History, Sophia and the Russian Nation: A Reassessment of Vl

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

History, Sophia and the Russian Nation: A Reassessment of Vl

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 10:01 pm

History, Sophia and the Russian Nation: A Reassessment of Vladimir Solov'ev's Views on History and His Social Commitment
by Manon de Courten
European University Studies
Europaische Hochschulschriften
Publications Universitaires Europeennes
Series III
History and Allied Studies
Reihe III Serie III
Geschichte und ihre Hilfswissenschaften
Histoire et sciences auxiliaires
Vol. 996
© Peter Lang AG, European Academic Publishers, Bern 2004




To my parents,
Tony and Marijke

Table of Contents -- An Overview:

• Introduction
• Part One: Theoretical Framework
o I. Theology of History and Philosophy of History: Two Heuristic Models
o II. Theology of History in Solov'ev
o III. Philosophy of History in Solov'ev
o IV. Solov'ev's Sophiology of History
o Synthesis
• Part Two: Case Studies
o Introduction
o I. The Tsaricide of March 1st, 1881
o II. The Old Believers
o III. The Jewish Question
o IV. The Polish Question
o V. The Famine of 1891-1892
o Synthesis
o Theory and Case Studies Combined: Solov'ev the Translator
o Bibliography
o Summary

Table of Contents:

• Back Cover
• Acknowledgments
• Introduction
o I. Research Topic
 1. Presentation, method, hypotheses
 2. Relevance of this study
 3. State of the question
 4. Outline
o II. Historical Context
 1. Vladimir Solov'ev's Life and Work
 2. Politics and Society in Russia 1850-1900: a Survey
 3. Speculative Conceptions of History in Russia 1850-1900
• Part One: Theoretical Framework
o I. Theology of History and Philosophy of History: Two Heuristic Models
 1. Introduction
 a) State of the question
 b) Preliminary characterisation
 2. Theology of History
 a) Definition
 b) Framework
 c) Periodisation and conception of time
 d) Criteria and method
 e) Actors
 3. Philosophy of history
 a) Definition
 b) Framework
 c) Periodisation and conception of time
 d) Criteria and method
 e) Actors
 Conclusion
o II. Theology of History in Solov'ev
 Introduction
 1. The Register of Theology of History in Solov'ev
 a) General definition
 b) Framework
 c) Periodisation and conception of time
 d) Criteria and Method
 e) Actors
 2. The Dialogue
 a) The Eastern Church fathers
 b) Russian religious thinkers
 Conclusion
o III. Philosophy of History in Solov'ev
 Introduction
 1. The Register of Philosophy of History in Solov'ev
 a) General definition
 b) Framework
 c) Periodisation and conception of time
 d) Criteria and method
 e) Actors
 2. The Dialogue
 a) Hegel
 b) Sergej Solov'ev
 c) Comte
 Conclusion
o IV. Solov'ev's Sophiology of History
 Introduction
 1. The Register of Sophiology of History in Solov'ev
 a) General definition
 b) Framework
 c) Periodisation and conception of time
 d) Criteria and method
 e) Actors
 Conclusion
 2. The Dialogue
 a) The Kabbalah
 b) Gnosticism
 c) Bohme
 d) Schelling
 Conclusion
o Synthesis
• Part Two: Case Studies
o Introduction
 Objective
 Method-related considerations
o I. The Tsaricide of March 1st, 1881
 1. Introduction
 a) Thesis
 b) The historical context: Policies and terrorism 1878-1881
 c) The debates
 2. Solov'ev's intervention
 a) Solov'ev's speeches and the reaction of the authorities
 b) Confrontation with historical context of government policies and terrorism
 c) Confrontation with debates
 d) Theology of history, philosophy of history and sophiology of history
 3. Conclusion
o II. The Old Believers
 1. Introduction
 a) Thesis
 b) The historical context: the Old Believers in Russia up to 1900
 c) Debates on the Old Believers in the Russian press
 2. Solov'ev on the Old Believers
 a) Solov'ev's texts
b) Solov'ev's views and the history of the Old Believers and their situation in his time
 c) Solov'ev's views and the ongoing debates in his time
 d) Theology of history, philosophy of history and sophiology of history
 3. Conclusion
o III. The Jewish Question
 I. Introduction
 a) Thesis
 b) The Jewish question 1881-1900: pogroms and policies
 c) Debates in public opinion
 2. Solov'ev and the Jewish question
 a) Solov'ev's commitment in publications and actions
 b) Solov'ev's treatment of the Jewish question against the background of the pogroms and the policies regarding Jews
 c) Solov'ev's treatment of the Jewish question against the background of the debates
 d) Theology of history, philosophy of history and sophiology of history
 3. Conclusion
o IV. The Polish Question
 1. Introduction
 a) Thesis
 b) The historical context: policies
 c) Debates in Russian public opinion
 2. Solov'ev's intervention
 a) Solov'ev's texts
 b) Confrontation with the historical development of Poland
 c) Confrontation of Solov'ev's views with debates
 d) Theology of history, philosophy of history and sophiology of history
 Conclusion
o V. The Famine of 1891-1892 437
 1. Introduction
 a) Thesis
 b) The famine of 1891-1892 and the measures taken to remedy it
 c) Debates in the Russian press on the famine
 2. Solov 'ev's interventions
 a) Solov'ev's contribution to famine relief: publications and actions
 b) Solov'ev's perception of the famine and of the famine relief by government and society
 c) Solov'ev's views on the famine against the background of the debates in the Russian press
 d) Theology of history, philosophy of history and sophiology of history
 3. Conclusion
o Synthesis
• Theory and Case Studies Combined: Solov'ev the Translator
• Conclusion
o I. Main results
o II. Perspectives
• Bibliography
• Summary

I see above all great and holy Rome, the eternal city, a fundamental and inseparable part of the universal Church. I believe in this Rome, I venerate it, adore it with all my heart, and with all the powers of my soul desire its regeneration for the sake of the unity and wholeness of the universal church; let me be cursed as a patricide if ever I cast a word of condemnation at the sanctity of Rome.


The true subject of moral progress -- as well as of historical progress in general -- is the individual man together and inseparably from collective man or society.


As the realisation of the divine principle, its image and likeness, archetypal humanity, or World Soul, is both one and all. World Soul occupies a mediating position between the multiplicity of living entities [ ... ] and the absolute unity of Divinity.


Sophia-World Soul is the cornerstone of Solov'ev's work as a whole, which he, however, left for the most part concealed. The role of visible cornerstone is performed by the metaphysical principle of all-unity [vseedinstvo], which applies to all things and beings, and by the theological principle of the humanity of God [Bogocelovecestvo], which applies only to human beings.

-- History, Sophia and the Russian Nation, by Manon de Courten
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Re: History, Sophia and the Russian Nation: A Reassessment o

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 10:03 pm

Back Cover:

In this study, the work of the philosopher, publicist, poet, mystic and activist Vladimir Solov'ev (1853-1900) is addressed from a new, interdisciplinary perspective. The author explores the connections between Solov'ev's views on history and his attempts to change the course of affairs in Russia. Firstly, the theological and philosophical aspects of Solov'ev's conception of history are unravelled. Most importantly, the central role of Sophia (Divine Wisdom) in his self-perception as the guiding prophet of Russian society is highlighted. Then, the author examines how Solov'ev's views on history prompted him to intervene in the following affairs: the crisis following the murder of tsar Alexander II in 1881, the famine of 1891-1892, and the condition of three religious minorities in Russia, namely the Old Believers, the Jews and the Catholic Poles.

This two-fold analysis shows that Solov'ev departed from the ambition to cast Christian tradition in a modern mould by various means, speculative as well as practical. Characteristic for his attitude toward history is a tension between his professing an eternal truth and responding to a crisis in Russia. He emerges as a prodigiously erudite thinker, capable of synthesising various intellectual traditions ranging from Jewish mysticism to German idealism, and as a committed and independent intellectual in late tsarist Russia.

Manon de Courten (Bern, 1969) studied Russian, History and Philosophy at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. From 1998 to 2004 she worked as a PhD student at the Centre for Russian Humanities Studies of the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. She has taught seminar courses in philosophy of history, which, together with the intellectual history of Russia, forms her major research interest.
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Re: History, Sophia and the Russian Nation: A Reassessment o

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This study has been realised within the framework of the research programme 'Civil Society and National Religion: Problems of Church, State, and Society in the Philosophy of Vladimir Solov'ev (1853-1900)', financed by the Dutch Foundation for Scientific Research [NWO] and hosted at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Nijmegen. Both institutions have also provided financial support for my research stays in Moscow and St. Petersburg in the summers of 1998, 1999 and 2000.

For however much this work might look like an individual enterprise, numerous people have been involved in it, and I would like to express my vivid gratitude to all of them. In Moscow, Nikolaj Kotrelev and Aleksandr Nosov (t), with their comprehensive knowledge and accumulated expertise of Solov'ev's texts, have provided me with precious insights into the thought and life of this philosopher. In Nijmegen, my colleagues at the Faculty of Philosophy, and in particular in the Section of Social and Political Philosophy, reacted with an open mind to my somewhat exotic project. I am deeply grateful to my colleagues and friends of the Centre for Russian Humanities Studies for maintaining during these six years an atmosphere of lively scholarly exchange, which contributed to a deeper understanding of Solov'ev and shaped my views on this subject matter. In many workshops, the intellectual enthusiasm and challenging views of Anton Simons, Frances Nethercott, and Katharina Breckner were important components of this formative period. Also part of this group was Pauline Schrooyen, with whom I could share both my discoveries (rare and precious moments) and my endless explorations and errings (much more frequent periods), which together make for the lot of any PhD student. Her affectionate and critical attitude gave me the last kick I needed to achieve my thesis. Wil van den Bercken and Jonathan Sutton provided encouragement and expressed confidence in my research, while in Machiel Karskens I found a supervisor always ready to give advice and to help me focus on the main line of my argument. At a later stage, Jutta Scherrer provided me with refreshing insights and stimulating remarks as a historian. My gratitude goes especially to Evert van der Zweerde. Not only did he set a collective research programme about Vladimir Solov'ev and created from the outset an atmosphere of collegiality and mutual inspiration. He also provided me with sympathetic and critical guidance in this six-year project, demonstrating an untiring willingness to help sharpen and deepen my arguments as well as a great capacity of 'thinking along' (aptly called 'mee-denken' in Dutch). This list of professional support would not be complete without naming Mark Gray, who devoted much time, including the greater part of his Christmas holiday, to editing my thesis in readable English. Of course, any language-bound errors and logical inconsistencies resulting from later additions are my own responsibility.

I also received support from a few other people, who were close to me irrespective of their various degrees of geographical separation. Through the years, Clarisse, my sister, never failed to come and visit me, whether in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Nijmegen or The Hague. Before I was even envisaging a thesis, Sandrine, Nard and Bait oriented my path towards the Netherlands. And while I was doing research in Nijmegen, I met Frank, with whom I now share my life. Having been through the same drawn-out process himself, he cheered me on daily with his attention, warmth and humour. During the last stage of my thesis, he was able to temper my sometimes apocalyptic mood and to dissipate my 'Last Judgment' feelings about my work, by taking me out for some fresh salty air by the seaside and in the night hours by fishing lots of hacheks for me. Finally, I would like to thank my parents for their support during my zigzagging itinerary to Russia and later to the Netherlands. Long ago, they gave me a first taste for foreign languages, travels, and cultures and their past. To them I dedicate this book.

Manon de Courten,
The Hague, April 2004
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Re: History, Sophia and the Russian Nation: A Reassessment o

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I. Research Topic

1. Presentation, method, hypotheses

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Russian people have been rewriting their history, a process that involves among many others an active reinterpretation of pre- revolutionary thought. One of the results of this rekindled interest and scholarship is that nineteenth century authors who had previously been forbidden through censorship or neglected in the Soviet era are again being published and studied. The work of Russian philosopher Vladimir Solov'ev (1853-1900) has gained new actuality for two main features that make him an inspiring discussion partner, namely the centrality of religion and the all-embracing approach to existence. Vladimir Solov'ev deserves the status of 'Russia's most systematic philosopher' for his prodigious ability to address issues related to a wide variety of fields in philosophy including metaphysics, logic, ethics, and theory of knowledge. His efforts were concentrated on his concern to link all that exists in a harmonious whole. This was also reflected in his conception of history, which touches upon and aims to transform all domains of life.

Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a political system where the state, usually under the control of a single political person, faction, or class, recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible. Totalitarianism is generally characterized by the coincidence of authoritarianism (where ordinary citizens have less significant share in state decision-making) and ideology (a pervasive scheme of values promulgated by institutional means to direct most if not all aspects of public and private life).

-- Totalitarianism, by Wikipedia

The present study takes its point of departure in the statement that, contrary to his comprehensive works in the abovementioned fields, Vladimir Solov'ev never elaborated his conception of history in a systematic manner. His numerous views are scattered over many varied texts, but he neither produced one single book devoted exclusively to his views of history, nor addressed the possibility and methods of knowing history. In a century when a philosophical interpretation of history had become a fully acknowledged domain of investigation, it did not receive the perhaps expected attention in his thought. How can we explain this absence of focus from a thinker who strove to build a system that embraced the totality of reality? The numerous fragments suggest that history did not have priority in his agenda, or that he instrumentalised the material of history for the sake of what he sought to demonstrate.

At the same time, Vladimir Solov'ev profoundly believed that history is the locus for divine and human action. This conviction forms the core of his theory of the 'humanity of God.' Equally significant are the tremendous efforts he invested to redirect the course of history by trying to influence the state of affairs in his country, from the attitude of tsar Alexander III towards the murderers of his father, to the repressive policy regarding religious minorities.

Between these two understandings of history as a mere reservoir of illustration and as the place of the progressive meeting of man and God, a tension arises regarding Solov'ev's own relationship to history. The purpose of this study is to explore this tension and unravel his self-perception as a scholar, mystic, publicist, and activist. For this reason, the analysis is conducted on three levels: investigating the content of Solov'ev's views of history as well as the methods he used; examining how he inscribed himself in a tradition of thought (actually several traditions) and at the same time sought to supersede this; addressing his social commitment as the field in which his views on history come closest to his will to contribute to its transformation.

In my research, I adopt a new approach to Solov'ev's conception of history in general, and of Russian history in particular. This approach aims at a deeper understanding of Solov'ev's writings on history, firstly by respecting the complexity of his thought, instead of reducing it to a single undifferentiated line. In this context, I distinguish three registers of historical sources of inspiration or lines of thought on history, namely a theology of history, a philosophy of history, and a sophiology of history. Secondly, I link Solov'ev's views with different kinds of activity to which he was committed, taking into consideration the time in which he lived. Against a frequent neglect in scholarship of Vladimir Solov'ev's publicislika or commentary on current affairs [see definition below], this research aims at understanding his conception of history that not only takes into account, but also explores the relationship between his speculative essays and his publicistika. In my eyes, the alternative distinction into three sources of inspiration mentioned above provides the very instruments necessary for analysing this relationship.

The hypotheses that I advance are the following:

1. Vladimir Solov'ev sought to combine the traditional Christian model of history [theology of history] with the modern conception of universal process [philosophy of history] into a synthesis [sophiology of history], which, however, remained unachieved.

2. His conception of Divine Wisdom, Sophia, and her counterpart World Soul, is central to his view of history [sophiology of history]. It was also central to his social commitment in Russia, which, in his eyes, was bound to embed the eternal Sophia. But this conception remains mostly hidden in his texts.

3. His views on history function as source for his social commitment to intervene, and as criteria that allowed him to judge the events current in his time.

4. His views on history take shape within a dense network of dynamic relationships with texts and authors past and present. With these he engaged into a critical dialogue, aiming at a synthesis between various traditions.

5. The originality of his views on history lies in his attempt to synthesise them in his sophiology of history, in his model of free theocracy, as well as in the combination of various traditions of thought and political currents.

6. Vladimir Solov'ev's social commitment was incontestable and departed from a view of Russian society in terms of cohesion between the social groups. This notion of society was necessary for his conception of theocracy and his self-perception as the prophet of that society.

7. Despite his commitment, the transition that he made from speculation to concrete historical situation remained underdeveloped, which shows a relative detachment on his part from the hic et nunc.

These hypotheses provide a basis for making the following point: Vladimir Solov'ev's self-perception was that of a translator of the eternal truth, revealed in the Christian tradition, into the situation of the modern world. But from this rational expression, which he gave in his ideal of free theocracy, to its realisation, another translation was necessary, which he did not elaborate. Neither did he provide a concrete guidance for this realisation. Characteristic for his conception of history as a whole, therefore, is a remaining tension between eternal truth and historical emergency. This tension remains unsolved in so far as the eternity of the revealed truth excludes historical emergency.

2. Relevance of this study

The figure of Vladimir Solov'ev is a particularly inspiring figure in any study on Russian thought. The philosopher possessed an immense erudition and knowledge of the Western philosophical tradition, and had a multifaceted talent as committed publicist, literary critic and refined poet, making his thought a fascinating field of investigation. Among his fellowmen, he was certainly an original figure who could not be placed in a single camp, a position which defies any attempt by his fellow readers and today's researchers to range him and his time under a single label, whether 'liberal', 'Slavophile', 'progressive', or 'conservative'. In this way, his thought forcefully engages a questioning of the received scheme of polarised Russian public opinion at the eve of the 20th century. Between 1870 and 1900 -- a period often neglected by historians who rather focus on the Reform Era (1860s) and on the wake of the Revolution (1905-1917) -- Russia went through a deep and many-fold crisis, which was only exacerbated by the fact that the country was ruled by an autocratic regime. Vladimir Solov'ev lived precisely in that period. By his thought, work and acts, he held an intermediary position between the main forces in the game, and tried to reconcile tradition and change in an original way.

Solov'ev views on history represent a challenging field of investigation in at least six respects. Firstly, in Solov'ev scholarship, his views are often only partially or one-sidedly understood. Secondly, they intersect his metaphysics, ethics, theology, aesthetics, theory of knowledge, and political philosophy. Thirdly, as pointed out above, the fact that, contrary to his elaborate treatment of these fields, he did not problematise his approach to history intrigues the reader. Fourthly, the sketch-like state of his historical considerations demonstrates an often neglected side of Solov'ev as the hastened thinker. Fifth, his Christian dogmatism and universalism are actual nowadays, as well as the temptation for all-embracing views on history. Sixthly, his work is a brilliant example that speculative views on history are mostly political, and imply to some degree a link to social practice.

In this connection, the method that I have adopted aims to show the connection between historical views and a social-political context, as well as with a political commitment. More globally, by developing and explicating a theoretical model, I have aimed to counter the often inadequate theoretical foundation underlying Western analyses of Russian intellectual history. These run the risk of approaching (Russian) history through the prism of Russian-European liberalism, as the recent example of Orlando Figes shows. [1] Since a researcher permanently has to make choices and sometimes pass judgments, his or her normative perspective can never be eliminated. The risk of a projection of his or her own value system can nevertheless be reduced if the framework of interpretation that lies at the basis of the analysis is explicated. [2] I therefore devote special attention to defining what I mean by 'theology of history', and 'philosophy of history' [chap. I]. For this reason, it is also relevant to point out that my approach reflects the preoccupations of our times. The crisis of the discourse of progress and of the concept of nation, the emphasis on the limitations of rationalism, the resurgence of apocalyptic moods, as well as a renewed interest in mysticism and religion, have certainly contributed to mould my theoretical framework. My treatment of the case studies also echoes the vivid preoccupation, in early 21st century Western European press and scholarship, with issues related to a multicultural society, namely the cohabitation of people from several cultures and religions. This study on a late 19th century Russian philosopher therefore also indirectly addresses contemporary issues.

The use of the three-fold model of theology of history, philosophy of history, and sophiology of history developed below has several objectives. Most importantly, it provides an explanatory basis with respect to Solov'ev's work, permitting an understanding and classification of scattered elements and influences. From a perspective external to his work, it aims at understanding the criticism and often only partial reception of his views by his contemporaries and later scholars. My concern with theorising and typologising historical views corresponds to a personal preoccupation, and is inspired by the complexity and frequently neglected underlying suppositions. In this way, I wish to make a critical contribution to the present-day rewriting of the history of late imperial Russia. By approaching the central categories of Solov'ev's thought on history and Russia as constructs, I also wish to contribute to ongoing discussions in Russia on the status of historiosophy. Finally, this study is an example of how to extend Western theoretical discussions on history to other areas, in this case, Russia. I hope to show convincingly that this operation works in an inspiring way for Western scholarship.

:mrgreen: 3. State of the question

The significance, range and depth of Vladimir Solov'ev's views on history, the distinction of competing elements within them and his attempts at a synthesis, his social commitment, his interaction with Russian public opinion, as well as the role of Sophia: these points have mostly been addressed separately in Solov'ev scholarship. My intention is to bring these different lines together.

Historians of Russian philosophy and Solov'ev biographers have recurrently emphasised his sharp historical sense and acknowledged his views on history as a core dimension of his work. [3] A century-long tradition of Russian and Western scholarly work has been devoted to critical analysis of various aspects of Solov'ev's conception of history, ranging from Georg Sacke, Dimitri Stremooukhoff, Ludolf Muller, to Joachim Sternkopf, Axel Schwaiger, and Mikhail Maksimov, [4] Within this corpus of monographs, the classical work by Stremooukhoff still stands out for powerfully and comprehensively connecting Solov'ev's conception of history with his life and work as a whole.

The syncretic character of Solov'ev's work has also been widely acknowledged. [5] And with respect to his historical views in particular, scholars have highlighted, both admiringly and disapprovingly, the attempts by the Russian philosopher to create a synthesis of various traditions. [6] That these traditions are present in Solov'ev's work as identifiable lines is also sometimes pointed out, but mostly without further elaboration. [7] Only Muller has developed a model of Solov'ev's eschatology within the framework of the latter's religious experience, without, however, exploring the sources of influence, or connecting these lines with his historical experience or social commitment. [8] I will try to show that Solov'ev's views on history and his interventions in it are shaped by three registers, and explore in each of these precisely which influences he underwent, sought to integrate and to supersede.

On the whole, Vladimir Solov'ev's social commitment is a particularly underdeveloped field of research, and to my knowledge there is only one comprehensive study, namely that of Gregory Gaut. [9] Two valuable monographs deal with the related issue of Solov'ev's interaction with Russian public opinion, namely by Walter Moss and Andrzej Walicki. [10] On the whole, there are two poles of interpretation, one portraying Vladimir Solov'ev as an abstract and idealist thinker (Trubeckoj, Florovsky, Losev), the other -- which enjoys some success nowadays -- defending the image of Solov'ev as the devoted social activist (Rupp, Gaut, Morson, Wozniuk). [11] These authors can also be divided along the line of interpreting Vladimir Solov'ev as a 'Christiano-centrist' vs. Vladimir Solov'ev as a defender of pluralism. On the basis of the case studies, I will argue for an interpretation of Solov'ev's involvement in his time and society that combines these polarised views in a balanced manner.

A key aspect of my research is to show the centrality of Sophia in both Vladimir Solov'ev's views on history and his social commitment. While the classic authors (Mocul'skij, Zenkovsky) acknowledge the former, some scholars have pointed out the intimate link, and even at some point the identification by Vladimir Solov'ev of Russia as the force able to realise incarnate Sophia (Stremooukhoff, Losev, Boris Groys). [12] The present research explores his attempts to implement this ideal on the basis of a historical analysis of his concrete interventions.

4. Outline

In order to tackle the abovementioned questions, I have divided my research into two main parts, the first philosophical and theoretical, the second historical and empirical. In the first part (A), I develop a heuristic model (I) which allows me to distinguish three registers in Solov'ev's views of history, namely (II) a theology of history, (III) a philosophy of history, as well as (IV) a sophiology of history, the latter being his original contribution. I reconstruct each of these registers and disentangle the influences that the philosopher received and reworked.

