. They call it “impoverished time” or a period between “the first and second harmonies”. Heidegger and Golosovker offer two solutions to the problem of modernity. In each of the solutions, the poet occupies the key position. The differences in the interpretations largely reflect the biographies of both thinkers and the historical context, as discussed in the final part. Not only an understanding of modernity, but also a hope or lack thereof with respect to the future is an important topic in the potential Russian-European dialogue between two contemporaries about Hölderlin’s poetry.
It is necessary to return into the Russian academic context the name of Evgeny Anichkov — theorist and historian of literature, apprentice and disciple of A. N. Veselovsky, philosopher of culture. In emigration Anichkov continued to publish articles and books, he particularly analyzed the place of A. I. Herzen and N. G. Chernyshevsky in the history of Russian social thought. Unlike most contemporaries, Anichkov sharply contrasted these thinkers, revealing a number of antagonistic traits and intentions in the life and work of each of them.
This article discusses critical arguments against the Hegelian philosophy of two thinkers of the existential direction - Lev Shestov and Seren Kierkegaard. So, Shestov builds criticism of Hegel on the traditional principle - in the German philosopher he sees the final of the disastrous modern European rationalism, the final victory of "philosophy" over faith. Kierkegaard embeds Hegel’s criticism into his original theory about the stages of human existence, which with various additions was developed throughout his work.
Historical and philosophical reconstruction of the visit of Semen Ludwigovich Frank to Amersfoort in the summer of 1932, where the philosopher delivered at the International School for Philosophy (Internationale School voor Wijsbegeerte) a course of lectures entitled “Russian spiritual type in his attitude to the Western one” accompanied by the publication of some materials related to this visit. The organizer and inspirer of the lecture course was the historian and Slavist Bruno Borisovich Becker, a friend of Frank since the pre-émigré period, who moved to Amsterdam after the 1917 revolution. In the summer of 1932 in Amersfoort, fragments of Frank’s lecture course were also recorded on black and white film, recently found at the city archive of Utrecht. This is obviously the only record of Frank that has reached us. Along with the Russian philosopher and numerous course participants, it also captured Albert Schweitzer, Martin Buber, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Paul Ehrenfest and Bruno Becker. On the 9th of August, 1932, Frank sent from Amersfoort a postcard to his wife, Tatiana Sergeevna Frank, which is stored in the personal archive of Frank’s grandson, Fr Peter Scorer in Great Britain. In the appendix to the publication, this postcard is published, with the permission of the philosopher’s heirs. The publication also includes several photographs from the personal archive of Frank’s grandson, related to his trip to Amersfoort (The Netherlands), in August 1932.
The article, based on the analysis of Chekhov’s The Duel [Duеl], offers a new interpretation of Chekhov’s oeuvre. Modern Chekhov studies often imply that the writer lived in the era of the end of ideologies and therefore refrained from offering any ideological recipes. In fact, nearly each of Chekhov’s longer novellas debunked the nascent ideologies of the time. He warned of the perils of submission to an ideology, even though he could not predict which one would eventually dominate. Therefore, he critiqued each and every one of them. This is how ideology is tackled in his story The Black Monk [Chyorniy monakh] (an anticipation of detrimental Modernist ideas); in A Dreary Story [Skuchnaya istoria], these days often compared to the story of Faust; and in Ward No. 6 [Palata nomer shest], showing descent of normal people into insanity. Similarly, in The Duel, he depicted a proto-Nazi and Bolshevik, no less, in the character of Von Koren, who embraces Nietzsche’s worldview and will not hesitate to destroy an intellectual who crossed his path.
The article discusses the work of Myrrha Ivanovna Lot-Borodine, the first Orthodox woman theologian of the Russian diaspora who explored Byzantine thought. It is noted that the works of M. I. Lot-Borodine fit into the tradition of neopatristic synthesis, i.e., the revival of patristics in the twentieth century. In her works, two main themes can be distinguished. Firstly, this is the issue of deification. A series of three articles, “The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Church until the 11th Century”, was written specifically for the History of Religions journal in 1931–1932, and posthumously published as a separate book. In it, Lot-Borodine analyzed the tradition of apophatic theology, as well as the key concepts of the image and likeness of God. She sought to uncover the true essence of deification and all mystical experience in the tradition of the Greek Fathers. In this regard, the researcher examined the meaning of Christian suffering and asceticism, the bodily aspect of deification, the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. In addition, Lot-Borodine published a number of articles on St. Nicholas Kabasilas, also posthumously published as a separate book. According to Lot-Borodine, the main theme of St. Nicholas Kabasilas is Divine Love, and his concept can be described as “Christian humanism” The works of M. I. Lot-Borodine are deep and significant works in the field of Byzantine studies.
