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Georgii Florovskii And The Ways Of Russian Theology

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Chapter Summary


This introductory chapter examines the cultural and intellectual historiography of Russian émigré writers of the so-called first wave (1918–1940). More specifically, the author sets out to analyse four seminal works by four prominent figures of the Russian diaspora that grew up beyond the borders of what was to become the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and Civil War. These are Saints of Ancient Russia by Georgii Fedotov, Ways of Russian Theology by Georgii Florovskii, The Russian Idea by Nikolai Berdiaev, and the History of Russian Philosophy by Vasilii Zenkovskii. In a study of émigré literature, whose historical narratives may prove easy to deconstruct, but these purpose was to create relationships in history in order to make exile meaningful.

Keywords:civil war; Georgii Fedotov; Georgii Florovskii; Russian historiography; Soviet union


Nikolai Aleksandrovich Berdiaev had been an active writer for a long time before he was forced to emigrate in 1922. In 1901, he published his first monograph, Subjectivism and Individualism in Social Philosophy, a critique of the populist sociology and philosophy of Nikolai Mikhailovskii. Many interpreters have emphasised a strong continuity in Berdiaev's thought. The fact that Berdiaev extensively recycled identical passages in his writings throughout his career contributes to the impression of constancy in his work. Berdiaev's language, in The Russian Idea too, is straightforward and dramatic, categorical and monologic, as well as full of paradoxes and inconsistencies. Berdiaev's use of the label martyrology in relation to the history of the Russian intelligentsia was not accidental. The history of Russian thought provides us with ascetics and confessors who accept pain in forms that acquire sadomasochistic attributes.

Keywords:martyrology; Nikolai Aleksandrovich Berdiaev; Russian idea




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