In the second part (B), I investigate Solov'ev's reaction to the five main social and political issues of his time that mobilised Russian public opinion, These are: (I) the tsaricide of Alexander II, (II) the Old Believers issue, (III) the Jewish question, (IV) the Polish question, and (V) the famine of 1891-1892. In each case study, I confront Solov'ev's texts on these issues with the historical (political, social) context and with the positions held by his contemporaries. The primary purpose is to evaluate the originality of his views. By examining, at the same time, to what extent each of the abovementioned registers is used in Solov'ev's interventions, I test the relevance of my theoretical framework.

Before embarking on my analysis, a note on terminology is necessary to prevent misunderstanding regarding four central notions:

In order to render the restricted understanding of Russian society as its upper layer in late 19th century, I translate obscestvo as 'society' or 'educated society.' In Solov'ev's time, even though educated society was called upon to unite with the people [narod], it was 'for the time being limited to that small fraction of society as a whole where intellectual life develops, where public opinion is formed, which is capable of organising itself autonomously in the margin of political institutions.' [13] The notion also has a cultural connotation and refers to an entity distinct from the state.

In this connection, the adjective obscestvennyj means 'social' in the restricted sense indicated above. I also translate it as 'public' in the sense of emanating from educated society, not from the state. [14]

The term publicistika is difficult to translate and is therefore left in the original Russian. Within the social and ideological conditions of late imperial Russia, there was hardly any form of political commitment allowed, so that publicistika was practically the only channel through which one could voice one's political opinion on the country's affairs. In this respect, being active in publicistika, that is, being a publicist, meant more than today's journalism: it referred to social and political commentary on current affairs. [15]

Celovek is translated as man or as human being, in both cases meaning not only the male human being.

I have used the international transcription usually followed by European scholars, with the exception that the Russian character 'X' is transliterated as 'kh'. [16] The dates are given according to the Julian calendar, which was 12 days behind the Gregorian calendar.



1. Orlando Figes, Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia (London: Allen Lane. 2002).

2. See Manon de Courten. 'Gesehiedenis en methode: Vladimir Solov'ev door de ogen van Michel De Certeau', in: Maarten J.F.M. Hoenen (ed.). Metamorphose: Acten 20e Nederlands-Vlaamse Filosofiedag 24 oktober 1998. Faculteit der Wijsbegeerte Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen (Nijmegen: KUN, 1998). pp, 259-267.

3. On Solov'ev's 'unusual sense for history', see Basile Zenkovsky, Histoire de la philosophie russe, 2 vols. (1st publ. in Russian 1950; Paris: Gallimard, 1953), vol. 2, pp. 21-22. Losev points to philosophy of history (understood in the broad sense or views on universal history) as the privileged field where Solov'ev's philosophical views were united with his personal concerns: Aleksej Losev, Vladimir Solov'ev i ego vremja (1st publ. 1990; Moskva: Molodaja Gvardija, 2000), p. 509ff. See also Konstantin Mocul'skij, 'Vladimir Solov'ev: Zizn' i tvorenie' (1st publ. 1936), in Gogol', Solov'ev, Dostoevskij (Moskva: Izd. Respublika. 1995), pp. 63- 216: p. 128; Frederick C. Copleston, Russian Religious Philosophy: Selected Aspects (Notre Dame, Indiana: University or Notre Dame Press, 1988), p. 43 ff.; Wilhelm Goerdt, Russische Philosophie: Grundlagen (Freiburg & Munchen: Verlag Karl Alber, 1995). pp. 471-516: p. 482ff.

4. Central contributions are the following studies, The first monograph devoted to Solov'ev's conception of history was made by Georg Sacke, W.S. Solowjews Geschichtsphilosophie (PhD thesis Leipzig, 1929): Dimitri Stremooukhoff succeeded in unraveling Solov'ev's core intuition of a mission on the basis of material ranging from philosophical and theological essays to poetry and correspondence in Vladimir Soloviev et son oeuvre messianique (1st publ. 1935: Lausanne: L'Age d'Homme, 1974): Ludolf Muller proposed a periodisation of Solov'ev's work based on his views on history in Die eschatologische Geschichtsanschallung Vladimir Solovjevs (PhD thesis Marburg. 1947): in his monograph entitled Sergej und Vladimir Solov'ev: Eine Analyse ihrer geschichtstheoretischen und geschichtsphilosophischen Anschauungen (Munchen: Verlag Otto Sagner, 1973). Joachim Sternkopf has offered a thorough analysis of Solov'ev's views of history and their metaphysical foundations from a comparative perspective. The same perspective, extended beyond Russia, can be round in Axel Schwaiger, Christliche Geschichtsdeutung in der Moderne: Eine Untersuchung zum Geschichtsdenken von Juan Donoso Cortes. Ernst von Lasaulx und Vladimir Solov 'ev in der Zusammenschau christlicher Historiographieentwicklung. Series Philosophische Schriften, vol. 41 (Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2001): Mikhail Maksimov has convincingly demonstrated that Solov'ev's interpretation of the historical process is founded on his mystical rationalism in Istoriosofija V.S. Solov' eva v otecestvennoj i zarubeznoj filosofskoj mysli XX v. (PhD thesis Moskva: Pedagogiceskij gosudarstvennyj universitet. 1999).

5. While Sergej Bulgakov praised the 'accord complet', the harmony of different sounds which was the work of Solov'ev (Zenkovsky 1953 2, p, 32), Zenkovsky was more critical. While pointing to numerous sources of inspiration for Solov'ev (influence or his time, Christianity and rationalism, Slavophiles, etc,), he concluded that Solov'ev did not achieve an organic synthesis: he had combined modern pantheism and principles of Christianity with a metaphysical dualism (p, 72). For a recent analysis of Solov'ev's thought as a combination of 'Enlightenment' and 'traditionalism', see Boris Mezuev. Otecestvennye istoki filosofii V.S. Solov'eva (sociokul'turnyj kontekst 70-90-kh godov XIX v.) (PhD thesis Moskva: Moskovskij gosudarstvennyj universitet. 1997).

6. Urs von Balthasar showed the synthesis of Greek patristics (foremost Maximus Confessor) and German idealism in Herrlichkeit, eine theologische Asthetik, vol. 2: Facher der Stile (Einsiedeln: Johannes-Verlag, 1962). Pavel Miljukov critically stated that Solov'ev had mixed up heaven and earth, religion and progress (Paul Milioukov, Le mouvement intellectuel russe (written in Russian in 1893) (Paris: Ed. Bossard. 1918).

7. Setnickij discerned two logics at hand in Solov'ev's views on the Far East, namely an emphasis on historical continuity and progressive unification of humanity, on the one hand, and a catastrophist stance on the other (N.A. Setnickij, Russkije mysliteli o Kitae (V.S. Solov'ev i N.F. Fedorov) (Kharbin: n.p., 1926). Also David briefly distinguished between Solov'ev's philosophy of history, an essentially Comtian influence, and his theology of history, directly borrowed from Bohme (Zdenek Vaelav David, The Formation of the Religious and Social System of Vladimir S. Solovev (PhD thesis Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University, 1960), p. 52. n. 59).

8. Muller distinguished between the emphasis placed by the Russian philosopher (i) on the world process [Vervollkommnungseschatologie], (ii) on the subjective and theoretical choice for Christian faith and ethics [Entscheidungseschatologie], and (iii) on a differentiation between good and evil in history [Differenzierungseschatologie) (Muller 1947, pp. 82-87). On this basis he concluded that Solov'ev's views on history had undergone a gradual transition, from the first to the third scheme, while the second remains in the background.

9. Gregory Gaut, A Christian Westernizer: Vladimir Solovyov and Russian Conservative Nationalism (PhD thesis University of Minnesota, 1992).

10. Walter G. Moss. Vladimir Soloviev and the Russophiles (PhD thesis Georgetown University, 1968); Andrzej Walicki. The Slavophile Controversy: History or a Conservative Utopia in Nineteenth Century Russian thought (1st publ. 1964: Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. 1989). For articles or chapters or monographs dealing with one specific aspect, see the case studies.

11. E.N. Trubeckoj, Mirosozercanie V1. S. Solov'eva, 2 vols. (1st publ. 1913: Moskva: Medium, 1995): Georges Florovsky, 'Vladimir Soloviev and Dante: The Problem of Christian Empire', in: Ibid., Collected Works, vols. 1-11 (vol. 1-5: Belmont, Massachusetts: Nordland Publishing Company, 1972-1979: vol. 6-11: Vaduz: Buchervertriebsanstalt. 1987-1989), vol. II, pp. 102-113: Losev 2000; Mgr. Jean Rupp, Message ecclesial de Solowiew: Presage el illustration de Vatican II (Paris: Lethielleux & Bruxelles: Vie avec Dieu, 1974-1975); Gaut 1992; Vladimir Wozniuk. 'Introduction', in: Vladimir Wozniuk (ed. and trans.), Vladimir Soloviev: Politics, Law, and Morality (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2000). pp. xix-xxix; Gary Saul Morson, 'Foreword: Soloviev, the Russians, and Ourselves', in: Ibid., pp. vii-xvi.

12. Mocul'skij 1995, p. 63; Zenkovsky speaks or a 'sophiological determinism' or Solov'ev's conception of history (Zenkovsky 1953 2. p. 68); Stremooukhoff 1974, p. 117; Losev 2000, p. 227: Boris Groys, 'Weisheit als weibliches Weltprinzip: die Sophiologie von Wladimir Solowjow', in Die Erfindung Russlands (Munchen & Wien: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1995). pp. 37-49. See also the broader study by Oleg Rjabov, Matuska-Rus': Opyt gendernogo analiza poiskov nacional'noj identicnosti Rossii v otecestvennoj i zapadnoj istoriosofii (Moskva: Ladomir, 2001). p. 66ff.

13. Robert Philippot, Societe civile et Etat bureaucratique dans la Russie tsariste: Les zemstvos. Series Cultures et societes de l'Est. vol. 14 (Paris: Institut d'Etudes Slaves, 1991). p. 10.

14. Ibid.

15. Wozniuk 2000, p. xxvii.

16. For the spelling of the names of Russian emigre authors, I follow the transliteration adopted in their publications (ex.: Stremooukhoff, Florovsky, Mocul'skij).
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Re: History, Sophia and the Russian Nation: A Reassessment o

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II. Historical Context

1. Vladimir Solov'ev's Life and Work

Vladimir Solov'ev's biography can be best understood from the perspective of his sense of mission, which the following quotes suggest:

I do not belong to myself, but to the case which I shall serve.

Aware of the necessity of a transformation [of the existing order of things, MC], I oblige myself hereby to devote all my life all my forces so that this transformation be really achieved. But the most important question is: where are the means?

It is not longer about 'throwing the good seed', but about preparing and realising an historical act which is entirely determined and has an incalculable significance.

[...] the reunion of the churches, first between each other, then with the synagogue, and the coming of the Antichrist must be preceded by the publication of my public work. [2]

Great haste and tremendously prolific work in philosophy, theology, publicistika, literary criticism and poetry characterise his life that was devoted to fulfilling his mission. [3]

He was born in 1853 in the large, well-to-do and pious Solov'ev family. The home atmosphere was dominated by the figure of his father, the historian and rector of Moscow University, Sergej Solov'ev. Two brothers, Vsevolod and Mikhail, and one of his sisters, Poliksena, developed literary talents, as did Solov'ev. Young Vladimir grew up as a remarkable pupil and a highly pious child. At the age of nine, he had his first unhappy love affair, which inspired his first mystical vision of divine Sophia in a church.

In the 1860s, while at school, his convictions as a teenager reflected the tendency in his time to promote the natural sciences against the idealist philosophy of the former generation. At the age of 14 he had rejected faith and was a 'zealous materialist', and at 16 he joined the faculty of sciences at Moscow University. [4] There he developed an interest in natural sciences and an affinity with Darwin's theory of evolution. However, the influence of Spinoza, who was his 'first philosophical love', impressed him by the concept of God as causa sui et causa omnium. [5] Subsequently, Schopenhauer's emphasis on the vanity of science and philosophy led him to the desperate view of the world as being dominated by evil.

He came out of this existential crisis by again finding his Christian faith, which motivated him to quit the faculty of sciences and to independently prepare for the final exam of the faculty of history and philology, which also included philosophy, in one year. He found support for his religious views in two professors, Pamfil Jurkevic and Aleksandr Ivancov-Platonov, and decided to complete his training by following courses at Moscow religious academy in 1873-1874. He read the main Western philosophers in an amazingly short time. This is demonstrated by his candidate dissertation The Crisis of Western Philosophy: Against the Positivists (1874), which established him as a brilliant and provoking philosopher: 'Russia can be congratulated with a genial philosopher', a Slavophile historian claimed at Solov'ev's defence. [6] The young scholar stood out by his substantial criticism of the dominating philosophical trend of the moment, positivism, and his call to a revision of the Slavophile historical and religious worldview. Fiercely criticised by positivist and progressive scholars, he raised the interest of the Slavophiles, with whom he entered into close contact for about a decade. [7]

As an intellectual movement, Slavophilism was developed in the 19th-century Russia. In a sense there was not one but many slavophile movements, or many branches of the same movement. Some were to the left of the political spectrum, noting that progressive ideas such as democracy were intrinsic to the Russian experience, as proved by what they considered to be the rough democracy of medieval Novgorod. Some were to the right of the spectrum and pointed to the centuries old tradition of the autocratic Tsar as being the essence of the Russian nature. The Slavophiles were determined to protect what they believed were unique Russian traditions and culture. In doing so they rejected individualism. The role of the Orthodox Church was seen by them as more significant than the role of the state. Socialism was opposed by Slavophiles as an alien thought, and Russian mysticism was preferred over "Western rationalism". Rural life was praised by the movement, opposing industrialization as well as urban development, while protection of the "mir" was seen as an important measure to prevent growth of the working class.

The movement originated in Moscow in the 1830s. Drawing on the works of Greek patristics, the poet Aleksey Khomyakov (1804–60) and his devoutly Orthodox colleagues elaborated a traditionalistic doctrine that claimed Russia has its own distinct way, which doesn't have to imitate and mimic "Western" institutions. The Russian Slavophiles denounced modernization by Peter the Great and Catherine the Great, and some of them even adopted traditional pre-Petrine dress.

-- Slavophile, by Wikipedia

From then on Solov'ev led a nomadic life, living with his family in Moscow or with friends in St. Petersburg or in the countryside. He intermittently worked as university lecturer from 1874 to 1881. [8] However, his main concern was to develop a new philosophical system. He decided to take one year's leave to study 'Hindu, Gnostic and medieval philosophy' in the British museum. [9] In 1875-1876, he made a yearlong journey, first staying in London for six months, then quite unexpectedly leaving for Egypt, where he hoped to find a kabbalistic society, and finally resting in Italy and working briefly in libraries in Paris. It was during this journey that he wrote La Sophia. Upon the return from his journey of research, he worked at elaborating his system, and started to write jocose poetry and comedies. He first presented his system in The Philosophical Principles of Integral Knowledge (1877). This was part of his project of an overall system of 'integral life', in which he strove to redefine all human activities from the perspective of a conscious link between man and God, and designed a three-fold project of free theosophy, free theocracy, and free theurgy. He posited that the Slavs, and among them, the Russians, were most capable of realising the ideal of 'integral life'. In this respect, the following table is a key to his own understanding of his mission and to his views on history: [10]

-- / I. [Free theurgy] / II. [Free theosophy] / III. [Free theocracy]
-- / Sphere of creativity / Sphere of knowledge / Sphere of practical activity
-- / Subjective basis = feeling Objective principle = beauty / Subjective basis = thought Objective principle = truth / Subjective basis = will Objective principle = common good
1st stage: absolute / mysticism / theology / spiritual society (church) [priest]
2nd stage: formal / fine arts / abstract philosophy / political society (state) [king]
3rd stage: material / technical art / positive science / economic society (zemstvo) [prophet]

For a short while, Solov'ev sought to contribute more concretely to the Slav cause. When war was threatening in the Balkan, he made a short trip to Kishinyov and Bucharest, as a military correspondent for Katkov. After a brief stay, he decided to work 'by those means which were at his disposal', namely lectures. [11] He started a series of lectures that are central to his understanding of history, published between 1878 and 1881 under the name Lectures on the Humanity of God. Highly esteemed figures such as Fedor Dostoevskij and Lev Tolstoj attended these lectures, which fascinated some as much as they repulsed others. At about that time he actively frequented the salon of Aleksej Tolstoj's widow, countess Sofija Tolstaja, where people shared an interest in spiritism and mystic teachings. There he met Sofija Khitrovo, to whom he proposed marriage several times, in vain. He also wrote his doctoral thesis The Critique of Abstract Principles (1880). In 1880, he became lecturer [prival-docent] at St. Petersburg University, and taught at the Higher Women Courses. But these academic teaching activities stopped in 1881, after Solov'ev publicly expressed his disapprobation of the death penalty for the murderers of tsar Alexander II [see case study I].

A new period in his professional life began, which he devoted to works on issues related to the church. His Three Speeches in Memory of Dostoevskij (1881-1883) and The Spiritual Foundations of Life (1882-1884) deal with Christian ethics and the universal church. From 1883 onwards, he worked at two main projects, namely free theocracy and church reunion, which farm the core of three main publications of the 1880s that are significant for his understanding of history, namely The Great Controversy and Christian Politics (1883), the first volume of The History and Future of Theocracy (1887), and Russia and the Universal Church (1889). First, under free theocracy, he understood the realisation on earth of a Christian society based on the three pillars mentioned in the table (church, state, zemstvo), ruled by a priest, a king and a prophet respectively. Second, his growing sympathy for Catholicism prompted him to defend the reunification of the Orthodox and the Catholic churches. Facing censorship, he published the two latter books abroad, in Zagreb and Paris respectively. He had intensive contact with high-ranked Catholic religious figures who he tried to mobilise for his goal, such as Bishop Strossmayer and Canon Racki in Zagreb, and the Jesuit Father Pierling in Paris. His pro-Catholic stance and ecumenical commitment clashed with the worldview of the Slavophiles. The definitive break with Slavophilism and its nationalist epigones took place with the two collections of articles The National Question in Russia (1883-1888 and 1889-1891). Solov'ev was also highly productive in publicistika and developed a concrete social activism in the 1880s against the persecution of such religious minorities as the Old Believers, the Jews and the Polish Catholics [see case studies II, III, and IV]. This was also the time when the mutual affection with the Slavophile religious thinker Konstantin Leont'ev turned into a fierce polemic.

From the end of the 1880s onwards, he became close with the liberals and began to actively collaborate with them, as his participation on the editorial board of The European Herald shows. His scholarly activities also received a new boost. In Moscow, together with Nikolaj Grot, he founded the journal Questions of Philosophy and Psychology (1889), and was appointed editor of the philosophy section for the encyclopaedic dictionary Brokgauz-Efron. He remained the target of fierce criticism by neo-Slavophiles and nationalist conservatives. In 1891, his public lecture 'On the Downfall of the Medieval Worldview' created a stir among Orthodox conservatives, and he was forbidden from giving public lectures. [12] Solov'ev devoted the winter of 1891-1892 to writing on the severe famine that struck Russia [see case study V]. His personal life was again in tumult as a result of his love affair with Sofija Martynova, which inspired him to write a number of splendid poems and his long essay The Meaning of Love (1892-1894). Apart from a trip in 1893 to Sweden, Scotland, and France, this also was a period of contemplation and admiration of nature, nurtured by his frequent trips to Finland, and of his writings on Russian prose and poetry, he shared his love for poetry with the poet Afanasij Fet, with whom he regularly stayed and enjoyed an enduring friendship.

The 1890s also meant a return to philosophical works, the most comprehensive of which is the systematic work in ethics The Justification of the Good (1894-1897), and Theoretical Philosophy (not completed, 1897-1899). He paid homage to older philosophers with The Concept of God (in defence of the philosophy of Spinoza) (1897) and his biography of Plato The Life Drama of Plato (1898) as well as translations of Plato's works. He did not however abandon other genres, including publicistika, as is shown by his Sunday Letters and Easter Letters (1897-1898), and poetry, for example his poem 'Three Encounters' (1898) relating his mystical experience of Sophia. At this stage, his health deteriorated, and he stayed in Cannes, Geneva and Lausanne (1899) with the family of his beloved Sofija Khitrovo. His last public lecture was a remarkable text on the end of history which he read publicly in May 1900, 'A Short Story about the Antichrist'. It was part of an imaginary dialogue Three Conversations (1899-1900). Three months later, at the age of 47, Solov'ev died of exhaustion and illness at the house of his friend Sergej Trubeckoj outside Moscow.

Solov'ev's short career and restless life were characterised by tremendous production, an immense philosophical erudition, a vehement and at the same time patient zeal in his polemics -- not only with Slavophile friends, but also with such various personalities as Lev Tolstoj, Vasilij Rozanov, Boris Cicerin, Lev Lopatin --, a high sensitivity to poetry and nature, and a nomadic existence. The following account gives an idea of the complexity of the world he was living in and was trying to transform.

2. Politics and Society in Russia 1850-1900: a Survey [13]

The time in which Vladimir Solov'ev lived was a period of tremendous change. Under the rule of three tsars, Alexander II ( 1855-1 881), Alexander III (1881-1894), and Nicholas II (1894-1917), Russia underwent fundamental transformations that affected all domains of life: industrialisation, urbanisation, social differentiation, professionalisation, and a multiplication of voices within Russian public opinion, to name only a few major developments. [14]

Contrasting with these changes, two factors remained constant: the misery of the peasants, who formed about 80% of the population, and the political structure of autocracy. Since 1815, Russia was counted among the great European powers. In the cultural and intellectual arena, Russia was fully taking part in the European debate. But politically speaking, Russia was the only country, together with Turkey and Montenegro, not to have a parliament. The tsar reigned as the absolute autocrat over the whole empire, and in many areas his will had the force of law. He was the head of state, of the administration and of the army; in addition, he was in charge of all areas controlled by the state, namely industry, transport, local government, education, the church, public health, and welfare. [15] His preferences, prejudices, and source of advice in matter of politics and culture were therefore decisive in shaping Russian life.

Under the tsar's paternalistic authority, the Ministers (Interior, War, Navy, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Education, Justice, the Holy Synod, State Domains, and Trade and Transport) administered the country, made their own policies provided they had their leader's backing, and reported to the tsar individually about their activity. The Committee of Ministers was not a collective policy-making organ, and while none of the ministers had the power to implement comprehensive programmes of reorganisation, these superior clerks intruded into many aspects of the country's life. [16] In order to implement the power of the state, a whole bureaucratic apparatus was established hierarchically from the centre to the villages. The empire was divided into provinces (gubernii), which governors administered as they pleased. In the 1860s, organs of local self-government were instituted, the zemstva [plural of zemstvo], both at the provincial and district level, completed by municipality councils. Given the expansion and multiplication of tasks, state service opened to non-nobles in the 19th century, hereby contributing to a diversification of the social origin of bureaucracy dictated by the rigid Table of twelve ranks. [17] The population was most involved with the Ministry of the Interior, which controlled and supervised the police, press, local government, medical services, and peasant resettlement. [18] In this extremely centralised system, contact with high-ranked people working at the court or in the government was precious if one wanted to influence political decisions or to obtain favours.