This paper discusses a controversial statement of some Russian critics about the “failure” of Turgenev’s Virgin Soil and its interpretation in Russian intellectual and political history. These views are revised with reference to Turgenev’s philosophical ideas on the Russian Enlightenment project, Russia’s historical development, its national culture and spiritual ideals. The author considers the national tradition of reading Virgin Soil and determines the intellectual context which impeded the understanding of Turgenev’s historical position, concluding that the views on the novel were mostly ideological. The article examines the problem of “new people” in Virgin Soil. According to the author’s opinion, Turgenev, inspired by the philosophical ideas of the Russian Enlightenment, created an original concept of the historical dynamics of Russia. He shows both the social utopianism and real political alternatives in Russian history. The writer gives a critical assessment of the moral philosophy of the “new people”, whose emergence is welcomed by the revolutionary democrat Chernyshevsky. Turgenev reveals the inner contradictions in Russian society and predicts a revolutionary catastrophe in Russia.
The article (written in the genre of “intellectual area studies”) discusses the circumstances of the stay of the Nobel laureate in literature Ivan Alekseevich Bunin (1870–1953) on the island of Capri, near Naples. It is noted that I.A. Bunin is one of the main “travelers” in Russian literature: in addition to Europe, he traveled to North Africa, Asia Minor and the Middle East, even reaching Ceylon. During these frequent months-long “voyages,” Bunin during his lifetime repeatedly received reproaches from his contemporaries for “being alienated from Russia.” The author of the article, on the contrary, believes that for Bunin (who considered himself the literary successor of N.V. Gogol) there were the concepts of the road and journey that were the most natural and organic context for thinking about Russia and the peculiarities of its historical fate. The article shows that the island of Capri has become a special place in the intellectual biography of Bunin: there he and his wife V.N. Muromtsev-Bunin spent three creatively fruitful winters of 1911/1912, 1912/1913 and 1913/1914. The center of Bunin’s Capri is the Grand Hotel Quisisana (which still exists today), which became the scene of one of Bunin’s most famous stories “The Gentleman from San Francisco.” The author of the article shows that it was on the island of Capri that I.A. Bunin not only wrote dozens of his best works about Russian life, but also developed the principles of his own “philosophy of creativity.” The article analyzes the evolution of relations between I.A. Bunin with the Russian “residents” of Capri: the “proletarian writer” M. Gorky (A.M. Peshkov), the writer L.N. Andreev and the outstanding Russian opera singer F.I. Chaliapin.
. For the Russian Empire, the Catholic question was one of the most important domestic issues throughout the 19th century; it was the question of building relations with its western regions, primarily with Poland, in which the Catholic clergy was the driving force of the struggle for political independence of the country. In this context, in the second half of the 19th century the Government of the Russian Empire considered maintaining a dialogue with the Holy See as a way to preserve stability in the Western regions of the Empire. Also, for Alexander III, this was a symbolic act illustrating Russia's course on demonstrating continuity with the Christian emperors of the Roman Empire. This should emphasize the special position and role of Russia in Europe. The image of Russia as a Christian empire, its course on the preservation of traditional values was contrasted with the image of the liberalegalitarian Western Europe, which was seized by revolutionary sentiments during this period. A unique historical source on the foreign policy of the Vatican in Eastern Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century and the Holy See-Russian relations is the correspondence of Pope Leo XIII and Russian Emperor Alexander III. From 1881 to 1894, Pope Leo XIII sent about ten official letters and to each of them received an official response from the Emperor. The main materials reporting the history of relations supported by Leo XIII with Alexander III, as well as with Grand Prince Vladimir Alexandrovich Romanov, are kept in the Apostolic Vatican Archive (sections “Spoglio Leone XIII” and “Segr. Stato: parte moderna”), the Affari Ecclesiastici Straordinari fund, the Russian Empire Foreign Policy Archive (funds Vatican and Chancery), Russian State Historical Archive.
This article attempts to analyze the historical and philosophical views of S. N. Bulgakov and S. L. Frank about the meaning of religion, the nature of philosophy, and the essence of philosophical knowledge in the structure of religious experience. The article considers the correlation of religious and philosophical ideas of two thinkers and their positioning relative to each other. The article formulates the problem of the relationship and mutual influence of religious faith and philosophical reason in the legacy of Bulgakov and Frank, and raises the question of what role these outstanding authors of the Silver age assign to religious philosophy in the spiritual life of a Christian. The question of the place of conceptual thinking in the experience of understanding the Absolute is being clarified. The thesis about the role and significance of religious philosophy as a necessary beginning of discursive comprehension of the truths of faith (Bulgakov) and a holistic understanding of being (Frank) is being put forward.