The church occupied a peculiar position with respect to the government, as it was subordinate to the state, with the Holy Synod as a sort of ministry of religion, presided over by a layman. This might seem to point to a secularisation process. However, in the 19th century, a revival of Orthodox faith occurred, which was powerful among the clergy and often took reactionary forms. A prominent figure was the rigorist and authoritarian Konstantin Pobedonoscev, who from 1880 to 1905 was the High Procurator or Head of the Holy Synod. The church exerted considerable power in religious affairs as it had institutions that paralleled those of the state, namely its own organs of censorship, schools, and courts. The many attempts made by Pope Leo XIII for a rapprochement with the Russian Orthodox Church from 1880 onwards clashed with the strong anti-Catholic views that dominated in the Orthodox Church. [19] Besides Orthodoxy, the Russian empire was home to many representatives of other religions, including Catholics, Protestants, Uniates, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and numerous sects. The 1897 census counted a total population of 122 million inhabitants, of which almost three quarters were Slavs, with the remainder composed of various ethnic groups, the most important or which were 10% Turkic (Muslim) people, 4% Jews, and 2.5% Finns. These groups lived for the most part in sensitive border areas. [20] Without being victims of repressive policies, they were subject to an insensitive and sometimes heavy-handed policy of administrative integration. The Jews were an exception, and were more repressed and isolated than any other of the non-Russians. [21]

By the end of the 1880s, the Russian empire stretched from today's Eastern Poland to Vladivostok, and from the Arctic Ocean to the boundaries of Persia in the southwest, and Mongolia and China in the southeast. Following the Napoleonic wars, it had in the west annexed territories of Poland, Finland, Bessarabia and many areas of the Caucasus, in the east it had taken minor portions along the Amur, and in the south now counted important areas in Central Asia (Turkestan, 1864-1885). As to its foreign policy, Russia endured two humiliating defeats against Constantinople backed by Great Britain, first in the Crimean war (1853-1856), then in the Turkish war (1877-1878). For a country that since the victory over Napoleon had felt invincible, these were two blows that prompted the emergence of a nationalistic discourse. In 1873, Russia joined the Three Emperors' League (Prussia-Germany, Austria, Russia), which equated to a declaration of monarchic solidarity against subversive movements. This alliance lasted until Bismarck broke it in 1886. Facing isolation, Russia concluded an alliance with France in 1894 that became the cornerstone of its foreign policy. This also had positive repercussions on the economy, to the extent that many French investors and traders implanted themselves in or worked with Russia.

However, economic development from 1860 to 1885 remained low, since the government was not able to define a line of economic policy. [22] But in the 1890s, especially under the impulse of Sergej Witte, a great industrial leap occurred with metallurgical and machine works, iron and steel, mechanised textile industry, coal mining, oil, etc. Railway construction accelerated, especially the Trans-Siberian. Foreign financing also fostered industry, business, credit and commerce. Still, much of the artisan and handicrafts industry remained centralised activities, and low productivity was not an exception, even in large modern enterprises.

On the whole, the social composition diversified in the second half of the 19th century, accompanied by an intensified professionalisation. With industrialisation and urbanisation, a significant working class and lower middle class emerged. In addition, increasing numbers of professionals got involved in commerce, industry, finance, engineering, and science. However, some 80% of the population remained part of the peasantry, so that one cannot speak of an urbanised society. [23] Although the peasants had been emancipated from serfdom in the early 1860s, their economic condition mostly deteriorated in the 1870-1890s to the point that they repeatedly suffered from famine.

The cities of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Minsk, Samara, and Odessa enjoyed tremendous cultural development, however. The flowering of Russian literature and art knew two waves, in the reform era of the 1860s, and foremost from 1890 onwards in the so-called Silver Age. Intellectual life was marked by a significant growth of the press. Publications were controlled by two main organs of censorship, namely lay censorship and religious censorship. While the former tended to greater flexibility from the 1860s onwards, religious censorship maintained an iron hand on publications, especially under Alexander III. However, the boom of publications increased in such a way that it was impossible to exert total control over all of them. Thus despite censorship, there was vivid public debate and a gradually larger proportion of educated population was mobilised.

3. Speculative Conceptions of History in Russia 1850-1900 [24]

During the same period, intellectual contacts with Western Europe intensified, German and French philosophy in particular had an enduring effect on the development of Russian speculative views on history. The Russians received Schelling, Hegel, Marx and Comte eagerly and reformulated core issues of these thinkers within the Russian context. As a matter of fact, the political situation of Russia was decisive in shaping the debate on history. Precisely because Russia was a peculiar case with respect to Europe, the question of its identity was debated vividly, with interest focused on the discussions regarding national identity and character conducted in the West. Given the monolithic character of the government, it became the task of the philosopher and the intellectual in Russia to gain insight into the course of history, and to determine which place Russia had in it.

Petr Caadaev had sharpened the issue by provokingly stating that Russia's contribution to world history had so far amounted to almost nothing. [25] Yet he gave a positive twist to this negative conclusion: it was precisely because Russia was a blank page in history that it could answer the questions posed by the Western nations without being burdened by the past. Caadaev's questioning contributed to the polarisation of the debate into two main positions, known as the Slavophile and Westerniser camps.

The Slavophiles attempted to provide an interpretation of history in which Orthodoxy was central, and claimed that Russia should not follow Europe, but develop a path of its own in conformity with its own tradition, namely Orthodoxy, tsarism and the village commune [obscina]. [26] At the core of this tradition, there was an emphasis on the integration of the individual in a harmonious community. The founding fathers of Slavophilism, Ivan Kireevskij and the more prolific Aleksej Khomjakov, founded the ideal of social life on freedom and love, which they found in the Russian commune and in the Orthodox Church. [27] Fedor Dostoevskij fiercely defended the idea of a national mission of Orthodox Russia and expected a replacement of Catholicism by a reborn Eastern Christianity. [28] Solov'ev conducted years-long discussions with all three. Konstantin Aksakov, the elder brother of Ivan Aksakov with whom Solov'ev was closely connected, focused on a defence of Russian tsarism against the Western coercive model of government. [29] An original interpretation came from Konstantin Leont'ev, who provokingly professed rigorous Orthodoxy, unity and authority of the church on the model of Catholic papacy in order to counter the disastrous effects of modernity. [30] The Slavophile idea of Russia's development separate from the West found its mouthpiece in another, empirical approach, made by Nikolaj Danilevskij, who developed a view of history as the development or autonomous cultural-historical types. [31]

By contrast, the Westernisers emphasised the necessity for Russia to follow the path of the Western nations, by initiating reforms towards representative government and individual freedom. The three scholars who founded the historical state school, Sergej Solov'ev (Solov'ev's father), Konstantin Kavelin and Boris Cicerin laid the foundations for Russian liberalism. They emphasised the idea of the state as the driving force of Russian culture and as the warrant of individual freedom from a secular perspective. While the historian Sergej Solov'ev illustrated this in his monumental History of Russia, jurists Kavelin and Cicerin analysed the development of a legal system in Russia and the progress of the defence of individual property. [32] From this perspective, they saw the reforms implemented by Alexander II as the continuation of the work initiated by tsar Peter the Great, bringing Russia on the path of modernisation and closer to Europe.

Next to the Slavophiles and the Westernisers, a third main camp in Russian public opinion was that of Russian socialism and populism, based, like the Slavophiles', on the Russian commune, but completely stripped of its religious connotations and blended with revolutionary tendencies. Initiated by Aleksandr Gercen and Nikolaj Ogarev in exile, socialism found its first most influential mouthpiece in Russia in the work of Nikolaj Cernysevskij. [33] Cernysevskij developed the idea of a 'communal socialism' as the ideal of Russian society, which would be attained after the capitalistic stage, followed by a peasant revolution. The view that capitalism was a necessary stage for Russia was rejected by the populists, who became the predominant current in Russian public opinion of the 1870s. Two theoreticians, Petr Lavrov and Nikolaj Mikhajlovskij, developed a moral foundation of socialism and sought to guarantee a place for individualism in it. The idea of paying one's debt to the people plays a central role in Lavrov's views on history, which promoted the ideal of a Russian federation of communes and associations of craftsmen or cartels. [34] Impregnated with philosophical empiricism and Comtian positivism, Mikhajlovskij was concerned with freeing the moral consciousness from determinism in history. [35] In the 1890s, the success of populism became overshadowed by the rise of Russian Marxism. Its major proponent, Georgij Plekhanov, combined his inspiration from Marx's historical materialism with his commitment in the international labour movement. [36]

All these examples show the vivid interest of these intellectuals in speculative views on history that entailed practical solutions for their country. Despite their differences, Westernisers and Slavophiles, Russian socialists, populists and Marxists shared, except perhaps the late Gercen and Leont'ev who held a pessimistic view, defended the idea of a globally progressive development of history and the idea of stages in this process. Solov'ev's views on history emerged in this intellectual context. Even though he only seldom mentioned his sources of inspiration or targets, the discussions between Slavophiles and Westernisers, between liberals, populists and/or socialists were ever present as the background of his thought.



1. This account is based on Stremooukhoff 1974, on the biography written by Solov'ev's nephew: Sergej Solovyov, Vladimir Solovyov: His Life and Creative Evolution, Aleksey Gibson (transl.). 2 vols. (Fairfax, Virginia: Eastern Christian Publications Inc., 2000) [abbreviated S. Solovyov 2000], and on Evert van der Zweerde. 'Vladimir Solovjov -- een levend denkwerk', Tijdschrift voor Filosofie 65 (2003), pp. 715-735. For the sake of a fluent reading, I provide the title of Solov'ev's works in English translation in this survey. The Russian titles are given in the chapters in which I deal with these works.

2. The letters are quoted from two sources: Pis'ma Vladimira Sergeevica Solov 'eva, 4 vols. (Bruxelles: Zizn's Bogom, 1970), 3, pp. 81, pp. 88-89 (1873) [italics Solov'ev's]. The second source is La Sophia et les autres ecrits francais. Francois Rouleau (ed.) (Lausanne: La Cite-L'Age d'Homme, 1978) [abbreviated E. 1978], p. 335 (probably 1894), p. 342 (1898).

3. Solov'ev's published work can be found in two comprehensive editions as well as isolated volumes: Sobranie socinenij Vladimira Sergeevica Solov'eva, Sergej Solov'ev and Ernst Radlov (eds,), 14 vols, (Bruxelles: Zizn' s Bogom, 1966- 970), vols. 1-10 (1966): facsimile reprint of 2d ed.: (Sankt-Peterburg, 1911-1914): vols. 11-12 (1969): additional material not in 2d ed. [abbreviated SS,]: vols. 13- 14 (1970): facsimile reprint of the 4 vols. of letters plus additional material: Vladimir Sergeevic Solov'ev, Socinenija v dvukh tomakh. Aleksej Losev and Arsenij Gulyga (eds.), 2 vols. (Moskva: Mysl'. 1988) [abbreviated S. 1988]: V.S. Solov'cv. Socinenija v dvukh tomakh. Nikolaj Kotrelev and Evgenij Raskovskij (eds.), 2 vols. (Moskva: Pravda, 1989) [abbreviated S. 1989]: V.S. Solov' ev. Filosofija iskusstva i literaturnaja kritika, R. Gal'ceva and I. Rodnjanskaja (eds.) (Moskva: Iskusstvo, 1991) [abbreviated S. 1991]: V.S. Solov'ev, Polnoe sobranie socinenij i pisem v dvadcati tomakh. Sovinenija v pjatnadcati tomakh. Nikolaj Kotrelev, Aleksandr Nosov (eds.), vol. 1-3 (Moskva: Nauka, 2000-2001) [abbreviated PSS.] I shall use the most recent publication of Solov'ev's texts (mostly PSS., S 1988, S. 1989), except for his entries for the Brokgauz-Efron encyclopedia: for these I base myself on SS. 10 and 12. which reproduce the whole text, contrary to a recent edition which has notably left aside bibliographical information provided by Solov'ev (G.V. Beljaev (ed,), Filosofskij slovar Vladimira Solov'eva (Rostovna-Donu: Feniks, 1997)). I refer to the Russian original text. For translations or quotations I refer first to the original, then to the available English translation.

4. Pis'ma p. 158.

5. Quoted in Stremooukhoff 1974, p. 22.

6. These words came from historian Konstantin Bestuzev-Rjumin (quoted in S.M. Luk'janov, O Vl. Solov'eve v ego molodye gody, 3 vols. (1st publ. in 1916-1921: with additions of one part: Moskva: Kniga 1990). vol. 2. p. 46).

7. He notably frequented Ivan Aksakov, Nikolaj Strakhov, Jurij Samarin, Mikhail Katkov, Nikolaj Ljubimov, Aleksandr Kireev.

8. He tried to be appointed professor at Moscow University, but the positivist M. Trojickij (1835-1899) got the position, whereas Solov'ev was given the position of lecturer (docent) (van der Zweerde 2003, p. 718).

9. Stremooukhoff 1974, p. 39.

10. Table drawn from Filosofskie nacala cel'nogo znanija, PSS. 3. p. 196. The three categories added in square brackets (priest, king, prophet) came later in Solov'ev's scheme of free theocracy.

11. S. Solovyov 2000. pp. 187-188.

12. Ibid., p.374.

13. Based on Hans Rogger, Russia in the Age of Modernisation and Revolution 1881-1917 (London & New York: Longman, 1995).

14. For an interpretation of the development of Russia during that period from the Luhmannian perspective, see Pauline Schrooyen, 'Modernisation in Late Imperial Russia: Some Critical Reflections on and Suggestions for the Study of Russian Society'. in: Wout Cornelissen, Gerrit Steunebrink and Evert van der Zweerde (eds.), Nation, Religion, Civil Society: Modernization in Context, Series Studies in Intercultural Philosophy, vol. 12 (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004) (forthcoming).

15. Rogger 1995. p.15.

16. Ibid., p. 41.

17. The Table of twelve ranks [Tabel' o rangakh] was introduced in 1722 by Peter the Great to fix a strict ranking to functions in the army, marine and civil service. It remained valid, though with modifications, until 1917 (Entry 'Rangetabelle', in: Norbert P. Franz (ed.), Lexikon der russischen Kultur (Darmstadt: Wisscnschaftlichc Buchgesellschaft, 2002), p. 365).

18. Rogger 1995, p. 29.

19. Germain Ivanoff-Trinadtzaty, L'Eglise russe face a l'Occident (Paris: O.E.I.I., 1991), p. 173ff.

20. Rogger 1995, pp. 182-183.

21. Ibid., p. 183

22. Ibid., p. 101.

23. In the 1890s, some 80% of Russians were dependent on agriculture (vs. 10% in Britain, and 39%, in Germany) (Ibid., p. 127).

24. This account is based on Zenkovsky 1953 I: Th. G. Masaryk, Zur russischen Geschichts-und Religionsphilosophie: Soziologische Skizzen, 2 vols. (1st publ. 1913: Dusseldorf & Koln: Eugen Dideriehs Verlag, 1965): 1I., I. Novikova, I.N. Sizemskaja, Russkaja filosofija istorii (Moskva: Magistr, 1997). The purpose of this subsection is limited to providing a general survey of the main tendencies present in Russian public opinion in Solov'ev's time. For the sake of orientation I mention one significant work by each author.

25. Petr Caadaev ( 1794-1856), Istoriceskie pis'ma (1st published in 1836).

26. In this respect, the Slavophiles' reflection differed from that of most professional theologians, who were reluctant to address Orthodoxy with new elements taken from Western Enlightenment.

27. Ivan Kireevskij (1806-1856) wrote notably O kharaktere evropejskogo prosvescenija v ego otnosenii k prosvesceniju Rosii (1852). Zapiski o vsemirnoj istorii (unachieved) of Aleksej Khomjakov (1804-1860) counts among his most famous writings.

28. Fedor Dostoevskij (1821-1991). Dnevnik pisatelja (1873, 1876, 1877).

29. Konstantin Aksakov (1817-1866), 'O vnutrennem sostojanii Rossii' (1855).

30. Konstantin Leont'ev (1831-1891), Vostok, Rossija i Slavjanstvo (1885-1886).

31. The comprehensive work of Nikolai Danilevskij (1822-1885) entitled Rossija i Europa (1868) was and remains a classic.

32. Sergei Solov'ev (1820-1879), Istorija Rossii s drevnejsikh vremen (1851-1876); Konstantin Kavelin (1818-1885). Vzgljad na juridiceskij byt drevnej Rossii (1847); Boris Cicerin (1828-1904). Opyt po istorii russkogo prava (1858).

33. Aleksandr Gercen (1812-1870), Byloe i dumy, Nikolaj Ogarev (1813-1877), Russkie voprosy: krest'janskaja obscina (year); Nikolaj Cernysevskij (1828-1889). His novel Cto delat'? Rasskaz o novykh ljudjakh (1863) was a classic for generations or socialists.

34. Petr Lavrov (1823-1900), Istoriceskie pis'ma (1868-1869).

35. Nikolaj Mikhajlovskij (1842-1904). Bor 'ba za indicidual'nost' (1875-1876).

36. Georgij Plekhanov (1856-1918). K voprosu o razvitii monisticeskogo vzgljada na istoriju (1895)
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Re: History, Sophia and the Russian Nation: A Reassessment o

Postby admin » Wed May 09, 2018 11:35 pm

Part 1 of 2

Part One: Theoretical Framework

I. Theology of History and Philosophy of History: Two Heuristic Models

1. Introduction

a) State of the question

The understanding of history in Western thought has been the object of steady interest and numerous studies over the past decades. These can be ranged under the category 'theory of history', understood in the broad sense of 'a reflection upon, and the interpretation of, historical consciousness and its various manifestations.' [1] Within theory of history, a distinction is commonly made between 'critical philosophy of history' and 'speculative philosophy of history.' The former is defined as 'philosophy of history in the sense of an analysis of the concepts and assumptions of historical knowledge and inquiry', and has largely dominated English speaking scholarship since the 1960s. The latter type is defined as 'an inquiry not into the arguments and procedures of historians, but into the nature of the historical process itself. [2] The present study deals with the second category.

Scholarly research on speculative philosophy of history can be divided into three main groups. First, theoreticians of history and historians of ideas have shown a revived interest in the topic of history in many thinkers, including philosophers. [3] Secondly, theologians, especially in the German-speaking world, have analysed conceptions of history with a focus on the problematic relationship of history with eschatology, and with revealed truth as conceived by the Christian tradition, as well as on the relationship between theology and other fields of humanities. [4] Thirdly, mainly English speaking scholars have conducted epistemological analyses that greatly contribute to critical philosophy of history. [5] From this angle, the common ground shared by speculative and critical philosophy of history is explored. This common ground involves the procedures and categories relevant for knowledge about history, as well as self-reflection by the philosopher or the historian about his own time and about the historical condition. [6]

From this body of literature, it appears that the terms 'philosophy of history' and 'theology of history' are widely used, but rarely defined. I understand them as registers, by which I mean different sets of ideas that are thematically closely connected and form a specific perspective, yet without being presented as homogenous wholes in the text. Rather, the term 'register', which is borrowed from musicology, suggests that these elements are distinguishable in various places and in a diffuse way throughout the text. [7] Many theories exist, but there is no consensus about the period in which philosophy of history and theology of history were formulated. According to some, philosophy of history ranged from the first centuries AD to our time (from Augustine to Fukuyama), while others restrict it to the period from the 18th to the 20th century (from Vico to Toynbee), or even more limitedly, to the period from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century (from Herder to Hegel). [8] The same question applies to theology of history. Did this register disappear after Bossuet, or is it still an object of elaboration up to the 20th century? [9] The answer to these questions depends on the different criteria employed to define both registers. Equally decisive are the relationships that one can trace between them. Is philosophy of history merely a secularised version of the Christian theology of history, as Karl Lowith has contended? [10] Or are the relationships between theology of history and philosophy of history more complex than a break within a continuum? [11] The attempt made below at a definition of the two registers will lead to a positioning with respect to Lowith.

b) Preliminary characterisation

'Theology of history' [TH] and 'philosophy of history' [PH] are used in this study as heuristic categories for two major reasons, First, TH and PH do not exist as discrete entities in either the Western or the Russian intellectual traditions. Speculative views on history in Western and Russian thought are infinitely more complex than these registers, Secondly, one can find them combined within one and the same author or even text. These orientations can therefore not be represented by authors, but only by aspects of thought of a particular author. More generally, due to the range of vision that speculative conceptions of history demand, they often contain and combine several types of argumentation and patterns, [12] This also applies to the combination of TH and PH. [13] Moreover, an author may use theological elements in his view on history -- yet that is not enough to make the latter a TH.

In order to illustrate the basic principles at work in these registers, I have chosen two guiding models. TH is modelled mainly on the scheme offered by Augustine, whereas PH is based on the central contribution made by Hegel. It is commonly assumed that these authors have made crucial contributions to precisely what I wish to call theology of history and philosophy of history respectively. Both authors had the ability to systematically formulate key points that were current in their own time, and hereby to exert a decisive influence on the history of thought. So, without reducing Augustine's or Hegel's positions to these broad lines, one finds in their work a basis for a definition of the two registers.

Two preliminary characterisations of TH and PH with respect to their general structure and scope are illuminating. Firstly, like all speculative narratives of history, both suppose a two-level scheme. This scheme consists of an inferior level, namely the historical world in which humans live, and an upper level, which provides the ultimate reference, framework and norm with respect to which history and human deeds are measured. The relationships between these two levels differ in the theological and the philosophical register of history. Secondly, TH and PH are 'chronosophies', in the way Krzysztof Pomian defined this term. [14] Chronosophies aim at an exhaustive knowledge of history. In this respect, their object is history understood as the past, present, and future. [15] It is also in this sense that I use the term 'history' in this study. In order to achieve their goal, chronosophies organise 'the relationships between past, present and future', and especially 'between the distant past and the distant future' through 'questioning the future' in its 'broad outline.' [16] It also involves ascribing to history a scheme, either linear or cyclic, and characterising a globally ascending or descending direction. [17] Apart from the conception of time emphasised by Pomian, there are other organising principles that permit an understanding of history: the reference framework, the underlying periodisation, the criteria and the method, and finally the actors. These operations can be considered as constitutive of the organising level, and are analysed below separately for each register.

2. Theology of History

The construction of history sketched by Augustine of Hippo is a relevant model for understanding the framework of thought of TH, if only for the historical reason that this model factually dominated the whole Catholic conception of history down to the late Middle Ages. [18] His major work The City of God can be considered the elaboration par excellence, though in a rudimentary way, of a Christian theology of history. [19]

In this respect, I assume the relevance of Augustine for Orthodox thought as well.
Even though, for the Orthodox tradition, Augustine was only a 'beatified church teacher', not a 'holy church father', and even though the Orthodox Church has been reluctant to acknowledge him fully, which is mainly related to developments well after his death, Augustine is considered a founding father of Christianity as a whole. [20] He developed his thought around 400 AD, nearly 700 years before the definitive schism between the Western and the Eastern Church (1054), and thus his work goes beyond the later divergence between them. Besides, the difference between the Catholic and an Orthodox theology of history is often most difficult to discern since research on this topic is completely underdeveloped. [21] Nevertheless, whenever I deal with issues regarding which there are fundamental differences between the Catholic and the Orthodox tradition, I aim to point these out with the greatest accuracy possible.

a) Definition

A theology of history can be defined as a universal, all-encompassing history of a speculative character, dominated by the question 'Why did God create history?
' I focus on the question as formulated in the Christian tradition, in which the god in question is the Christian god, and is written with a capital [God]. Emphasis is placed on God, on his transcendence, on his being the main and ultimate actor of history, and on his relationships with the collective of Christians as the channel through which his plan, Providence, is realised. [22] However, it is the absolute transcendence of God and the subsequent ontological distance between him and the world which, most of all, form the characteristic feature of TH and distinguish it from PH.

b) Framework

History as a whole is structured as a linear and finite course in the interval between two divine acts, that of Creation and that of Redemption and the Last Judgment. The result of divine decree signifying the end of history, the Last Judgment following Redemption, leads to paradise for some, to hell for the others. The theological model of history elaborated by Augustine is determined by the ontological distinction between, on the one hand, the immanent level of the temporary, mutable, and incomplete human world, and, on the other, the transcendent level of God, who rests in eternity, immutability and plenitude. [23] This dichotomy is articulated in Augustine's metaphor of the two Realms or Cities [civitates], the Earthly City and the Heavenly City. Only the Earthly City is subject to change, which is seen as a negative characteristic, as instability, fragility and imperfection. This is opposed to the perfection of the Heavenly City or City of God. [24] The secular world as such and profane history do not have an immediate meaning, whereas the religious world of the Christian church occupies the foreground. More fundamentally, the emphasis does not lie on history as such but on the transcendent and thus extra-historical foundations of history, namely on its cause and goal in eternity. [25]

c) Periodisation and conception of time

i) Periodisation

The distinction between the divine realm and the human realm does not mean that there is no connection between God and his creation. On the contrary -- and this is the etymological meaning of 're-ligion', i.e. 'putting together again' -- , the relationship between God and the world is central to TH. At the present time, the divine and the human levels do not coincide. They did, albeit in quite different ways, in the beginning before the Fall, then in the person of Jesus Christ, and they will merge anew when history ends, that is, at the coming of the Kingdom of God. Between these two points in time, man has the choice of working at his salvation or of rejecting it.

Augustine made a distinction between six main periods, using the image of the six days of creation. He drew an analogy between history and the life of an individual from infancy to old age. This allowed the conception of the sixth period as that of an old man, out of which a new man would be born. The sixth period began with Jesus Christ and would last until his Second Coming at the end of time, after which the seventh period would come, freeing man from the condition of the flesh and giving him access to eternity. [26] Significantly, emphasis lies on the goal which transcends history, namely the promised return of the Messiah.

In the Christian tradition as a whole, salvation is not found in the domain in which the believer lives, but in one that is qualitatively different. In fact, the eschatological expectations are expectations of a happening coming from an entity other than man, namely from God, and God alone. History will be resolved through an intervention from outside history.
This crucial point distinguishes TH from the teaching of Joachim of Fiore, according to whom the City of God can be realised in the third and last stage of history, on earth, by man. [27] In contrast, Augustine poses the central statement that the City of God cannot be realised within history, but that it is only an image, an ideal. [28] Of course, this ideal must be aimed for, and it is the task of the individual and of the community to organise these efforts towards the quantitative goal of gathering all believers, and towards the qualitative goal of a growing fulfilment of the Second Coming of Christ. In this sense, TH contains a concept of progress, but the difference with the modern understanding of it is that in TH progress is a trans-historical principle. [29] Indeed, the ultimate end is decided and accomplished by the transcendent divine instance.

ii) Conception of time

The distinction between two realms is supported by the attribution of different characteristics to time. God is not affected by time -- nor can he be, as he himself would then be affected by his own creation -- and rests in eternity. By opposition, human history is subject to change. [30] The aforementioned periodisation has implications for the perception of past, present, and future. [31] The perception of the past is dominated by the figure of Christ, whose life and death is commemorated in the liturgy. In this sense TH is Christocentric.

The present is a decisive moment of choice in favour of God in the act of faith professed by Christians during the liturgy and prayer
. The Orthodox liturgy in particular emphasises the 'practical and experiential' aspect of the spiritual experience during the liturgy. [32] A 'mystical representation of Christ' occurs during prayer and in the contemplation of the icon, which offers a 'visual theology.' [33] In those moments, the Second Coming of Christ is anticipated liturgically as well as in the spiritual experience of man, which is situated in the 'now' perceived in its immediacy. [34]

It is the dimension of the future that is of central concern however, since salvation is at stake. This view of the future is eschatological in the sense that it refers to a set of views that has been revealed by God about the last events of history [from the Greek eskhaton]. A properly apocalyptic eschatology is more specific and refers to the belief that these last events are to some extent imminent. [35] Apocalyptic eschatology, of which Augustine is a prominent example, contains a mainly catastrophic, deterministic, and dualistic view of history. [36] It is catastrophic in the sense that it refers to radical events that are violent, cruel and punishing. It is deterministic because the future is already established. Finally, it is dualistic because the absolute god and absolute evil are depicted in the sense that there is no grey or neutral zone, no ambiguity. [37] Apocalyptic eschatology is perhaps more current in Orthodox Russia than in Catholic Western Europe. [38] This perception of the imminent coming of the end of history and the subsequent search for signs in this time is not necessarily more pessimistic than others, however, to the extent that each new experience, seen as a new catastrophe, brings the world closer to Jesus' Second Coming. [39]

d) Criteria and method

i) Criteria

History as a whole is viewed as a battle between two forces, good and evil. These function as the dichotomous criteria of interpretation of history in TH. Their definition draws from the corpus of values promoted in the New Testament, which identifies good with love, solidarity, justice, humility and peace, and evil with hate, selfishness, injustice, vanity and cupidity, violence and war. From this perspective, TH presents history with a Janus' head, one face smiling and turned towards the good and life, the other towards evil, destruction, and death. [40] Correspondingly, in this register history consists not only of the history of salvation, but also of the history of God's judgement of human deeds. These are interpreted along a line leading from original sin to reward or punishment.

ii) Method

The objective of TH is to know history as God wanted it. This involves a rational knowledge, attained primarily by religious history and church history, of the whole temporal trajectory of human beings.
Elements of this trajectory are revealed in the Old and the New Testaments, which form the primary sources for the speculation of the theologian of history. He also investigates the history of the church, which in the Catholic and Orthodox tradition is the primary channel between God and human beings. Religious history and church history are the fields in which theological beliefs sustain the identification of historical facts, and, facts are expected to be the proof of theories. [41]

However, it is impossible for man to fully unravel God's plan of history. Since the moment when Adam was punished for this desire to taste the apple of knowledge, man can no longer know or understand everything. The limitation of knowledge is thus inherent to the human condition. This weakness can be partly compensated by allowing faith to relay reason.
The problem for TH is then to determine and justify when the one has to be relayed by the other, as well as to distinguish between the object of revelation and that which can be discovered rationally. [42] Still, the ultimate meaning of history is given by an act of faith in the existence of God and in Providence. This leads to an examination of how agency is distributed among the actors that intervene in the plan that God has conceived for humanity.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

-- Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carrol

e) Actors

i) God

TH poses God as the main actor of history, who determines it and contains the true meaning of history. [43] The key component is 'the belief that God is able to accomplish what God wills to accomplish in earthly affairs, either indirectly through the contingencies of nature and human purposes or, when necessary, by exercising a direct causality.' [44] God's means of direct intervention can be summed up as follows: 'God exerts causality in world affairs by means of specific and decisive interventions, including not only global historical events but also specific theophanies, miracles, acts of inspiration and punishment and rewards of individuals.' [45] The reigning conviction is that man cannot substantially modify the world -- that this can only be achieved by God by his intervention through Providence. This justifies the distinction made at this point between actor and agent of history. Roughly speaking, man and his world are only agents of history, whilst the decisive influence upon it remains in the power of God alone, the only actor of history. This power is embodied in or represented by the church and by select individuals.

ii) The church

The church is the Body of Christ, the Christian community as a whole, which is defined by religious criteria. Since one of the commandments given by Jesus Christ was to enlarge this entity and convert pagan peoples, the contours of this community are not fixed, but should be increasingly expanded. [46]

More specifically, the church refers to the clerical institution. [47] There are two central aspects. Firstly, the church has a privileged relationship towards revelation. Christianity did indeed apply 'the notion of revelation to cover not only doctrines and rituals, its laws and its ethics, but also the institutional expression of these ideas in the Church.' [48] Between the divine and the human realms, the church is the main channel through which revelation is given, interpreted, and its content realised. Secondly, the church borrows its authority from the principle of the 'divine origin of authority.' Priests are 'the vicars of God on earth' and their authority as 'guardians and dispensers of spiritual values' is superior to that of temporal sovereigns. [49] Generally speaking, the church is the agent of God par excellence, and by functioning as the intermediary between God and the world, it defines, organises, and controls the activities of the Christian community down to Redemption. In this respect, major events in church history gain central significance, especially the councils, in which the church theoretically specified the message of Jesus Christ in the form of dogma. [50]

iii) Religious leaders

Individual agents in history are elected by God himself. TH favours people acting within the church, such as bishops or popes, and those acknowledged as having shown a high degree of Christian perfection during their own life, such as saints. The Russian Orthodox Church is more enthusiastic than the Catholic Church in welcoming contemporary figures. The Orthodox tradition holds that some 'spiritual fathers' [starcy] and 'fools in Christ' [jurodivye] are invested with this power to the extent that they carry a prophetic element by virtue of their vision of destiny, not only of the individual, but also of the nation as a whole. A famous example is the case of Saint Seraphim of Sarov. [51]

Next to members of the spiritual community, the king, as political head of the country, also possesses a privileged status, confirmed by the church, as monarch of divine right. Constantine the Great (270/80- 337) was the first king to proclaim the Roman empire a Christian monarchy of divine right. This tradition was adopted in Western Europe from the coronation of Charles the Great by the Roman Church, which sealed the legitimacy of the Christian Roman Empire. In Russia, this tradition prevailed until the abolition of tsarist monarchy in 1917. [52] Summarising, the theological register of history emphasises the ontological distinction between God in his absolute transcendence and the historical human being. As a result, man can only partly understand God's ways in history with his reason; otherwise he has to rely on faith. As God decided the beginning, he will decide the end of history, while the church and religious leaders are the main agents through which the meta- historical content of the Christian message is realised. The latter also contains a strict dualism between good and evil, which allows a consistent valuation of historical deeds.

3. Philosophy of history

There is common agreement on the statement that philosophy of history appeared in various forms during the second half of the eighteenth century. [53] These served as basis for the development of what Hegel conceptualised as philosophy of history. Although Hegel did try to preserve the characteristic feature of TH, namely God's transcendence and agency, his contribution was decisive in providing history with an immanent meaning. In Russia his views on history were enthusiastically welcomed, and he enjoyed there a much more enduring influence than in Western Europe, which makes him a highly relevant author to address with respect to philosophy of history in Russia. Globally speaking, this register was bound to dominate the entire 19th century and is still present in speculative views on history. [54]

It was the year when they finally immanentized the Eschaton.

-- The Illuminatus! Trilogy, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson

a) Definition

A philosophy of history can be defined as a universal, all-encompassing history of speculative character, as part of an all-encompassing philosophical system, dominated by the question 'What is the ratio of world history?' History is considered an immanent and rational process achieved by immanent forces, namely humanity, nations and individuals. In contrast with TH, where the primacy is ascribed to God, in PH it is ascribed to this world.

b) Framework

In two main respects, the framework underlying philosophy of history can be sketched in opposition to TH. 1) The fundamental premise of PH is not a radical separation between the level of God and that of the world as in TH, but an independent value of the immanent world. 2) The main focus lies on the immanent level. This does not mean that the transcendent level has completely disappeared from the picture, but that it is to a varying extent assimilated in the immanent level. Consequently, history forms a unity covering the whole destiny of man and the world, that is, in the substantial continuity of a process made by man alone and occurring in the world alone.

c) Periodisation and conception of time

i) Periodisation

This framework has significant implications for the periodisation offered in PH. Hegel identifies the true beginning of history with the appearance of a developed form of organisation of people, that is, the emergence of the state. People incarnating universal principles succeeded each other, forming four main realms, the Eastern, Greek, Roman, and German realms. [55] Characteristically, this line runs from East to West and reaches a pinnacle in Western Europe. Fundamentally based on faith in the ability of man to shape history, the idea predominates that the goal of this process is attainable through human deed. Henceforth, why should this ability be limited in scope and in time? The boundaries of history are not clearly defined, even though the last period of history, within which the ideal is bound to be realised, is imminent.

ii) Conception of time

Time is perceived as a rectilinear, cumulative, irreversible, mostly ascending pattern.
[56] Attention is focused on the recent period -- a couple of centuries or decades -- and the present time is systematically thematised as a culminant moment in the whole historical process. The relationship between the remote past and the present consists of one fundamental break or a series of breaks, on the basis of which the present is invested with the quality of introducing novelty. This novelty is understood as an improvement with respect to the former period. [57] This break also allows the future to be seen as a dimension of opening, as the dimension in which the positive changes now already present will be realised. The absence of treatment of the future in Hegel is a notable, but not accidental, exception in the history of philosophy of history. But, generally speaking, projection of the future takes place in conjunction with a retrospective of the past and with a characterisation of the present. It is the difficulty of PH to try and combine the conception of continuity of history as a whole, with that of a break that allows the present to be considered as novelty. [58]

d) Criteria and method

i) Criteria

PH's chief criterion is progress as an immanent and purely historical force and in its many forms. [59] It was Hegel's merit that he articulated several meanings of progress, namely: progress as determining the historical course, as characterising history itself, as determining knowledge, and as a category of action. [60] In other terms, progress in PH is opposed to the conception of progress found in TH in three main respects. Firstly, in PH progress concerns the course of history, which is immanent, whereas in TH progress characterises a working towards a meta-historical goal, i.e. being part of God's eternity, or in other words, striving to supersede history. Secondly, in PH progress is unlimited in scope, whereas in TH progress does not determine the outcome of history. [61] Thirdly, it does not apply exclusively to the religious domain, but also, and often even exclusively, to the social and political domain, namely in those cases where religion itself is superseded (Marx, Comte). Progress and perfectibility apply to the secular world as a whole.

ii) Method

The meaning of history is found immanently, within history. This statement dictates the method allowing the construction of the register of PH, namely rational investigation, more precisely speculative reflection and empirical observation. Through speculation, the philosopher obtains a definition of what forms the essence of the historical progress. In its turn, this definition allows him to make a selection from all the empirical facts that he wants to take into account. In comparison with TH, these are extended. [62] Further, a rational investigation of history leans upon specific arguments of causality, expressed in historical laws, the most common of which is the law of development. This approach to history can be partly explained by the attempt made from the 18th century onwards to apply procedures of natural science to history. These 'laws of history' are the result of a combination of speculation and empirical observation.

PH has the ambition to bring the meaning of history into the level of immanence, that is, to restrict it to the human level, and, within this level, to extend the meaning of history to human activities within society as a whole. This implies a change of method in PH with respect to TH, notably attention to empirical observation. However, the transcendent level of history often does not disappear in PH, but is only assimilated into the immanent level. The problem of the relationship to transcendence remains central in PH. In order to realise its explicit ambition of yielding a knowledge that is more reliable than TH, PH indeed has to justify its statements regarding transcendence, if its existence is to be admitted, and the future, by means of speculative reason alone, without relying on faith. [63] Historical laws are the main tools for that purpose. But, in their turn, in order to function as such, they have to be universal. This is why rational discourse on history needs the concept of universality, which warrants the homogeneity of progress in time and space.

e) Actors

Like the criteria and method, the choice of actors that play a determining role in the narrative produced by PH is the result of developments in the conception of human society in the 18th century. The meaning of history is no longer immanent only to some privileged individuals, but also to the collective individual.

As for the only legitimate actor in TH, God, he can again be found in PH but is brought closer to the immanent world. Hegel defines God as the [url]Spirit[/url] that incarnates itself in humanity in the following way: while keeping a substantial identity, it changes by going through successive stages corresponding to periods of human history toward a full manifestation of all his potency. [64] More importantly perhaps than the definition of God, the characteristic mark of PH is its focus, that is, not on this absolute principle made immanent, but on other actors, namely humanity, nations, and individuals.

The true self is the supreme consciousness existing and persisting beyond all space and time. Jung calls this the pure consciousness or Self, in contradistinction to the “ego consciousness” which is the temporally constructed and maintained form of a discrete existent (cf. C.G. Jung, “Gnostic Symbols of the Self,” in The Gnostic Jung 1992, pp. 55-92). This latter form of “worldly” consciousness the Gnostics identified with soul (psukhê), while the pure or true Self they identified with spirit (pneuma)—that is, mind relieved of its temporal contacts and context. This distinction had an important career in Gnostic thought, and was adopted by St. Paul, most notably in his doctrine of the spiritual resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:44). The psychological or empirical basis of this view, which soon turns into a metaphysical or onto-theological attitude, is the recognized inability of the human mind to achieve its grandest designs while remaining subject to the rigid law and order of a disinterested and aloof cosmos. The spirit-soul distinction (which of course translates into, or perhaps presupposes, the more fundamental mind-body distinction) marks the beginning of a transcendentalist and soteriological attitude toward the cosmos and temporal existence in general.

-- Gnosticism, by Edward Moore
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Re: History, Sophia and the Russian Nation: A Reassessment o

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Part 2 of 2

i) Humanity

Humanity as a collective, total and autonomous entity is the primary actor in history. [65] In PH humanity is understood as the 'model of free and rational [vernunftig] self- understanding, and a free and rational community of men.' [66] On the whole, the confessional and religious differences are sublated, as are differences regarding the political regime, which are identified as merely historically contingent constructions. Generally based on natural law, the conviction is that all human beings are equal. History is sensed as world history, which gradually educates people to be world citizens.

This conceptual unity of humanity is not reached at the cost of all specific developments. It is the great achievement of PH, especially of Hegel, to have thought of history as a process involving humanity as a whole while at the same time paying attention to the specific development of each national state or people considered historical. [67]

ii) Nations

In order to try and combine diversity within the unity of humanity, a new conception of the nation was used. The emphasis on the role of nations can be considered as a characteristic feature of PH. The nation, which can be globally understood as a 'large aggregate of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular state or territory', is thought of as a reality capable of uniting the citizens of a political entity in already existing states as well as in movements fighting for national independence. [68]

In PH the theological premise of the elected character of one people has underwent two major transformations. Firstly, it is not God, but the philosopher who selects and elects so-called 'historical nations' or 'world-historical peoples.' [69] Secondly, the philosopher no longer attributes the elected status to one and the same people throughout history as in the Old Testament, but distributes it to many peoples successively. [70] In Hegel's terminology, the world-historical people [welthistorisches Volk] maintains its specific character and receives the status of the bearer of the world Spirit [Weltgeist]. [71]

Each historical nation has a mission to fulfil, as opposed to non-historical nations, which do not contribute to universal progress. The category of progress therefore functions as a factor of division of humanity between developed, enlightened peoples, and less developed peoples. [72] Even the plurality of the elected nations is not a plurality of equals. As history is progressive, the nation that is elected now accomplishes a mission of a higher kind than the preceding one. [73] On the whole, he succeeded in combining a smaller cyclical pattern for the rise and fall of historical nations, within the global rectilinear, ascending pattern of progress. [74] The global movement of history can thus be outlined as an ascending spiral.

iii) Great people

Within the nation, individuals can play a historical role. The most famous examples of the role of individuals in history are the Hegelian 'great persons', political leaders who are bearers of the Volksgeist and elevate their nation to a higher level of development and whose influence is wider than their own nation. Yet their acting upon history is a cunning of reason [List der Vernunft], since they do not know the meaning of their acts in history. This raises the fundamental problem for PH of the justification of individual freedom within a scheme of history, the meaning and the direction of which is already pre-established in a teleological conception. By introducing the concept of the heterogeneous nature of goals, Hegel tried to answer this problem by emphasising the fact that human activity sometimes leads to unplanned, unwanted results which are thus completely independent from subjective goals or motives. [75] Yet, despite his attempts to preserve the transcendent and supra-individual level of history through the concepts of cunning of reason and heterogeneity of goals respectively, Hegel contributed to an understanding of history in which the human beings are the determining actors.

In sum, in the philosophical register history stands central as an immanent, continuous and ascending process realised by human beings. Rationality characterises not only this process but also the method of gaining complete knowledge of history. [76] The main criterion of valuation is progress, which humanity, nations and great people are able to realise and implement in the world.


There are fundamental differences between TH and PH, but they are sometimes hard to distinguish. The three reasons indicated below for this difficulty at the same time point to the intimate connections between the two.

Firstly, our perception of history is very much modelled by views developed in the 19th century, and especially by the interpretation made at that time of the Christian conception of history. The latter is often referred to by the term 'history of salvation' [Heilsgeschichte]
which is left unaddressed, and is contaminated by projections, so that TH starts to very much look like PH. [77] Lowith's secularisation thesis inherits this confusion. He departed not from the biblical definition of eschatology, but from a concept of eschatology that was developed in the 19th century under the influence of idealist philosophy, which applied the dominant idea of development to the realisation of the Kingdom of God. [78] The frequent confusion of TH and PH can be partly explained by the fact that almost all philosophies of history are Christian or post-Christian, and therefore often contain Christian elements, whether explicitly or not. However, the concept of eschatology developed in the 19th century was contrary to the emphasis placed by biblical eschatology and early Christian elaborations on the radical heterogeneity of the Kingdom of God with respect to history, and hence the limitedness of human action. I have tried to deal with TH as it emerged historically, and not as the product of 19th century projections.

Secondly, there is a frequent overlap in the terminology and object of TH and of PH. In fact, one may encounter the same key terms in TH and PH. Especially the conceptions of the goal of history, of progress as its motor, and of humanity as its main actor, need to be sharply distinguished. As I have shown, in TH and PH these terms are invested with different meanings. An example of a common object is religious institutions. Still, it is possible to differentiate between the approach to this problem in TH and in Christian PH. PH deals primarily with political and social history, and within this framework might also deal with the church. Indeed, the two levels of history and the absolute may be present in this scheme, but the link between man and God does not form the core of the reflection. In contrast, TH deals primarily with religious history and religious institutions. But the focus is on the relationship God-man, with specific questions concerning the realisation of God's will on earth.

Thirdly, TH tends to be assimilated to PH and TH because they are often combined within one author's conception of history. [79] As a matter of fact, a whole range of positions exist that can be situated between TH and PH for their attempts to find a path that combines the chief principle of TH, that is, God's transcendence, with the discovery of the immanent meaning of history which is central to PH. This raises the question whether since Hegel there is any chronosophy that does not combine philosophical and theological motives of history. [80] However, as I have tried to show, the questioning and tools differ in each register. By the primacy given to God in his transcendence, TH fundamentally differs from PH, which ascribes it to this world in its immanence.

Finally, I would like to advance a response to Lowith's secularisation thesis. I agree with him that we cannot speak about complete heterogeneity between TH and PH. In many respects, PH tried to offer an all-embracing conception of history and introduce new values such as faith in progress and humanity that would replace the values promoted by TH. In this reaction, PH is heir to the ambitions of TH, and this explains the overlap of interest and terminology, which it remoulded in the new value system of the Enlightenment. However, influences other than biblical eschatology were determinant for TH, such as Greek historiography and philosophy. Similarly, PH was not shaped only by TH, but assimilated ongoing developments from the most varied fields, namely the 17th century scientific conceptions of time, political developments such as the French revolution, mental changes such as the acceptance of 'the wild man' living overseas as part of humanity, to name only a few factors. As I have tried to show, the gap between TH and PH determines the whole approach of history underlying both registers. Aspects such as the framework of reference, the relationship between past, present and future, the criteria, and the actors of history have to be taken into account for a proper distinction of TH and PH. I have highlighted the crucial differences between the two registers through the analysis of these aspects. This makes it possible to avoid the circularity of Lowith's argument, based as it is on a 19th century conception of eschatology for understanding TH, and therefore on a projection of PH categories on TH. The distinction of TH and PH serves as a fruitful key for interpreting Solov'ev's texts on history in the following section.



1. Agnes Heller, A Philosophy of History in Fragments (Oxford & Cambridge: Blackwell, 1993), p. vi.

2. William Dray, Perspectives on History (London, Boston & Henley: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980), p. 99 [italics mine].

3. There are numerous examples. I will mention only two works with a different approach: Reinhart Koselleck's comprehensive article 'Geschichte' in: Otto Brunner, Werner Conze, Reinhart Koselleek (eds.), Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe, 8 vols. (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1975), vol. 2, pp. 593-717 [abbreviated Koselleck 1975 b], whose examination includes views of philosophers, historians. theologians, writers, etc., from Antiquity up to the 20th century. Another highly valuable work is Bertrand Binoche's analysis of the genesis of philosophy of history in the second half of the eighteenth century in Les trois sources des philosophies de l'histoire (1763-1798) (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. 1994).

4. A recent critical discussion of these works can be found in Schwaiger 2001. See also the bibliography in Walter Jaeschke, Die Suche nach den eschatologischen Wurzeln der Geschichtsphilosophie: Eine historische Kritik der Sakularisierungsthese (Munchen: Chr. Kaiser Verlag. 1976). pp. 332-349.

5. The works of William Dray and William Walsh arc characteristic for this approach. For instance, William Dray has analysed the presuppositions underlying conceptions of history in Hegel. Toynbee, Niebuhr in Philosophy of History (Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1964), and in Spengler in Perspectives on History (London et al.: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980); William Walsh, An Introduction to Philosophy of History (1st publ. 1951: New Jersey: Humanities Press. 1967). Quite different is the contribution of Hayden White, who has explored the rhetorical resources of the historical representation in historians (Michelet, Ranke, Tocqueville, Burckhardt) and in philosophers (Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Croce), in Metahistory -- The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Baltimore & London: The John Hopkins University Press, 1973).

6. A recent example of a combination of these two fields of analysis is Paul Ricoeur, La memoire, l'histoire, l'oubli (Paris: Seuil, 2000). The second part is devoted to the epistemology of historical science, whereas the third part deals with a hermeneutical approach to the historical condition.

7. This term does justice to the scattered and partial character of Solov'ev's conception of history, which I gather and classify in my thesis. My definition is inspired by the entry 'Register' in Jeremy Hawthorn, A Glossary of Contemporary Literary Theory (London et al.: Edward Arnold, 1994), pp. 247-248.

8. While Patrick Gardiner argues in favour of the former position in Theories of History (Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press. 1959), William Walsh defends the latter position (Walsh 1967, p. 13).

9. These are the positions of Krzysztof Pomian and Wolfhart Pannenberg respectively, in: L 'ordre du temps (Paris: Gallimard, 1984), p. 122; (coll.), entry 'Geschichte/ Geschichtsschreibung/ Geschichtsphilosophie', Theologische Realenzyklopadie, Gerhard Krause and Gerhard Muller (eds.), vols. 1-36 (Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1977-), vol. 12, pp. 569-698: p. 670.

10. Karl Lowith, Meaning in History: The Theological Implications of the Philosophy of History (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1949), p. 1. His thesis was expressed within the framework of discussions that were actively led since Dilthey, Troeltsch and Weber had based their understanding of the genesis of Modern times on the term 'secularisation'. There was also a dominant consensus amongst theologians of the most varied currents about the origin of modern philosophy of history in biblical eschatology (Jacschke 1976, p. 14). The term 'secularisation' has become widely used but with a vague meaning. For an account of the discussions on secularisation, see Jaeschke 1976, and the entry 'Sakularisierung' in Theologische Realenzyklopadie 29, pp. 603-634.

11. Lowith's 'secularisation thesis' has been the target of criticism, notably from Hans Blumenberg. who denounced it as historical substantialism. See Die Legitimitat der Neuzeit (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp Verlag. 1966), pp. 9-74. esp. 22-27.

12. This applies to general schemes of history, which often combine linear, cyclic, and chaotic patterns (Dray 1964, p. (2).

13. Hegel's thought is an excellent example for showing that the frontier between PH and TH cannot always be clearly defined. Even though he has been elevated to the rank of philosopher of history par excellence, he is also considered a religious philosopher. See his elaborations on theological problems in his Vorlesungen uber die Philosophie der Geschichte, his Philosophie der Religion and Enzyklopadie. For literature on the subject, see for instance, the comprehensive work of Albert Chapelle, Hegel et la religion, 3 vols. (Paris: Editions universitaires. 1964-1971), Michael Theunissen, Hegels Lehre vom absoluten Geist als theologisch-politischer Traktat (Berlin: De Gruyter, 1970), and Peter Cornehl, Die Zukunft der Versohnung: Eschatologie und Emanzipation in der Aufklarung, bei Hegel und in der Hegelschen Schule (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. 1971).

14. Pomian 1984, pp. v-ix.

15. On the peculiar case of Hegel, who did not provide any speculation on the future, see subsection 3ii) of this chapter.

16. Pomian 1984. pp. v-vi.

17. Ibid., p. vii.

18. For a thousand years, Augustine's teachings, understood in the general sense of his conceptions of man and God and or the relationships between man and God, were never contested. In a general sense Augustinism became part of the Christian teaching ("Augustin/Augustinismus', Theologische Realenzyklpadie 4. pp. 646-723: p. 699).

19. See also Schwaiger 2001, pp. 70-79.

20. Entry 'Augustine of Hippo', in: Michael Prokurat, Alexander Golitzin, Michael D. Peterson, Historical Dictionary of the Orthodox Church (Lanham, Maryland, & London: Scarecrow Press Inc., 1996), pp. 48-49.

21. The fundamental field of eschatology especially is neglected in Orthodox thought, as Georges Florovsky has complained (Georges Florovsky, 'The Last Things and the Last Events', in Collected Works 3, pp. 243-265). Despite its promising title, a recent publication lacks profound reflection and scholarly accuracy: I.I. Ersova, Pravoslavnaja istoriosofija (Moskva: Moskovskij gosudarstvennyj universitet, 1993).

22. Most recently, Schwaiger has proposed his own model of the key components of what he calls 'the biblical-Christian thought on history' [das biblich-christliche Geschichtsdenken], namely a creationist start, the link between action and Ergehen or the interaction between the human being and God, Providence shaping the process and periods of history, an eschatological-apocalyptic movement towards the end, and christocentrism (Schwaiger 2001, p. 362). These factors mainly concern the categories of periodisation and the actors. I have tried to understand the inner structure of theology of history by bringing into account other dimensions such as the framework, the conception of time, the criteria and the method.

23. As a matter of fact, within the lower level, nature represents the inferior stage of pure immanence, and human beings the higher one with an immanent component, his body, and a transcendent component, his soul.

24. This opposition between two realms, the one transcendent and eternal, and the other characterised by change as a negative quality, is not solely Christian. It can be found in Jewish thought, and was already central in Parmenidian and Platonist philosophies.

25. Schwaiger 2001, p. 78.

26. Pomian 1984, p. 108.

27. Joachim of Fiore's teaching on the Trinity, including his theory of the kingdom of the Father, or the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (third stage or history), was condemned at the fourth Councilor Lateran (1215). About the influence of Joachim of Fiore on Western thought, see the comprehensive work by Henri de Lubac, La posteriorite spirituelle de Joachim de Flore, 2 vols. (Paris & Namur: Lethielleux, 1981). De Lubac's treatment or Vladimir Solov'ev is examined below [ch. II 'Theology or History in Solov'ev'].

28. Augustine, The City of God (Harmondsworth, Middlesex, et al.: Penguin, 1972), XV, 2, p. 597.

29. Reinhart Koselleck demonstrates this point masterfully in his article 'Fortschritt". Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe, vol. 2 [abbreviated Koselleck 1975a], pp. 351-423.

30. In Augustine, the Earthly City is characterised by a mere succession of birth and death, i.e. a cyclic pattern. Indeed Augustine did not think the Earthly city to be capable of progress. See the convincing argumentation provided by Ernst A. Schmidt, Zeit und Geschichte bei Augustin (Heidelberg: Winter, 1985).

31. Here I do not elaborate on the specific contribution of Augustine to the problem of time, but follow the broader line of the theological tradition on history.

32. Olivier Clement, L 'Eglise orthodoxe (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1985), p. 34.

33. Tomas Spidlik, L'idee russe (Troyes: Editions Fates. 1994), pp. 294 and 300.

34. Clement 1985, p. 91.

35. Although there are apocalyptic elements in the Old Testament, it is mainly John's book of the Apocalypse [literally 'Revelation'] that presents the Christian interpretation of the term. John exposes the reign of the Antichrist in detail, which God will eventually crush, and the subsequent 1000 years' reign of Christ, which ends with the last Judgement and heavenly Jerusalem.

36. See Books XX-XXIII of Augustine's City of God.

37. The distinction between eschatology and apocalyptic eschatology is drawn from Thomas Robbins and Susan J. Palmer's Introduction of Ibid. (eds.), Millenium, Messiahs, and Mayhem: Contemporary Apocalyptic Movements (New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 4-6.

38. This also is Bulgakov's view (Pere Serge Boulgakov, L 'Orthodxie, Constantin Andronikoff (transl.) (1st publ. in Russian 1935; Lausanne: L'Age d'Homme, 1980), pp. 199-200).

39. Spidlik 1994, p. 216, Bulgakov 1980, p. 200.

40. The image of Janus' two faces applied to history is borrowed from Henri-Irenee Marrou, L 'ambivalence du temps de l'histoire chez saint Augustin (Paris: Vrin, 1950), p. 37.

41. George La Piana, 'Theology of History', in: J.R. Stigger (ed.), The Interpretation of History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1943), pp. 151-187: p. 152.

42. Although the relationship between reason and faith is a central issue in Christian thought as a whole, Thomas of Aquinas is in this respect the most typical Christian philosopher and theologian. In his address to pagans, he tried to demonstrate through rational thought what Christians know by faith. In the Middle Ages, the distinction was made between 'natural theology' and 'revealed theology'. Natural theology deals with 'truths about God that can be determined by unaided human reasoning', such as 'truths that God exists, that he is eternal', whereas 'revealed theology' deals with 'matters such as God's triune nature and the manner of his redemptive activity' (entry 'Revelation', Alan Richardson and John Bowden (eds.), The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1983), p. 504). The issues raised by both natural and revealed theology are combined in theology of history.

43. 'The question of the truth of history can find its answer only through God. If history is essentially history of divine action, then the truth of his acts, the identity of it with him, can only be founded on him' (Wolfhart Pannenberg, Grundfragen systematischer Theologie, Gesammelte Aufsatze, vol. 2 (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1980), p. 117).

44. Peter Hodgson, God in History: Shapes of Freedom (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1989), pp. 11-12.

45. Ibid., p. 11.

46. There is only a slight difference between the understanding of the church as the Christian community and as a potentially wholly Christian humanity. This leads to question whether the term 'humanity' in the modern sense of the word, that is, as a conscious and active entity, was used in TH. It turns out that humanity, understood in this meaning, and as such as a subject of history, was thematised rather late, namely in the eighteenth century by Vico. Late Antiquity did use the term 'humanitas' in this sense, but very rarely. In that case, the analogy was made with the individual (notably by Augustine, as we have seen) to stress the process of growth and decrepitude. Much stronger was the distinction made between believers and non-believers, which undermined any idea of humanity as a whole. Moreover, the term 'humanitas' commonly referred to the fleshly and sinful human condition, in opposition to God's perfection. For an analysis of the history of the concept 'humanity', see the comprehensive article of Hans Erich Bodeker, 'Menschheit', Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe 3, pp. 1063-1128.

47. For this analysis I made selective use of La Piana 1943, who has made an attempt to typologise the premises present in, mainly, Catholic theology of history.

48. La Piana 1943, p. 156.

49. Ibid., p. 161.

50. The Catholic Church recognises all councils up to Vatican II, whereas the Orthodox Church takes into account only the seven first ecumenical councils, that is, up to the second council of Nicae in 787.

51. See for instance Irina Gorainoff, Seraphim de Sarov: Sa vie (Begrolles en Mauges: Abbaye de Bellefontaine, 1973). The prophets acting within society in 16th century Moscow and called jurodivye were respected for the same qualities (See: Eadem., Les fols en Christ (Paris: Desclee de Brouwer, 1983).

52. On the status of divine right of the tsar and the perception of it by Russian society, see the collection of essays A.A. Gorskij. A.I. Kuprijanov. L.N. Puskarev (eds.). Mirovosprijatie i samosoznanie russkogo obscestva, book 2: Car' i carstvo v russkom obscestvennom soznanii (Moskva: RAN, 1999).

53. The work of Bertrand Binoche retraces the genesis of PH between 1764 and 1798, that is, between the publication of Iselin's work Uber die Geschichte der Menschheit and the publication of Kant's Streit der Fakultaten. During this period, three types of registers of history are constructed which 'make of the equivocal elaboration of the concept of history [their] essential object', namely the 'historical picture' (Hobbes, Rousseau, Voltaire, Turgot, d' Alembert, Volney, and Condorcet), 'natural history' (Ferguson, Millar, Kames), and 'theodicy' (Gottingen school, Iselin and Herder) (Binoche 1994. pp. 6-7).

54. Pomian 1984. p. 131.

55. This periodisation is exposed in his Philosophy of Right and serves as basis for his account of his Lectures on Philosophy of History.

56. Pomian 1984, p. 58. This is the dominant model, and also that of Hegel. Of course one can find regression patterns in 19th century philosophy of history, such as in Leont'ev in Russia, and Spengler in Western Europe: but, generally speaking, they are not dominant, and even less are cyclical patterns (Ibid., p. 58. p. 71). This dominant ascending line may include cyclical developments, such as the dialectical schemes of Hegel and Marx.

57. Such is the definition of Modern times, as shows the German equivalent Neuzeit (see Reinhart Koselleek. "'Neuzeit": Zur Semantik moderner Bewegingsbegriffe', in Ibid, (ed.), Studien zum Beginn der modernen Welt (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1977), pp. 264-299.

58. A similar hiatus is discovered within the conception or humanity, as is shown below.

59. Of course there have been earlier conceptions of progress, but they were restricted to knowledge or another section of human activity (Koselleck 1975a, pp. 368, 397).

60. These several meanings had to date been used next to each other (Ibid., pp. 403-407).

61. On the problem of the indefiniteness of the goal itself, see Ibid., p. 373.

62. For the first time with Voltaire, aspects that can be observed empirically, such as changes of population and of economy, laws, customs, were taken into account. Other products of a society such as sciences, knowledge and ideas were also considered as bearers of a meaning of history and thus taken as objects of a philosophy of history.

63. However, there is always a moment when the argumentation relies, explicitly or
not, on faith, such as faith in reason or faith in progress. For example, Hegel held
faith in reason to be a necessary condition for a philosophy of history.

64. In order to emphasise the particular use that Hegel makes of the term 'spirit', I write it with a capital [Spirit].

65. It was only in the 18th century that 'humanity' acquired the cultural and historical dimension of a collective concept (Bodeker 1982, p. 1087).

66. Ibid., p. 1097.

67. See Pomian 1984, p. 29.

68. This general definition, taken from The New Oxford Dictionary of English (2001), also applies to 19th-century upheavals like the 'Spring of nations' in 1848. Other developments are connected to this change of conceptions in the 19th century, such as the invention of the concept of 'historical heritage' to identify historical monuments of a nation, the practice of writing one national history, the selection of national myths, the establishment of a national flag and of a national hymn.

69. Hegel generally used the terms 'Volk' und 'Nation' as synonyms (Bernd Schonemann, in: Fritz Gschnitzler, Reinhart Koselleck, Bernd Schonemann and Karl Ferdinand Werner, 'Volk, Nation, Nationalismus, Masse', in: Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe 10. pp. 141-431: pp. 362-363). Arguably, this explains his two-fold use of the notion world-historical people, namely in the broad or ethnic sense (as a civilisation including several nations), and in the narrow or political sense (as a national state). Hegel was primarily interested in the category of people or nation in the broad sense. It was only from 1840 onwards that the political idea of nation as a national state became predominant (Ibid., p. 348). This 'generation gap' appears quite clearly in the comparison between Hegel's and Solov'ev's views on historical nations [see chap. III, section 2a].

70. This does not exclude the fact that, at the time of their formation, many nations considered themselves as chosen by God (Adrian Hastings, The Construction of Nationhood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 186 and 195f.).

71. On this point, Hegel attempted to preserve the theological motive of history guided by Providence, and held that the nations are merely an unconscious instrument of the Weltgeist, not autonomous subjects [List der Vernunft]. Nevertheless, with his conception of world-historical people, Hegel greatly contributed to the development of a conception of nation as a fully-fledged actor in history.

72. About this hiatus, see Koselleck 1975a. p. 397.

73. As potential candidates after the Germanic civilisation, Hegel alluded to 'America' as the 'land of the future' and to Russia as a latent possibility (G.W.F. Hegel, Vorlesungen uber die Philosophie der Geschichte, Werke, vol. 12 (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1970), pp. 114 and 422 respectively.

74. Hegel's dialectic scheme combines these two patterns in an original way. The difference with the commonly used rectilinear pattern is that Hegel emphasised negativity and destruction at each level.

75. See Panajotis Kondylis, Die Aufklarung im Rahmen des neuzeitlichen Rationalismus (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1981), pp. 461-468.

76. About Hegel's identification or consciousness of freedom as the decisive criterion of progress, see chap. III. section 2a).

77. Heilsgeschichte is now a term widely used in German theology, and refers to any Christian conception of history (Jaeschke 1976, p. 18). Strictly historically speaking Heilsgeschichte was a current in 19th century German theology that emphasised history neither in terms of a transmission of a timeless metaphysical truth, which is typical for TH, nor in terms of a projection of a universal history constructed with speculation, which is the main claim of PH. Salvation is understood as a 'process of specifically religious communication' and the analysis focuses on the historical specificity of biblical tradition, while at the same time rejecting PH's speculative framework (W. Lohff, 'Heil, Heilsgeschichte, Heilstatsache', in: Historisches Worterbuch der Philosophie, vol. 3 (Basel & Stuttgart: Schwabe & co. Verlag, 1974), p. 1031).

78. Jaeschke 1976, p. 326 [italics mine].

79. For this reason I have not adopted the terminology proposed by Pomian, who distinguishes between 'Christian chronosophy' on the one hand, and 'chronosophy of progress' on the other. Pomian's terminology may suggest that the chronosophy of progress cannot be Christian and vice-versa. The examples of Hegel and of Solov'ev show that this combination is made, particularly in 19th century thought, in which the proclamation of the triumph of progress took place simultaneously with a renewed valuation of Christianity.

80. Even openly declared atheistic chronosophies such as Marxism-Leninism and even more so, Stalinism, contain quasi-theological motives, the promise of Paradise (in this case on earth), the veneration of the leader, and the regenerating power of one institution (in this ease the party) upon society as a whole.
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Re: History, Sophia and the Russian Nation: A Reassessment o

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Part 1 of 3

II. Theology of History in Solov'ev


In the Preface to his Istorija i buduscnost' teokratii [The History and Future of Theocracy, 1886], Solov'ev wrote on his ambition 'to justify the faith of our fathers, by elevating it to a new level of consciousness; to show how this ancient faith, once liberated from the eyes of local isolation and national pride, coincides with the eternal and universal truth.'
[1] With this bold statement he announced his project of relating faith to both tradition and to modern society by redefining their mutual relationships within a systematic Christian worldview. [2] This issue had already been addressed in the first centuries of Christianity, with the attempts to fuse Christian teachings and Platonic philosophy, from the apostle Paul up to neo-Platonic metaphysics, and had become the core of Western medieval philosophy as a whole. However, it was a rarity in the Russian context, in which 19th century thinkers tended to emphasise only one of two terms, namely faith in the case of dogmatic Orthodox theology, and reason in that of authors influenced by Western Enlightenment. While bridging this gap seemed neither possible nor desirable to others, Solov'ev's ambition was precisely that -- to combine faith and reason in a new synthesis. Against the defenders of exclusively dogmatic thought, respectively rational thought, Solov'ev emphasised both the historicity and the absolute truth of the Christian church and its dogma. With this position, he created maximum tension between both claims, which he sought to preserve in their totality. These views were developed within a theological framework of history.

This chapter describes the problem of history from the theological perspective, within which Solov'ev combined faith with reason. His central category was 'the humanity of God', by means of which he sought to conceptualise the link between God and man through its historical development, leading to the eventual Kingdom of God. The main purpose of this chapter is to show the centrality of the category of the humanity of God in Solov'ev's theological views on history. The latter are scattered in various texts throughout his work as a whole, most importantly and comprehensively in Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve [Lectures on the Humanity of God, 1878-1881], Velikij spor i khristianskaja politika [The Great Controversy and Christian Politics, 1883], his biblical theology of history Istorija i buduscnost teokratii [The History and Future of Theocracy, 1887] followed by a church theology of history in La Russie et l'Eglise universelle [Russia and the Universal Church, 1889], and finally the eschatological text Tri razgovora with its apocalyptic story 'Kratkaja povest' ob Antikhriste' [Three Conversations, A Short Story about the Antichrist, 1899-1900]. With the category of the humanity of God, Solov'ev sought to convey the view of Christianity in both its historical development and its absolute truth. This came down to reinvigorating the Orthodox worldview with an eschatology for which he found elements in the Eastern Church fathers and the Russian religious thinkers. However, his efforts to integrate his views into a theology of history that was acceptable from the Orthodox perspective were prone to the position of an intellectualistic, abstract conception of God, at the expense of faith. He also encountered the limitations of theology of history, with its inadequate conception of process, and its negligence of nature and matter in the process of salvation. There were also limitations inherent to philosophy of history, as we shall see in the next chapter. To overcome these, he introduced a third conception of history, namely sophiology of history. Through this register, he aimed to form a bridge between the exclusive claims of faith vs. reason, and of transcendence vs. immanence.

In order to address the issues that relate history to the humanity of God, the chapter is structured as follows. First (1) I reconstruct Solov'ev's theological register of history by focusing on (a) its definition, (b) framework, (ci) periodisation, (cii) conception of time, (di) criteria and (dii) method, and finally (e) on the main actors in the register. Secondly (2) I analyse the sources of inspiration at the basis of his theology of history, namely (a) the Eastern Church fathers (i) Origen of Alexandria, (ii) Maximus Confessor, and (b) the 19th century Russian religious thinkers, namely (i) the theoreticians of Slavophilism, (ii) Fedor Tjutcev and (iii) Fedor Dostoevskij.

1. The Register of Theology of History in Solov'ev

a) General definition

In order to counter an exclusively rational or dogmatic approach to history, Solov'ev sought to develop a Christian theology of history that conveyed a two-fold message: history is the history of Christianity, and Christianity is historical. With the first claim, he opposed a secular or atheist view of history by indicating that true development is only possible through Christianity. This development was shown by the revelations of the Bible and the events that shaped church history. His second claim was more controversial for his Orthodox contemporaries. In his eyes, Christianity needed history in order to become what it was potentially. [3] This also meant that the traditional conception of Christianity had to be 'freed' from its limitations, and be adapted to cure the ills of the modern world. [4] Solov'ev set himself the task of combining an attachment to the Christian tradition and a commitment to the society of his time. For this purpose, he brought to the fore a core category, the humanity of God [Bogocelovecestvo], on the basis of which he built his theology of history. [5] This category contained the two dimensions of divine transcendence and human freedom that the philosopher sought to combine. He turned it into a structuring principle by posing it as the true goal of history, and in this way equated theology of history with the history of the humanity of God. History as it was revealed in the Bible announced the realisation of the humanity of God:

We affirm the following. The truth of the revelation is one and indivisible. From the first chapters of Genesis until the last chapters of the Apocalypse, from Eden in the East to the New Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven, this truth consists in the same thing, and the same appellation belongs to it: the humanity of God, the union of God with the creation. [6]

On the one hand, the component of Bogocelovecestvo 'bogo-' [of God] refers to the central role reserved to God in history. Indeed, in conformity with the traditional Christian idea of Providence ruling over the destiny of the world, Solov'ev recognized that the historical process is the means by which 'God's will is realised in the world.' [7] On the other hand, the component 'celovecestvo' [humanity], implies a participation of all human beings in this process: 'Particularly since the real and historical reunion of the divine and the human in Christ, humanity itself must take a positive part in its destinies.' [8] The goal of history consists in 'the reunification of humanity and the world with the absolute, integral principle', or, put in moral terms, a complete reconciliation with God. [9] This implies overcoming inner division, the most radical of which Solov'ev saw in the great schism between the Christian churches since 1054. From this perspective, it was crucial for Solov'ev that the Orthodox and Catholic Churches reunite.

On the basis of the category of Bogocelovecestvo, Solov'ev built a theology of history as a history of the humanity of God. In this respect, he opened up classical Orthodox theology, which lacked elaborations in the domain of theology of history and eschatology, to a new field. [10] In Ctenija in particular, he articulated Bogocelovecestvo 'in such a way that it measured up to the demands of modern critical thought as well as to the existential situation of Orthodoxy in the modern world.' [11] This implied historicizing Christianity by a critical assessment of its developments:

In this [historical, MC] field and only there it is possible to evaluate the state of the Christian humanity, to determine the degree of its cultural growth and to indicate what it needs most to grow further. [12]

History displays the work of God and humanity in their joint process towards unification. This pervading teleological perspective determined the framework and content of Solov'ev's views on history.

b) Framework

The space-time framework of the theological register of history is entirely informed by Christianity. Other religions, primarily Hinduism and Judaism, only played a preparatory role in the coming of Jesus Christ.
[13] The other significant religion that appeared later, Islam, has only an educating task in the still pagan areas, until Christianity assumes it. [14] That Christianity is the pivot of history is obvious from Solov'ev's statements on history's direction, goal, and driving force: 'Christianity gives to humanity not only the ideal of absolute perfection, but also the path to the realisation of this ideal, and thus is in its essence progressive.' [15] The essence of Christianity is the 'rebirth of humanity and the world in the spirit of Christ, the transformation of the worldly kingdom into the Kingdom of God.' [16] Not surprisingly, Solov'ev considered only Christianity as allowing perfect unification of God and humanity, partly because, contrary to what he thought of other religions, in Christianity this transformation involves the action not only of God, but also of man. [17] Solov'ev traced a linear development with its origin in God [Bog] to the eschatological horizon of the humanity of God [Bogocelovecestvo] through the God-Human Jesus Christ [Bogocelovek): 'The mystery of the humanity of God, which revealed itself in Christ -- the individual unification of the perfect Divinity with the perfect humanity [ ... ] is the knot [uzel] of world history.' [18]

With this terminology, Solov'ev proposed a new articulation between immanence and transcendence that maintained the traditional distinction in the Christian worldview between the immanent human world and the transcendent world of God. [19].) Still in line with the tradition, he showed that a connection was possible between the two realms, primarily through positing religion in the etymological sense [re-ligio]: 'religion is the reunification of humanity and the world with the absolute, integral principle.' [20] In this sense, history is the religious process par excellence. Solov'ev's theology of history not only includes an analysis of past developments in the intellectual field of theosophy, but in fact extends to a total eschatological conception of the ideal life in God, which he calls integral life.

Slightly more problematic is the question, with respect to which Solov'ev was elliptic and sometimes even ambiguous, namely whether the goal of history is the result of a transcendent intervention or the outcome of immanent human activity. If he defended the latter position, he could be reproached of chiliasm or Joachimism. [21] His emphasis on the human participation in salvation tended to overshadow his conviction that humanity cannot reach this goal through its own means, but can only prepare the conditions. [22] Solov'ev's belief that the Kingdom of God is situated at the very end of history, and is the result of divine interpretation, was contrary to Joachim's thesis. [23]

c) Periodisation and conception of time

i) Periodisation

History is constituted by a connection between God and man that has intensified throughout the course of history. On the line that Solov'ev drew from God through the God-human down to the humanity of God, the God-human functions as the middle point of history: he 'first appeared in the middle of history.' [24] This determines two main phases, the first preceding the life of the God-human Jesus Christ, the other following it.

Solov'ev's intention was to show continuity between these phases by means of the category of the humanity of God. In order to demonstrate 'that the idea of the humanity of God is the logical outcome of religious evolution', he turned to history and philosophy of religion. [25] With this evolutionist perspective, he presented an alternative to the biblical narrative of the Old Testament. [26] Instead of drawing from the motives such as original sin, the construction of the tower of Babel and the subsequent formation of peoples, he examined the period up to Abraham from the modern anthropological perspective of history and philosophy of religion, which he blended with his religious convictions. The idea of the humanity of God was first prepared in natural religion, and gradually developed in the religious beliefs of the Indians, Greeks, Romans, and the Jews. [27] With God's address to Abraham, a new development started with a 'free interaction between the Creator and creation', in which man started acting freely to execute the plans of God. [28] The decisive step occurred with the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, by which God announced universal salvation and placed the principles of love and solidarity at the core of human action. [29] With Jesus Christ, the 'all-one divine life' 'appeared as a fact, a historical reality, in the living individuality of a historical person.' [30] In Solov'ev's eyes, it is the factual and historical dimension of God's message that makes up Christianity's distinctive character. [31]

Since then, Christianity has had the moral and historical obligation to continue the work of Jesus and to prepare for his second coming. [32] Between these two divine moments, it is possible to distinguish three periods, even though Solov'ev did not explicitly name them, viz. from Jesus Christ until the schism (33-1054), from the schism to his time (1054-1880s), and from his time until the end of history (1880s-?). The philosopher approached the entire phase of history after Jesus Christ from the teleological perspective of the realisation of the humanity of God and through an ecclesiological prism. Two points of concern determine the latter, namely the dogma and the implementation of the idea of the universal church. The dogmas are the issue that Solov'ev addressed most within the church history of the 1st millennium. He regarded them as stages towards the union of the divine and the human. The dogmas were gradually accepted with the victory over Alyanism, Nestorianism, monophysitism, monothelitism, and iconoclasm. [33] As for the issue of Christian church unity, Solov'ev interpreted it by axiologically evaluating the deeds of the Western and the Eastern Churches as contributions or obstacles to the universal church. This led him to the following conclusions. The Catholic Church, on the one hand, had tried to implement social justice and a practical power on earth, by assuming the task of material government and spiritual education, but had succumbed to corruption. [34] The Eastern Church, on the other side, with its solitary asceticism and its mystical contemplation, had remained remote from politics and social issues, and thought only about preserving its purity. [35] In 1054, it decided to separate itself from Rome, provoking the great schism of Christianity. [36]

During the second period (1054-1880s), the two churches evolved along separate paths, continuing the developments they had initiated before the schism. [37] While Rome became even more deeply corrupted and only strove to reinforce its earthly power, Byzantium fell to Islam as a result of being torn between 'professed orthodoxy and practised heresy.' [38] Byzantium's successor, Moscow, inherited the ills of both local Orthodoxy and Byzantium, namely remoteness from social affairs, and a higher attachment to the state than to the church. [39] It was primarily from this perspective that Solov'ev criticised the Russian Orthodox Church. In his mind, it reduced its activity to a religious cult, lacked a positive influence on state and society, and was alienated from its divine content and Christian ideal. [40]

In the third and last, but far shorter period that was to begin in the 1880s, all efforts would, or at least should, be concentrated on unifying humanity, starting with the Christian community. Solov'ev undoubtedly felt he was living in a period just preceding the end of history and characterised by an alienation of humanity from Christianity. [41] He considered it his mission to bring back his fellow countrymen to the fold of Christianity, and untiringly exhorted them with urgent discourse that suggested that little time remained to realise the Christian task on earth: it was the last moment to choose between the right and the wrong path. As a matter of fact, he saw his time as the last chance to initiate a change towards the reunification of the churches, and, on the political level, towards theocracy. With the years, his eschatological thought turned into an apocalyptic discourse. He envisaged the progressive process as a last initiative before the final catastrophe, the symptoms of which he perceived in his own time. [42] These announced a complete submission of humanity to the Antichrist, who would be unmasked only by a handful of Christians. [43] With God's help, these would eventually triumph over the Antichrist and welcome Jesus Christ's second coming and thousand years' reign on earth. [44]

To summarise, Solov'ev approached history in an original way, namely as the evolutionary process of the development of the humanity of God in two great phases, before and after Jesus Christ. With respect to the latter phase, his ecclesiological perspective focused on the issues of dogmas and church reunification. He developed a dualistic (axiological), deterministic (teleological) and catastrophic eschatology that was quite in line with tradition. On the last events presented by John in the Apocalypse, namely the Last Judgement and the subsequent Hell or Paradise, however, Solov'ev was remarkably silent. He did not express himself on the Last Judgement at all, and only once professed the opinion that the church teaching of eternal torment should be abolished. [45] These issues remained an underdeveloped aspect of his eschatological thought. [46]

ii) Conception of time

Interestingly, Solov'ev founded his distinction between God, man, and nature notably by ascribing a different time to them. This specification did not take place so explicitly in the other registers. In divine life, there is no distinction between past, present and future, and therefore no time but only eternity. [47] With the following statement, he followed the traditional conception of a transcendent, immutable God: 'in God Himself there can be no process of becoming perfect, but only an eternal and unchangeable fullness of all that is good.' [48] By contrast, in nature, there is a distinction between the three dimensions of time, but this is only deceptive: once something has passed, it disappears forever. In other terms, life is devoured by time. [49] Here, Solov'ev echoed the Augustinian conception of natural time as time that devours and knows no distinction but only deletes the past. As far as the human realm is concerned, Solov'ev considered it to be at an intermediary level, sharing elements with life in God and with natural life. He argued that the church, in the broad sense of the community of Christians, shapes a privileged relationship to time, in which the past, present and future are distinguished, and meaningfully complement each other. The church is aware of the values of the past, preserves them in the present, and projects them in the future goal. The church's past is represented by priesthood, its present by the state, and its future by the ideal of 'all-churchness' or 'all-ecclesiality' [vsecerkovnost']. [50] In this schematic definition of time, Solov'ev played with tripartitions rather than offering a philosophical or theological grounding for his teaching of universal church. However, against the commonly held view of Christianity as being first and foremost the bearer of tradition, he obviously sought to establish a dynamic relationship between the attachment to tradition and the strife for the concrete realisation of its ideal in an imminent future.

d) Criteria and Method

i) Criteria: good and evil

Solov'ev's theological views of history present a completely polarised view of reality. Fundamentally, history is the struggle created by the interaction of the opposing principles of good and evil, which function as the main criteria. [51] The evil spirit of discord overpowered Adam, was then overpowered by the Son of God 'in order to be driven out of the whole creation at the end of time. This is the essential meaning of the incarnation.' [52] Still, the philosopher cared to distinguish his conception of good and evil from that of the manicheists and insisted that one cannot find 'a man who has finally attained perfect righteousness, and a man who has finally become utterly evil.' [53] In the world, good and evil are found only in mixed forms.

This fundamental concern with good and evil was inherited from his father, whose decisive influence Solov'ev recognised in his own attachment to the Christian moral teaching. [54] His philosophical elaborations on ethics in his comprehensive work Opravdanie dobra have been studied extensively. [55] Some scholars have criticised the insufficient treatment of evil in some of his works. [56] On the one hand, it is true that Solov'ev fundamentally believed in the positive value of the world, and in history as the concrete ground on which the good can be realised. His thoroughly optimistic approach in Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve for instance, which prompted him to appeal untiringly to the forces of good, overshadows his conviction that Satan, too, rules the world. [57] In fact his publicistika constantly dealt with the problem of evil. [58] In these texts, in my opinion, evil is omnipresent in the implicit message of "let us choose for the good before evil gets hold of the whole situation".

Recognising the evil in this or that phenomenon was never problematic to him. Departing from his conception of the humanity of God, he denounced various types of evil in the course of his career. Firstly, he focused on actions that violate the Christian principles of love and justice (death penalty, persecution of religious and cultural minorities by the state, violence by anarchistic and revolutionary movements). He also denounced political seditionist and independence movements as obstacles to the reconciliation between all human beings, as well as religious currents which literally 'cut' themselves off from the official church, the sects. [59] Evil also took the form of the reactionary attitude of the state, of the church, and of public opinion. Solov'ev then tried to unmask evil in its more pernicious forms, such as Tolstoj's pacifism. In 1888, he confessed he was 'looking at more or less all things sub specie aeternitatis or at least sub specie antichristi venturi.' [60] From this moment onwards, his thought, which so far had been implicitly eschatological, became explicitly apocalyptic. [61] Up to this stage he had focused on phenomena that he interpreted as contrary to the Christian teaching. Now he saw the Antichrist in Nietzscheanism, in Marxism and in Tolstojanism, as they actively fought against God. [62] The final image of Antichrist that Solov'ev offered in 'Kratkaja povest' ob Antikriste' portrayed the eventual embodiment of evil as universal well-doer who would be the welcome leader of a unified humanity in history. [63]

ii) Method: faith and reason

With respect to his method, Solov'ev was fighting a battle on two fronts simultaneously. On the one hand, in those times that were characterised by the triumph of positivism and the heritage of idealism, he strove to restore the central significance of Christian faith. The central role of faith in knowledge about the world and God was univocal: 'Both the existence of the external world and the existence of the divine principle [...] can be affirmed unconditionally only by faith.' [64] History and faith have a two-fold relationship of mutual dependence. Firstly, history can find support in faith. Solov'ev needed the dimension of faith to establish biblical events and the Word of God as a whole as historical facts. Specific episodes of Christian history, though being acts of faith rather than the product of empirical or rational knowledge, have the status of facts. [65] In the same vein, he regularly quoted from the Bible as the highest historical authority. [66] Secondly, and conversely, faith can find support in history: 'Faith in the Christian God is based on his perfect appearance in the historical experience of humanity.' [67]

On the other hand, faith alone is not sufficient to 'justify the faith of our fathers.' It is only in combination with speculative reason that the absolute truth of the Christian religion can be grasped. [68] Against the possible objection that the combination of faith and speculative reason was a modern distortion of the Christian teaching, Solov'ev argued that it was already found in the ecumenical councils. The church fathers had determined Christian truth as a dogma of faith and 'as a thinkable [myslimaja] truth, by ways of speculation and dialectics.' [69] He sought to reinvigorate Orthodox theology, which operated mainly without the instruments of philosophical reflection, with insights of modern thought by means of rational speculation. As a matter of fact, traditional theology lacked 'rational criticism' and 'empirical realisation of theological truth.' [70] He criticised traditional Orthodox theology for having evacuated rational and empirical reflection, thus becoming 'abstract dogmatism.' [71] In order to liberate theology and turn it into free theosophy, rational thought and the data of experimental science should be included in order to foster 'a new and more dynamic relationship between religious and secular pursuits.' [72] In other terms, Solov'ev needed the dimension of speculative reason to establish the historicity of the dogmas and the church, and that of empirical reason to ground a social commitment of the church in this world.

e) Actors

i) God

From the genealogy produced by the line 'God -- God-human -- the humanity of God', it becomes clear that the Christian God is the creator and ruler of human destiny. That the Christian God is 'the God of history' comes to the fore continuously in Solov'ev's work. [73] Solov'ev nevertheless warned against the temptation to anthropomorphise God's participation in history. The fact that man acts with a sense of purpose does not mean that God does the same. God does take part in history, but we do not know how. This did not however stop Solov'ev from making categorical statements about the way history should evolve towards its obvious goal. [74]

The historical incarnation of God in the individual Jesus Christ or the perfect theophany, was incontestable. Solov'ev offered a treatment of Jesus Christ along traditional theological lines, namely through a doctrine of Trinity, a Christology, and an ecclesiology, which he, nevertheless, approached with great intellectual freedom. [75] As far as the specifics of the historical dimension of Jesus Christ are concerned, Solov'ev treated them as follows. Basing himself on his concept of Bogocelovecestvo, Solov'ev defended the thesis of Jesus Christ's divine and human natures, and in this respect was consistent with the 5-7th councils. [76] Jesus Christ as human being received the possibility of attaining divine glory and performing the kenotic act, and so anticipated the salvation of the whole of humanity. [77] He achieved a double feat of salvation, being a feat of the spirit through the three temptations, and a feat of the flesh, namely crucifixion. Solov'ev followed the Eastern tradition by describing the Passion as the becoming of a true spiritual body. [78] However, even from the perspective of the Eastern tradition, Solov'ev's treatment of the Passion displays a striking lack of interest in the properly human 'incarnated' side culminating in Jesus' suffering on the cross. For Solov'ev, Jesus Christ, although -- or precisely because of -- being the organising principle of the scheme of Bogocelovecestvo, remains an abstract figure. [79] For the sake of coherence within this historical scheme, Solov'ev might have devoted attention to his historical reality in flesh and blood, which he did not.

What occurred on Golgotha? Let us consider that important moment when the blood flowed from the wounds of the crucified Saviour....

when the blood flowed from the wounds of the Saviour, but it was actually accompanied by a spiritual process; that is, the Holy Spirit, which was received at the baptism, united itself with the earth -- Christ himself flowed into the very being of the earth. From now on, the earth was changed, and this is the reason for saying to you in previous lectures that if a person had viewed the earth from a distant star, he would have observed that its whole appearance was altered with the Mystery of Golgotha. The sun Logos became a part of the earth, formed an alliance with it and became the spirit of the earth. This he achieved by entering into the body of Jesus of Nazareth in his thirtieth year, and by remaining active there for three years, after which he continued to remain on the earth.

Now the important thing is that this event must produce an effect upon the true Christian; that it must give something by which he may gradually develop the beginnings of a purified astral body in the Christian sense. There had to be something there for the Christian whereby he could make his astral body gradually more and more like a Virgin Sophia, and through it receive into himself the Holy Spirit which was able to spread out over the entire earth, but which could not be received by anyone whose astral body did not resemble the Virgin Sophia. There had to be something which possessed the power to transform the human astral body into a Virgin Sophia. What is this power? It consists of Jesus Christ entrusting to the disciple whom he loved -- in other words to the writer of the Gospel of St John -- the mission of describing truly and faithfully through his own illumination the events in Palestine in order that human beings might be affected by them.

If human beings permit what is written in the Gospel of St John to have a sufficient effect on them, their astral body will become a Virgin Sophia and it will become receptive to the Holy Spirit. ... The mother of Jesus -- the Virgin Sophia in the esoteric meaning of Christianity -- stands at the foot of the cross and from the cross Christ says to the disciple whom he loved: 'Henceforth, this is your mother' and from this hour the disciple took her unto himself. This means: 'That force which was in my astral body and made it capable of becoming bearer of the Holy Spirit I now give over to you; you shall write down what this astral body has been capable of acquiring through its development.' 'And the disciple took her unto himself' means that he wrote the Gospel of St John.

-- Goddess: From Natura to the Divine Sophia, by Rudolf Steiner

As for the role in history of the Holy Spirit, the last component of the Trinity, Solov'ev did not expand on it. In conformity with Christian tradition, he regarded the Holy Spirit as the 'living force' that communicates with the believer through the activity of the church. [80] The application of the trinitarian division to history in an era of the Father, an era of the Son, and an era of the Holy Spirit, was not original either and was quite common in the nineteenth century. [81]

Divine action, if indispensable, is not sufficient to realise the good. Human participation is needed, primarily through the church, but also through individuals.

ii) The church

As far as the church is concerned, Solov'ev posited it to be more than an agent, and in his work made it the main actor in the realisation of the humanity of God. The church, for him, represented the collective designation for the social embodiment of Christian life as a whole, and more specifically, its institutional body. [82] The institutional church is the 'one shaping form' of the global church as Body of Christ and the intermediary between God and humanity in the direct sense of being 'the form of Humanity of God', which 'holds itself by a inner union of divine and human elements.' [83] From his earliest years onwards, Solov'ev nurtured the ideal of a universal church that was already realising itself through the path of hierarchical succession, the truth of confessed faith, and the authenticity of sacramental life. [84] This applied to the Orthodox Church, and with the years Solov'ev came to include the Catholic Church in the realisation of this ideal. As God's representative on earth, the church's task is to organise social life according to God's will, and the other two forces, state and society, must be subservient to it. [85] The goal is that of vsecerkovnost' or universal brotherhood, and thus the extension of the Christian church to humanity as a whole. In this way Solov'ev explicitly positioned himself against the disavowal of the church by Tolstoj, the Old Believers and various sects that were flourishing in his time. In Western Christianity he was primarily aiming his criticism at Protestantism. [86] He justified the fundamental significance of the church by underscoring the vertical relationship between God and the church: the church had been defined theocratically, namely by Jesus Christ. [87]

Solov'ev's challenge, however, was not limited to emphasising the sanctity of the institutional church, but aimed at understanding the church in its historicity. Within the Orthodox Church, an unhistorical approach prevailed, as a result of which the dogmas and liturgy were commonly considered an unchanged and unchangeable tradition which the Christian church had received in one go from God through Jesus Christ and the seven ecumenical councils. [88] Against this view, Solov'ev argued that the church had been and still was subject to development. [89] This point sustained his exhortation that the Russian Orthodox Church should adapt itself to modern life, fulfil its social duties and contribute to social progress, and not limit itself to monastic life. [90]

How then was the universal church to be realised? Solov'ev struggled with this question during his entire life. His views on the Catholic Church underwent a radical change, from a typically Slavophile criticism of its formal character and its attachment to earthly power (papism), to a positive valuation from 1888 onwards and even a fundamental role in the universal church. [91] In the 1880s, he started to defend the view of a reunion of the (Russian) Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches as a first step towards achieving the universal church. [92] He felt that the latter needed a spiritual centre and had to be founded on the hierarchy and succession established by Jesus Christ. [93] He declared, using terms that probably made more than one Orthodox believer tremble with indignation, the apostolic chair of Rome to be 'the miraculous icon of universal Christianity.' [94] The dream of seeing the churches reunite prompted Solov'ev to examine their main dogmatic points of dissent. [95] He examined in particular the much debated issues of the filioque and papal infallibility. [96] More generally, from the conservative Orthodox point of view, the most significant obstacle for the reunification of the churches was that the Catholic Church unacceptably introduced modifications to the dogmas. But the Orthodox saw themselves as the depository of the latter, which they had received in their true form from Jesus Christ and the apostles. Solov'ev aimed to demonstrate that factual development of dogmas had already taken place before the schism. [97] Hereby he showed that the Orthodox Church, too, lived according to dogmas that had evolved before receiving their established form. [98] This was one more motivation for demonstrating the historicity of the church.

For many years, Solov'ev believed in a change of attitude within the Russian Orthodox Church, so that it could contribute to the establishment of a Christian society. [99] As for theocracy, he continued to believe that it could be realised until no later than 1896, whereas he never wavered from the belief regarding the coming of the church reunification. [100] Significantly, he believed that this event would be preceded by the publication of his own work. [101] However, an interesting shift occurred. In the 1880s, he considered church reunion to be a first step, a condition for universal reconciliation, whereas in 1900, in 'Kratkaja povest' ob Antikhriste', church reunion clearly happens in extremis at the very end of history, just before the second coming of Christ. [102]

Solov'ev not only addressed churchmen and theologians in his considerations on church history, theological debates and vision of church reunion. More significantly, perhaps, his target was the church at large, namely the Christian community, in Russia to begin with. Strikingly, apart from exhorting them to act in conformity with the Christian principles of love, solidarity and justice, he gave no practical instructions on how to organise Christian society. He rather focused on the individual choice that everyone should make in favour of these principles. This point is examined in the following subsection.

iii) Religious leaders and common individuals

Solov'ev pointed to eminent individuals who acted in history and contributed to the ideal of the humanity of God, and emphasised the vertical relationship between these people and God by recurrently mentioning their being 'elected.' These were firstly the Old Testament figures of Abraham and Isaac, who were elected by God to enter into a bond with Him and asked to get rid of their human bonds.
God also chose some privileged people who became the prophets of the Old Testament. [103] Jesus subsequently chose the apostles to continue his work on earth. [104] Later, the church fathers were central actors in establishing the canon. [105] Solov'ev also greatly esteemed a number of popes, Leo the Great in particular, as he had taken the initiative of the 4th ecumenical council in 451 in Chalcedon, which condemned monophysitism, and died as a martyr. As far as Russian figures are concerned, Solov'ev only dealt with Saint Vladimir, the baptiser of Russia. [106]

Monophysitism (from the Greek monos meaning 'one, alone' and physis meaning 'nature'), or Monophysiticism, is the Christological position that Christ has only one nature, his humanity being absorbed by his Deity, as opposed to the Chalcedonian position which holds that Christ maintains two natures, one divine and one human. As monophysitism is contrary to the orthodox Chalcedonian Creed it has always been considered heretical by the Western Church and most of the Eastern Church. A brief definition of Monophysitist Christology can be given as: "Jesus Christ, who is identical with the Son, is one person and one hypostasis in one nature: divine-human."

Monophysitism, by Wikipedia

In addition to these famous figures, and more importantly perhaps, Solov'ev held that every individual could and had to contribute in his or her own way to the Christian cause. Ludolf Muller has correctly labelled this emphasis on the subjective choice of engaging in Christian life and the historical aspect of this decision Solov'ev's Entscheidungseschatologie. [107] Christians' personal attitude is indeed the condition for universal salvation through prayer, almsgivings, and fasting. [108] In a period when Solov'ev had become pessimistic about the power of his fellow believers in his country, his call also went beyond the Christians. He declared that the spirit of Christ acts even through non-believers, who had made central contributions to history. [209] Provokingly, Solov'ev referred to the apostles Thomas (the sceptic) and Judas (the betrayer) as examples for the true and nominal believers of his day. [110] In this way, Solov'ev sought to awaken the Christian believers among his fellowmen from their lethargy so that they would engage in the construction of a Christian society.

To summarise, Solov'ev developed a Christian theology of history, which he structured through the category of the humanity of God. From the first human intellectual productions until the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth, which signified the end of history, an increasing unification of God and humanity was taking place. This was a fact to which every Christian individual and institution should contribute. Solov'ev's future-oriented discourse testifies to his perception of his own time as a moment of crisis, in which the choice had to be made between the right path towards the good, and the wrong path towards evil, a choice all the more difficult since evil was assuming increasingly disguised forms. He ascribed the role of main actors of this universal task to the divine Trinity, the church and the individual. His project of reinvigorating Christianity involved an intellectual task too, namely that of combining faith and speculative reason, against the predominance of the former in conservative Orthodoxy and of the latter in Western rationalism.

2. The Dialogue

a) The Eastern Church fathers

Eastern Christian theology, and especially the patristic literature, provided Solov'ev with the framework for his theological conception of history. He particularly admired two authors, Origen of Alexandria and Maximus Confessor, and drew from their elaborations in the fields of Christology and eschatology when developing his theory of the humanity of God.

I base my analysis primarily on Solov'ev's entries written for the Brokgauz-Efron encyclopaedia. It is unclear which criteria Solov'ev applied in choosing and writing about a particular church father. In any case, neither sanctity, nor heresy was used as a criterium. [111] It should be noted that the Russian philosopher hardly dealt with the most significant Western church father, Augustine of Hippo (354-430). Apart from theological reasons, which are examined below, another reason relates to the time at which Solov'ev collaborated with the Brokgauz-Efron encyclopaedia. He wrote from 1891 to 1900 and covered the Russian letters V to S. The entries under the letter A had already been published, and those after S were not yet written, otherwise there is a great chance that Solov'ev would have written entries on Augustine, Bonaventura, and Thomas Aquinas, to name only a few central figures in Christian thought.
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Re: History, Sophia and the Russian Nation: A Reassessment o

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Part 2 of 3

i) Origen of Alexandria

Solov'ev found inspiration in the founding father of the patristic tradition, Origen (175-254), who lived one century before the first ecumenical council.
Origen was the most controversial and simultaneously the most influential author in the development of early Christian eschatology as an integral component of Christian theological reflection. [112] Although he was condemned as a heretic three centuries after his death at the fifth ecumenical council, and thus formally is not a church father, he 'is foundational to the Greek East in a way analogous to the role Augustine of Hippo plays in the West.' [113] In his eschatological thought he emphasised the continuity between present Christian life and its eschatological goal, and regarded creation as a whole as a free growth towards God. Bearing this point in mind, Solov'ev's attraction to his thought can be easily understood.

To date, no study has been conducted on the precise influence of Origen on Solov'ev, and such a study is indeed rendered difficult as Solov'ev hardly ever mentioned Origen's name. Even the work by A. Nikol'skij entitled Russkij Origen XIX veka Vl. S. Solov'ev [Nineteenth-Century Origen Vl. S. Solov'ev] does not broach the issue. [114] Two significant exceptions provide some insight into Solov'ev's views on the Alexandrian theologian, namely the comprehensive entry 'Origen' which Solov'ev wrote for the encyclopaedia, and an unpublished entry, entitled 'Bolotov', on the work of his contemporary, theologian V.V. Bolotov, on Origen. [115] In both texts, Solov'ev showed a profound knowledge of Origen and the scholarly literature on this figure, who he considered to be 'one of the most independent and richly talented minds in the entire history of the church.' [116] The two texts contrast between a highly positive appreciation of Origen in 'Bolotov' and a foremost critical assessment in 'Origen'. [117]

Two historical aspects of Origen's thought interested Solov'ev, namely the figure of Jesus Christ, and salvation. With respect to these two issues, Solov'ev showed himself both supportive and critical of Origen. On the one hand, Solov'ev praised the acknowledgment by Origen of 'the real unification of the Divine Person (Bozestvennoe Lico] with the perfect human being, without the distinctive properties of either nature' being eliminated. [118] In other terms, he approved of the definition of Jesus Christ as divine and human, which was, he said, in conformity with the dogma. Whether Origen's Christology genuinely served as a source of inspiration for him, or was merely an echo of Solov'ev's own preoccupations with Bogocelovecestvo, remains unsolved. In support of the hypothesis of inspiration, we could mention Solov'ev's literal translation into Russian of the term first coined by Origen, the substantive God-human [theanthropos] to refer to Jesus Christ. [119] But Solov'ev did not explicitly use the term in this entry, perhaps in order to show distance from the heretic. Yet he also voiced criticism of the way in which Origen had dealt with Jesus Christ. The ancient theologian had placed too much emphasis on the abstract meaning of the resurrection of Jesus. In this sense, he had misunderstood the true meaning of Christianity, which precisely aimed at making God's gesture as concrete and lively as possible, that is, accessible not so much to bright minds as actually 'only to those people who stood at a low level of spiritual development.' [120] Solov'ev hereby sought to demonstrate the convincing force of God's incarnation in flesh and blood for the people who lived at that time, as well as for the following generations. [121]

Solov'ev also had a two-fold attitude with respect to Origen's view of salvation. [122] On the one hand, he found a confirmation of his own intuition of a total, universal reunification in God in Origen's formula of salvation as the restoration of all things [he apokatastasis ton panton]. His translation of the Greek term apokatastasis by 'reunification' [vossoedinenie] and 'reintegration' [voostanovlenie] suggests that he tended to identify his own ideal of salvation with Origen's concept of restoration. [123] However, with this translation Solov'ev operated a shift of emphasis, which rather points to the factor of unity, whereas Origen's apokatastasis refers to a return to the primordially established order. [124] On the other hand, he was critical of Origen's conception of salvation. He objected that salvation included not only free rational beings, as Origen had affirmed, but also the human body and the entire natural world. In his eyes, Origen professed a dualism between the material and the spiritual, which he had inherited from Hellenism, and which contradicted the true Christian message of reconciliation between the two spheres. [124]

At this point, Solov'ev's interpretation of Origen's theory raises two important questions. Firstly, the necessary salvation of all free rational beings, professed by Origen, also applied to the devil. [126] Solov'ev hastily refuted this thesis from a dogmatic perspective, arguing that this teaching was not in conformity with the biblical and apostolic teaching. He also showed that it was inconsistent with Origen's own emphasis on the freedom of will; [127] the reproach of determinism in this view appears between the lines. However, the criticism that Solov'ev addressed to the coercive application of apokatastasis to humanity as a whole could just as well apply to his own view of salvation. The other problem that Solov'ev overlooked was that if, following Origen, all beings are eventually restored in God, the ideas of a Last Judgement and of a Hell become irrelevant. [128] Considering Solov'ev did not deal with the issues of a Last Judgement and of Hell, we have to conclude that they did not have priority. [129]

To summarise, although Solov'ev was well informed regarding Origen scholarship, he criticised him unfairly on several points. Probably basing himself on well-known quotations and on the traditional interpretation, rather than on extensive textual analysis, he reduced the thought of this founding father to some points that Origen's detractors also used, especially the view of a universal and incorruptible [netlennoe] salvation. Nevertheless, Solov'ev found two key elements in Origen that served his theory of the humanity of God, namely a definition of Jesus Christ as the God-human, and an optimistic and total conception of salvation in terms of restoration in God. These two points received further elaboration in the thought of Maximus Confessor.

ii) Maximus Confessor

Maximus Confessor (580-662) was the last great creative theologian of Greek patristic literature. As in the other fields of his speculative theology, he also sought to integrate the biblical and church tradition in his eschatology into a broad, comprehensive and coherent vision of the working of God in history. [130] While the decisive influence of Maximus Confessor on the Russian philosopher has been acknowledged, I focus on the properly historical aspects of this influence. [131] In Maximus' Christology, Solov'ev found the structural element for his theology of history, namely the synthesis of God and man in Jesus Christ: Maximus Confessor 'edifie[s] the whole reality of the natural and supranatural world on the Chalcedonian dogma, i.e. on the synthesis of God and man in Christ.' [132] Solov'ev had a high esteem for the master, who was 'after Origen the strongest philosophical mind in the Christian East.' [133]

In his short entry 'Maksim Ispovednik' written for the Brokgauz-Efron, rather than expanding on Maximus himself, Solov'ev focused on the central significance of his struggle against the heresy of monothelitism, which was condemned at the sixth ecumenical council at Constantinople in 680. Monothelitism denied the existence within Jesus Christ of a divine and a human will [thelesis], and hereby contested 'the essence itself of Christianity as a divine-human religion.' [134] Against the success of monothelitism, Maximus had succeeded in establishing that two wills were active in Jesus Christ, and that therefore human will was dependent on God but not passive. What was at stake for Maximus was the preservation of human freedom: this point is central, and appears elsewhere in Solov'ev's theological considerations on monothelitism. [135] The Russian philosopher also acknowledged Maximus' fundamental role in the history of Christian thought as the mediator between 'the Greek-Christian theosophy and the medieval philosophy of the West.' [136] However, the shortness of the entry is striking, as is Solov'ev's laconism on the term divine-human. Maximus had raised it as the cornerstone of his worldview, and was in this respect Solov'ev's predecessor. It remains unclear why the Russian thinker, even though he mentioned the term in the entry, did not make explicit that it was Maximus himself who had introduced it.

Solov'ev also found support in Maximus' thought for another point that he wanted to make clear, especially to those conservative thinkers who were hostile to Catholicism in his day, namely a positive valuation of Roman papacy. On several occasions, he emphasised the fact that, together with Theodore of Studion and John of Damascus, Maximus had acknowledged the authority of Rome. [137] The Russian philosopher wanted to prove, contrary to the commonly accepted view in Orthodox circles, that the authoritative ecumenical councils had not condemned Roman papacy. [138] He even provided historical evidence of early close collaboration between the churches before the schism by showing that each time Byzantine emperors had interfered in religious matters and threatened the freedom of the church, its representatives, namely Maximus, John Chrysostom, Saint Flavian, Saint Theodore of Studion, and patriarch Saint Ignatius had turned to the pope for protection and support. [139]

These two points on which Solov'ev drew from Maximus, namely the existence of true free human will in Jesus Christ and the recognition of papal authority, are intimately linked. As a matter of fact, the Roman papacy is the representative of the divine-human principle of Jesus Christ in the church. This is the crux of his theology of history, and a central reason why he took distance from the Slavophiles.

Since Origen and Maximus, however, much time had passed and Solov'ev levelled criticism at those who still stuck exclusively to the church fathers. In his eyes, Russian theology was leaning upon formulations made in the 7-8th centuries, as if since the last great teachers of the East, Maximus Confessor and John of Damascus, the human mind had not raised new questions, and as if modern European philosophy and science had nothing to offer to contemporary theologians. [140] With this statement he was targeting two flaws. Firstly, there was no autonomous and comprehensive discipline of theology in his country. [141] Solov'ev held German scholarly biblical criticism in high esteem and vividly encouraged Russian theologians to follow this method. [142] Secondly, and just as importantly, he sought to counter Eastern Christian tradition with an activist reading of the Christian message. Solov'ev saw the enemy of this conception in the medieval Orthodox monasticism -- this was also characteristic of patristic literature, which considered the highest goal and destiny of man to be union with God in monasticism. In this sense, the question of the influence of the patristic concept of theosis, or deification, on Solov'ev remains controversial. On the one hand, Gustavson affirms that theosis is the cornerstone of Solov'ev's theory of salvation. [143] On the other hand, Valliere argues that rather than on theosis, Solov'ev based himself on Jesus' renunciation of divine nature or kenosis. [144] This question can only be effectively solved within the framework of a theological investigation of both concepts in Maximus and Solov'ev, which goes beyond the objective of this study. Incontestably, however, Solov'ev expanded the notion of theosis in order to embrace all human beings, and not only the monastic orders, as the early church fathers had claimed. [145] Indeed, in his eyes, salvation could only be accomplished together with humanity as a whole.

One final comment is needed with respect to Solov'ev's quasi-silence on the most influential Western church father, Augustine of Hippo. [146] Undoubtedly, the Russian philosopher knew Augustine's work: his contributions to the encyclopaedia attest to his thorough knowledge of Western as well as Eastern theology. However, he did not hold Augustine in great esteem, as his comments show. In this respect, he was in line with mainstream Orthodox and Slavophile mistrust with respect to Western theology, although his motives had to do with specifically theological matters.

In fact, Solov'ev criticised Augustine's conception of predestination for not leaving any space for God's action and prevision [predvidenie]. [147] Besides, he rejected the Augustinian model of the two Realms on the basis of an inaccurate reduction of it to the Realm of the Christians vs. the Realm of the pagans, and concluded that this model reinforced the separation between the (Christian) church and the (pagan) state, thereby denying any positive religious content of the state. [148] Solov'ev also explained that the theologian's views entailed a potential misunderstanding, namely that only the will of God was determinant, not that of man, which suggested that sin was almost completely irredeemable. For the conception of history, this implied a submission to God's will and the suppression of rational human will, consequently a quietism, and predestination of evil. These conclusions, which the Pelagian followers of Augustine had drawn, were contrary to Solov'ev's emphasis on the participation of man in history, God's commitment to the world, and the decisive role of human freedom. [149] In other terms, it proposed a scheme of history exclusively dominated by the figure of God. This conception, together with Augustine's emphasis on original sin, predestination, and grace, conveyed a darker worldview that reduced human freedom and was alien to Eastern Christianity, and to Solov'ev. [150] Nevertheless, he shared the entire theological framework of thinking about history with the African theologian, and, among others, an all-embracing philosophy of biblical history, and the parallel between the days of creation and the periodisation of history. The Augustinian model, in particular that of the two Realms, bore similarities with the history of the humanity of God professed by the Russian thinker by its framework, dualism between good and evil, conception of time, and actors. Solov'ev, however, cast the traditional theological view of history into a modern mould.

b) Russian religious thinkers

In addition to the Greek church fathers, Solov'ev further found inspiration in his own national culture, namely mid-19th century Russian religious thought. Among the authors who inspired Solov'ev, I primarily focus on the founding fathers of Slavophilism, Aleksej Khomjakov (1804-1860), who was the leading theologian of Slavophilism, and Ivan Kireevskij, its major philosopher (1806-1856), and further Fedor Tjutcev (1803-1873) and Fedor Dostoevskij (1821-1881).

ii) The theoreticians of Slavophilism

Solov'ev's theological framework of history and Russia's role in it bore a clear Slavophile stamp. Humanity is torn in a primarily religious conflict between the Eastern and Western civilisation, or between Byzantium and Rome. The Slavophiles' identification of Orthodoxy as the only bearer of true Christianity and their related rejection of Catholicism profoundly influenced Solov'ev's early views, from 1877 up to 1881. In this respect, Solov'ev assumed the conception of the Orthodox Church as developed by Khomjakov, as an organism of truth and love which is described as symphony or conciliarity [sobornost'] [151] Only Orthodoxy had succeeded in preserving both freedom and unity, while Catholicism had sacrificed the former, and Protestantism the latter. [152]

Such a glorification of Orthodoxy led Ivan Aksakov (1823-1886) and Jurij Samarin (1819- 1876) to emphasise the historical destiny of the Orthodox Russian nation. [153] Solov'ev's original contribution was to properly messianise their conception of holy Orthodox Russia. [154] That Dostoevskij placed the first milestone for such a turn is demonstrated below. Instead of ascribing the task of preserving Christianity to Russia, which found support in a past-oriented conception of Russia, Solov'ev advocated the mission of a future regeneration of humanity. In this respect, the transformation he performed was radical: he moulded their idea in an eschatological perspective of a final incarnation of divinity in the world, which was absent in their considerations. This different perspective may explain why Solov'ev did not pick up typically nostalgic views on an ideal earlier Russia, such as the idea of the peasant commune. Interestingly, he also came to redefine his messianism by stripping it of its initial nationalistic touch and by bringing to the fore the ethical notions of obligation and serving instead of privilege. [155]

Russia's historical task did not stop at realising Christian society, but should also entail a philosophy capable of overcoming the schism between (Eastern) faith and (Western) reason. Solov'ev's reflections on this issue reveal the influence of Kireevskij's philosophical programme. [156] Contrary to what the West claimed, it was not reason but faith that embodied supreme rationality and that should lie at the basis of the most consistent system, 'integral knowledge' [cel'noe znanie ]. [157] Solov'ev also assumed Khomjakov's broad definition of faith, which should function as the foundation of all cognition. [158] For this purpose, patristic thought proved insufficient, Solov'ev argued, and needed to be enriched with the experience of reason. He proposed to adapt the results of Western science to the Christian faith, which still lived in Eastern Orthodoxy and elaborated on the concept of integral knowledge or 'living knowledge [zivoznanie).' [159] This aspect of Solov'ev's thought, which in fact belongs to his epistemology, is worth mentioning here because he regarded this synthesis in messianic terms, as the task that Russia had to accomplish. [160]

However, Solov'ev changed his historical views and distanced himself from the Slavophiles. The most important impulse for this move was his fascination, since the beginning of the 1880s, with Catholicism, which led him to the idea of church reunion, against the anti-Catholicism of Slavophiles such as editor Ivan Aksakov, in whose journal Solov'ev published at that time. [161] Solov'ev made a distinction between Catholicism and papism, and made his divergence from the Slavophiles explicit in a fervent letter to Ivan Aksakov:

It seems to me that you only see papism, whereas I see above all great and holy Rome, the eternal city, a fundamental and inseparable part of the universal Church. I believe in this Rome, I venerate it, adore it with all my heart, and with all the powers of my soul desire its regeneration for the sake of the unity and wholeness of the universal church; let me be cursed as a patricide if ever I cast a word of condemnation at the sanctity of Rome. [162]

The criticism of the Slavophiles that was most significant for Solov'ev's theology of history was expressed in articles collected in the second book of Nacional'nij vopros (1888-1891). But his attempt to take explicit distance from his earlier masters prompted him to voice a criticism which was far too harsh to be fair, and rather resembled a trial. [163] His central point was the Slavophiles' treatment of Western and Russian church history. Focusing on Khomjakov's interpretation of Western Christianity, he condemned his tendency to generalise the negative aspects of historical phenomena, to reduce them to one principle (unity at the expense of freedom achieved by Catholicism, and freedom at the expense of unity achieved by Protestantism), and to oppose it to Eastern Christianity (the only Christian confession that had preserved 'synthesis of unity and freedom in love'). [164] According to Solov'ev, not only Catholicism, but also the Orthodox Church was based on authority. In addition, Khomjakov was not consistent with Russian church history, which he did not handle in the same concrete way, as a result of which he glorified Orthodoxy as an ideal already achieved. [165] The Slavophiles 'confused their ideals with the facts of history.' [166] In this context, Solov'ev positively valued the changes brought to Orthodoxy by patriarch Nikon and by Peter the Great. Finally, the Slavophile teaching of the church did not even have the privilege of being new, since its sources lay in German theology and French traditionalism, as he added provokingly. [167] He concluded that Khomjakov had perhaps professed an ideal Christianity, but had given it a twist by affirming that it was to be found in Greco-Russian Orthodoxy. [168]

ii) Fedor Tjutcev

The new representatives of the Slavophile thought preached a nationalist 'russification of the state' rather than the universalist aspects of Christianity. [169] Against these views, Solov'ev introduced the idea of a universal Russian Christian empire, for the conception of which he found support in the views of the diplomat and poet Tjutcev. The latter's view of Russia as world monarchy and his positive valuation of Rome particularly attracted the philosopher. [170] Against the Slavophiles, he shared with Tjutcev the valuation of the state as a positive force in history, and the conviction of the primacy of Rome as the only pillar of Christianity. But his scheme was a reversal of Tjutcev's conception. Because the Eastern Church had caused the schism, it was up to the Eastern Church to return to universal church, and not to Rome, as Tjutcev affirmed. Solov'ev was remote from Tjutcev's imperialistic view of Russia as universal monarchy, involving the conquest of European (German, Italian) territories. More fundamentally, he could not agree with Tiutcev's rejection of religious progress, as a result of which he saw the future empire as an end in itself, and not, as Solov'ev emphasised, as the best instrument of religious progress that ultimately led to the Kingdom of God. Walicki has rightly concluded that 'Solov'ev transformed Tjutcev's ideas, as well as the Slavophile retrospective idea, in the spirit of religious messianism, stressing the need for a progressive evolution of Christianity, and thus posing a threat to all sorts of institutionalised Orthodoxy.' [171]

iii) Fedor Dostoevskij

The relationship and mutual inspiration between Fedor Dostoevskij and Solov'ev has been extensively analysed. [172] Solov'ev had a personal bond with Dostoevskij. [173] Both thinkers were vividly concerned with the issues of the implementation of a Christian society on earth, the moral question of the realisation of good, its justification as well as the justification of evil. Both formulated the tension between God-man and man-God. Focussing on Dostoevskij's possible influence on Solov'ev's theology of history, I discuss four aspects: messianism, theocracy, the humanity of God, and apocalypticism. Against a general tendency in scholarship and against Solov'ev's own affirmations at his commemorative speeches of Dostoevskij, I hold that it is only with regard to the first and the third issue that one can perhaps speak of a direct influence of the novelist on the philosopher.

The messianism that Dostoevksij voiced in his 'Rec' o Puskine' [Address on Puskin, 1880] contained inspiring elements for Solov'ev. Dostoevskij sketched an image of future Russia as the reconciler of 'all European controversies' by its 'all-human and all-unifying Russian soul', and more globally, the hope that Russia would 'utter the ultimate word of great, universal harmony, of the fraternal accord of all nations abiding by the law of Christ's Gospel.' [174] The notion of the universal mission of the Russian nation had already been expressed in Dostoevskij's novel Besy [The Possessed], published in 1872-1873. [175] Had Solov'ev found his source of inspiration there when he wrote on the reconciling power of Russia? [176] The motive of a future universalisation of Christianity through reconciliation between the nations could not but fit into Solov'ev's view. He explicitly acknowledged Dostoevskij's ability to 'approach this ideal [... ] to a greater extent than the old Slavophiles', to formulate it in 'a completely true, though a most general form', and 'more emphatically than all the Slavophiles.' [177]

In connection with the issue of messianism, the question arises as to Dostoevskij's influence on Solov'ev's conception of free theocracy, which he also developed in the late 1870s. In his eyes, Dostoevskij's last novel Brat ja Karamazovy [The Brothers Karamazov] addressed a topic about which he was dreaming himself, namely 'the Church as the positive social ideal.' [178] Although evidence can be found of the kinship between the two thinkers, notably on the basis of Brat ja Karamazovy, Stremooukhoff's argument that Solov'ev developed his conception of theocracy independently from the Russian novelist is convincing. [179] Besides, it seems that Dostoevskij did not believe in the penetration of the church into governmental affairs. [180]

Concerning the notion of the humanity of God [Bogoceloveeestvo], which Solov'ev explicitly connected with Dostoevskij's life and work in his commemorative speeches, the novelist perhaps only played a role by the vivid example of his life and work. Solov'ev was deeply fascinated by the victory of the good in which the novelist believed, even after experiencing the darkest evil of life. [181] Dostoevskij had the genius to describe in lively terms the inverted example of the God-human, i.e. man-God [celovekobog]. Solov'ev confronted these two types in his criticism of Nietzsche and in his description of Antichrist. [182] More generally, he interpreted Dostoevskij's spiritual life in his own terms. The novelist had believed in the God-human and in the humanity of God, or in other words, in Jesus Christ and in the church. [183]

Finally, the issue of the influence of Dostoevskij's apocalyptic thought on that of Solov'ev has to be broached. The topics of apocalypse and Antichrist were not unique to the two thinkers. In the ending 19th century, they were part of the worldview of such famous thinkers as Nikolaj Fedorov (1829-1903), Konstantin Leont' ev (1831-1891), and Vasilij Rozanov (1856-1919). [184] But Dostoevskij's 'Legenda o velikom Inkvizitore' [Legend of the Great Inquisitor] had a tremendous effect on his contemporaries, who saw in it a key to interpreting their epoch in universal and eschatological terms. The striking parallels and differences between specifically Dostoevskij's 'Legenda' and Solov'ev's 'Kratkaja povest' ob Antikhriste' have been extensively analysed. [185] These two stories 'can be considered the culmination of Dostoevskij's and Solov'ev's immersion into the metaphysical confrontation between the God-human, Christ, and the man-god, the Antichrist.' [186] The most obvious parallels are that both the Great Inquisitor and the Antichrist, animated by a hate of Jesus Christ whom they regard as their only competitor, are the charismatic champions of a structured utopia, and remove freedom from their subjects while guaranteeing material welfare. [187] However, three significant differences come to the fore between the two stories. [188] Solov'ev did not place his story in medieval times, but in an imminent future. Even though the Great Inquisitor projects a vivid picture of the future of humanity, Solov'ev described the Antichrist's action as a more immediate and apocalyptic warning and threat for his readers. Secondly, his Eurasianist Antichrist appears more as the product of historical developments. He has a global range of power resulting from the global political and strategic situation, after a world war and the Mongol domination over the planet as a whole, whereas Dostoevskij's Great Inquisitor in principle operates in Spain only, or at least in Christian Europe. Thirdly, Solov'ev made of his Antichrist a total ruler. His power was not limited to the religious domain, as that of the Great Inquisitor, but extended to the political, economic, social, and even intellectual domains. [189] This shift in emphasis reveals Solov'ev's ambition to embed his apocalyptic story in his own time. In addition, by linking Nietzscheanism with the Antichrist, Solov'ev adapted Dostoevskij's exclusive attack on Roman Catholicism and radical socialism to the intellectual challenges of fin de siecle Russia.

In sum, Solov'ev found inspiration in Origen and Maximus for their conception of Jesus Christ as the God-human, and especially in Maximus' view of the union of two independent wills, the divine and the human will. From Origen, he also borrowed the notion of restoration of all things at the end of history. Solov'ev's theology of history was further deeply embedded in the Russian context. The regenerating mission of Orthodox Russia in the destiny of humanity as a whole formed the core of Solov'ev's early preoccupation with the implementation of the good on earth. From the Slavophiles, he borrowed a religious perspective on Russia and its role in universal history, torn between Eastern and Western Christianity. Tjutcev gave him the instruments to defend a Christian universalism with the revived concept of universal monarchy, and Dostoevskij paved the way for his messianic discourse on Russia's obligation with respect to the world and activated the twofold terms 'humanity of God' and 'God-human' in Russian literature. With respect to all these thinkers, Solov'ev did not limit himself to borrowing, but engaged in a critical discussion with the aim of formulating a theology of history appropriate to his time.


To what extent did Solov'ev succeed in introducing a new conception of history, if compared to the underdeveloped Orthodox theology of history? He proposed a theology of history that emphasised the relevance of the Christian dogmas, of religious development and of implementing Christian principles in concrete situations in the modern world. In particular, he offered a successful combination of transcendence and historicity in his treatment of the church. Its task should go beyond the traditional duty of preserving tradition: activism is needed, a commitment to the immanent world, which Solov'ev justified by virtue of its affiliation to God. His introduction of speculative thought allowed him to bring into Orthodox theology elements of renewal, such as a historical discussion of the development of dogmas and the different confessions. However, there were several flaws in his treatment. It was neither fully epistemologically backed nor exhaustively worked out. Rather than devoting his whole life to the study of church history, Solov'ev seems to have assimilated its core aspects, and then to have investigated history not in order to do research, but rather to find a verification of his own intuitions. In this respect, history for him consisted rather of a field of revelation than of investigation. Perhaps because of his teleological and deterministic scheme of humanity of God that pervades history, there seems to be no total freedom for man to orient the historical process towards another end. Another weakness concerns his ecclesiology. The view that the universal church must eventually come down to humanity tends to ignore the "distinctiveness of the church as a sacramental community.' [190] The excessive use of speculation has also been the target of criticism by theologians. [191] They have rightly reproached him for ascribing insufficient significance to faith, and for being abstract in his considerations on Christology. [192] Solov'ev's conception of the Trinity was indeed so speculative that it was no longer a mystery in his constructions and thus left little room for faith. Besides, he neglected the person and the historical figure of Jesus Christ, so that his Christology as a whole is problematic and abstract. [193] As a result, the realm of the divine is not approached as mystery in Solov'ev's thought. The use of speculative reason diminishes, as it were, the competence domain of faith to a minimum, that is, to the truth of the Scripture and the dogmas. Except in the eyes of h is followers Sergej Bulgakov (1871-1944), Nikolaj Berdjaev (1874-1948), Pavel Florenskij (1882-1937), and perhaps Semen Frank (1877- 1950), Solov'ev seems to have failed to provide a convincing, and primarily Orthodox theology of history.

Beside the fact that his theology of history was not acceptable from an Orthodox standpoint, it had for Solov'ev himself an intrinsic limitation too. It was too tight a framework for the ideas that he was most attached to, namely the positive emphasis on the immanent process and the related view of humanity as main actor, as well as the spiritualization and salvation of matter and nature. Neither of them could find had a place within the idea of the humanity of God. In order to give a central place to the notion of process, he developed a philosophy of history as a complement to theology of history. In his philosophy of history, he positively emphasised the human world in its immanent development. But the problem remained of solving the limitations of both registers and the tension between transcendence and historicity or between theology of history and philosophy of history. He therefore developed his sophiology of history, in which creation as a whole, including nature, is included in the process towards salvation.

Despite these tensions and limitations, however, theology of history was a pillar in his view of history. It allowed him to confirm the divine origin of the church and of the moral principles he believed in. As I will show in my case studies, it also played a central role in his interventions on critical questions of his time.



1. Istorija i buduscnost' teokratii (SS. 4, pp. 243-641: p. 243).

2. Solov'ev was not the only thinker to address this issue. Retrospectively, one can point to a 'Russian school' of theology that existed from approximately 1870 to 1940 and was represented by Nikolaj Bukharev, Vladimir Solov'ev and Sergej Bulgakov (Paul Valliere, Modern Russian Theology. Bukharev, Soloviev, Bulgakov. Orthodox Theology in a New Key (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2000) [abbreviated Valliere 2000a], pp. 1-4). Solov'ev was not acquainted with Bukharev's work but arguably explored this path under the influence of his professor Pamfil Jurkevic (1827-1874), who was "an important link between Orthodox theology and modern philosophy in Russia' (Ibid., p. 111). The Neopatristic school, with Georges Florovsky and Vladimir Lossky as its most famous promoters, emerged in reaction to the Russian school. Against the domination of the present-day debate by the Neopatristic position, Valliere demonstrates the actual relevance of the Russian school's theological thought (Ibid., pp. 373-403).

3. 'O poddelkakh' (S. 1989 2. pp. 305-322: p. 309).

4. This led him to conduct fierce polemics with Russian theologians, professors at religious academics and churchmen, such as father Antonij (Khrapovickij, 1863-1936), Aleksandr Ivancov-Platonov (1835- 1894). Konstantin Istomin (pseudonym Stojanov, 1848-1914) and Nikolaj Zaozerskij (1851-1919).

5. The term was not new: it had been coined by Origen. The translation of Bogocelovecestvo by 'humanity of God' has been convincingly proposed by Paul Valliere 2000a (pp. 11-15). This term is consistent with what Valliere sees as Solov'ev's main objective, as well as that of Bukharev and Bulgakov, that is, to use the term as 'the vehicle for a principled and profound Orthodox Christian humanism' (Ibid., p. 12). Accordingly, the noun bogocelovek is translated by 'the God-human' (ex. p. 11. 154). and the adjective bogoceloveceskij by 'divine-human' (ex. p. 153). Humanity of God is a direct translation from the Greek theandria, theanthropia. Although the term occurs in patristic sources, mostly or Origenist or monophysite tendencies, no theological system was founded on one of these two terms in patristic literature. Theologies of the humanity of God are therefore modern constructs (Ibid., pp. 11-15).

6. Dogmaticeskoe razvite cerkvi v svjazi s voprosom o soedineniem cerkvej (SS. 11, pp. 1-67: p.21).

7. Opravdanie dobra, S. 1988 L pp. 47-548: p. 259; transl.: The Justification of the Good, transl. Natalie Duddington (New York: Macmillan. 1918), p. 172.

8. La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, in E. 1978, pp. 126-297: p. 206.

9. Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve, S. 19892, pp. 5-170: p. 14 (English transl.: Lectures on Divine Humanity, Peter Zouboff (transl.). Boris Jakim (ed.) (Hudson, New York: Lindisfarne press, 1995), p. 10): 'Tri reci v pamjati Dostoevskogo', S. 1988 2, pp. 290-323. 'Tretja rec", p. 315.

10. Valliere 2000a, p. 387.

11. Ibid., p. 144.

12. 'Iz. filosofii istorii'. SS. 6. pp. 340-359: p. 343.

13. This does not mean that Solov'ev was disinterested in these religions: on the contrary. On Hinduism, see the entries for the encyclopaedia 'Indijskaja filosofija' (SS 10, pp. 336- 39). 'Vedanta' (SS. 10. pp. 294-297), 'Dzajmini' (on the Indian philosopher Djaimini, perhaps from Solov'ev's hand (Deutsche Gesamtausgabe der Werke von Wladimir Solowjew, Wladimir Szylkarski, Wilhelm Lettenbauer and Ludolf Muller (transl. and eds.), 8 vols. (Freiburg & Munchen: Erich Wewel Verlag, 1953-1980) [abbreviated DGA]. vol. 6, p. 642). On Judaism, see case study III 'The Jewish Question'.

14. In the present world, the Islamic world was the first force, Solov'ev claimed in 1877 ('Tri sili, PSS I, pp. 199-208: p. 201). Later, he believed that Muslims would be ultimately brought back into the fold of the Christian community. On Islam, see primarily Solov'ev's long essay 'Magomet ego zizn' i ucenie' (1896) (SS 7. pp. 203-281).

15. 'O poddelkakh', pp. 313-314.

16. 'O pricinakh upadka srednevekovogo mirosozercanij', S. 1989 2, pp. 344-355: p. 344 [italics mine].

17. La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, p. 132, 'O pricinakh upadka srednevekovogo mirosozercanija', p. 345.

18. Velikij spor i khristianskaja politika, S. 1989 I. pp. 59-167: p. 86.

19. Dukhovnye osnovy zizni, SS. 3, pp. 301-416: p. 301. Similarly, he maintained the hierarchical superiority of the spiritual over the material.

20. Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve, p. 14, transl. p. 10 [italics mine].

21. Cf. for instance: 'This ideal of the spiritual kingdom of God must be realised by free efforts of humanity' (Istorija i buduscnost' teokratii, p. 615). The issue of Solov'ev's Joachimism has been raised by commentators of Solov'ev's work including Stremooukhoff 1974, von Balthasar 1962, Miiller 1947. Assen Ignatow, 'Solowjow und Berdjaew als Geschichtsphilosophen: Ideen und aktueller Einfluss', Berichte des Bundesinstituts fur ostwissenschaftliche und internationale Studien 3 (1997), pp. 3-31), Patrick de Laubier ("Aspects de l'Eschatologie chez Vladimir Soloviev et St. Bonaventure', in: F.-X. de Guibert (ed.). Oecumenisme et Eschatologie selon Soloviev (Paris: F.-X. de Guibert, 1994) pp. 142-156), and in de Lubac 1981, pp. 416-416. Their conclusions diverge. Three factors of ambiguity can be found, and contested, which strongly suggests that Solov'ev was not a Joachimite thinker. First, Solov'ev did not explicitly reject Joachim of Fiore's own theses. He only mentioned his name as related to the 'false' teaching of a third revelation ("Otkrovenie', SS. 12, p. (13), and, more neutrally, as the precursor to the tripartitions of history ('Iz filosofii istorii', p. 324). But the Russian philosopher also held that the Kingdom of God could not be conceived of separately from the church, contrary to Joachim, who professed that the church instituted by Christ would be overcome (de Lubac, p. 414). As von Balthasar points out, for Solov'ev the church is not the achieved kingdom, but only the kingdom in becoming (von Balthasar 1962. p. 693). What makes it more difficult than von Balthasar suggests, is that Solov'ev did not point to the future steps of this process of becoming, but only to the final result, free theocracy. Second, like Joachim, some passages such as the one quoted above suggest that Solov'ev believed a Kingdom of God on earth would be realised on earth. This incited Ignatow to claim that Solov'ev's conception of the Kingdom of God on earth paved the way for communism (Ignatow 1997. p. 4). However. Solov'ev was in fact referring to a kingdom of God after the end of history, not within its boundaries. Third, Solov'ev did speak of the 'Religion of the Holy Spirit', which he professed, which is exactly the terminology Joachim used (letter to Rozanov. 28.11.1892, in Pis'ma 3, p. 44). He did however emphasise that his religion of the Holy Spirit embraced all other religions. In doing so he repeated a thought he had written in a draft at the beginning of his career [see chapter IV 'Solov'ev's Sophiology of History"]. On the basis of these considerations, we may conclude that Solov'ev was not Joachimite.

22. For instance Opravdanie dobra, pp. 263, 279.

23. 'When it [the supreme ideal principle] is realised, [...] then also it will be the end of history and of the whole world process' ('O pricinakh upadka srednevekovogo mirosozercanija', p. 343).

24. Opravdanie dobra, p. 279, transl. p. 193 [italics Solov'ev's]. See also 'Iz filosofii istorii', p. 349. This is the most constant scheme that we can find in Solov'ev's work. However, Solov'ev proposed various alternative periodisations which drew on analogies with the Bible, such as the seven periods analogous to the seven days of creation similar to Augustine (see Istorija i buduscnost' teokratii, p. 313 ff.), and from the first to the second Adam (Ibid., pp. 573-579), or the four periods in analogy with those of Daniel (Ibid., p. 251). Another periodisation of Christian history is given in Opravdanie dobra, on the basis of the distinction of the three moral principles of piety, pity, and shame: the first period (0- 1400) is characterized by piety, the second (1400-18?0) by pity; the third has just begun, and is marked by the consciousness of the necessity to integrate pity and shame (or asceticism) in material life (Opravdanie dobra, p. 460).

25. Valliere 2000a, p. 149. On the analogy between Schelling and Solov'ev's philosophy of religion, see Paul Valliere, 'Solov'ev and Schelling's Philosophy of Revelation'. in: Wil van den Bercken. Manon de Courten. Evert van der Zweerde (eds.), Vladimir Solov 'ev: Reconciler and Polemicist. Selected Papers of the International Solov 'ev Conference held in Nijmegen, September 1998 (Leuven: Peters, 2000). pp. 119-130 [abbreviated Valliere 2000b], and my chapter IV 'Solov'ev's Sophiology of History' in the present study. See also Ludolf Muller, 'Schelling und Solovjev', in Solovjev und der Protestantismus, mit einem Anhang: V.S. Solovjev und das Judentum (Friburg: Verlag Herder, 1951). pp. 93- 123.

26. Schwaiger has also pointed out Solov'ev's originality in this respect (Schwaiger 2001, p. 363).

27. Indian Buddhism developed pessimism and asceticism. Hellenism developed idealism or the absolute idea of Divinity (Platonism) and monotheism. Judaism the absolute personhood of God while Alexandrian thought developed the determination of the divine principle as the triune God and thereby posited a synthesis of Hellenism and Judaism (Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve, pp. 104-105).

28. Istorija i buduscnost' teokratii, pp. 363, 396. True theocracy started with God instructing Abraham to leave his land (Genesis XII. 1-4). The free sacrifice of man is the first condition for theocracy[/b]. The reason for this election was that Abraham possessed 'theocratic virtues', namely obedience, faith, and zeal (Ibid., pp. 364-366).

29. 'O pricinakh upadka srednevekovogo mirosozercanija', p. 349.

30. Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve, p. 77, transl. p. 75.

31. 'In fact, the originality of Christianity does not lie in its general views but in positive facts, not in the speculative content of its idea but in its personal incarnation' (Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve, p. 78. transl. p. 76). This emphasis on the historical aspect of the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is paradoxical with Solov'ev's treatment of the figure of Jesus Christ, as we shall see in subsection ei). About the influence of Maximus Confessor on the conception of Christ, see subsection fi).

32. ‘O pricinakh upadka srednevekovogo mirosozercanija', p. 350.

33. Solov'ev devoted particular attention to these heresies in Velikij spor i khristianskaja politika, Dogmaticeskoe ravitie cerkvi v svjazi s voprosom o soedineniem cerkvej and the Brokgauz-Efron entries 'Monofiziststvo, monofizity' (SS. 12, pp. 421-424), 'Monofelitstvo' (Ibid., pp. 424-426), 'Nestorij' (SS. 10, pp. 435-436), and 'Nestorjany' (Ibid., p. 435).

34. La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, p. 153.

35. [b]By turning their back on social commitment, the Eastern Church neglected the humanity of God in Jesus Christ, which was a typical Eastern feature
(Velikij spor i khristianskaja politika, p. 97). In his survey of sects and heresies in the Eastern Church from the 1st century onwards. he pointed out that they shared one common thing, namely the 'negation of the real God-human' (Ibid, pp. 88-96, See also La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, p. 135 ff. for an interpretation of heresies as a negation of the humanity of God). His reconstruction of the history of the Christian church from the 4th to the 11th century emphasises the negative attempts made by the Greek clergy to establish the religious centre of Christianity in Constantinople. By contrast, Roman papacy had played a positive role by strengthening its unity and firmness against heresies.

36. In fact, this 'Byzantine orthodoxy' was only an internalised heresy [heresie rentree] (La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, p. 141). Instead of working towards a synthesis of the divine and human by regenerating social and political life, Byzantium first merged the divine and the human in the sacred majesty of the emperor. This is how Eastern 'cesaro- papism' or 'Byzantinism' was created, which 'mixed up, without unifying them, the temporal and the spiritual powers, and made of the autocrat more than a head of the state, without being able to make of him the true head of the church' (La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, p. 142). As a result, religious society was separated from secular society, relegated to monasteries and left to contemplation (Ibid.). Solov'ev considered that Russia in his time was dominated by the same 'Byzantinist' principles, which suggested that it may face the same destiny (DGA 6. p. 578, n. 41). He voiced this view in the entry 'Vizantizm', that was not published: Solov'ev himself asked the editor to keep it because he wanted to use it as one of several articles (Letter to Arsen'ev 1892. Pis'ma 2, p. 76). The entry was probably too polemical to be included in the encyclopaedia. Instead he published these views with respect to Russian history up to Peter the Great in his article 'Vizantizm i Rossija' (1896) (S. 1989 2, pp. 562-601, examined in chapter III 'Solov'ev's Philosophy of History').

37. With respect to the Eastern Church after the schism, Solov'ev voiced his opinion only in passing (Ex.: La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, pp. 177-181). On the schism, see Velikij spor i khristianskaja politika, pp. 103-117. About the evolution of Solov'ev's views with respect to the Catholic church, see subsection eii).

38. Velikij spor i khristianskaja politika, p. 142.

39. In the 15th century, when Byzantium fell to the Muslims, and Russia was freed from the Tatars, the political centre of the Christian East passed from Byzantium to Moscow (Velikij spor i khristianskaja politika, p. 125). Orthodoxy was divided in national churches, which were subordinated to their respective states, hereby receding to cesaro- papism inherited from Byzantium (La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, p. 182). Solov'ev's verdict of cesaro-papism also applies to Russia. Solov'ev did not expand on the history properly speaking of the Russian Orthodox church. On the deed of Vladimir, who baptised Rus', see 'St Vladimir et l'Etat chretien', in E. 1978, pp. 105-116. On Muscovian Rus', see 'Vizantizm i Rossija', pp. 569-576. The episode which held his attention most was the Russian schism, which occurred within the Orthodox church between the official church and the Old believers [see case study II 'The Old Believers'].

40. 'O dukhovnoj vlasti v Rossii', S. 1989 1, pp. 43-58: pp. 44-50; La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, pp. 169 ff.

41. Solov'ev expressed his feelings from 1873 onwards (see Pis 'ma 3, p. 88; SS. 1, p. 239; SS. 3, p. 416; SS. 8, 515; SS. 10, 159; referred to in Muller 1947, pp. 78-79).

42. These symptoms are synonymous with an acceleration of progress, which is the central criterion of the philosophical register of history. They are therefore examined in the following chapter 'Solov'ev's Philosophy of History'.
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Part 3 of 3

43. Letter to Tavernier, E. 1978. p. 337, and 'Kratkaja povest' ob Antikhriste'.

44. Strictly speaking, in 'Kratkaja povest' ob Antikhriste', which stops with the description of Jesus Christ's millennium, it is unclear whether for Solov'ev history was achieved with the end of the millennium, or before, for instance with Jesus' coming, in which case he identified the millennium with the much professed Kingdom of God on earth. More importantly, the scenario provided in 'Kratkaja povest' ob Antikhriste' was for an important part not the fruit of Solov'ev's own prophetic or imaginary power. Apart from influences from John's Apocalypse and the Eastern fathers, it seems that he drew elements for his story from a Protestant mystery: especially the domination over the entire world by the Antichrist as a triumph of order and benevolence (Nikolaj Kotrelev. 'Eskhalologija u Vladimira Solov'eva: k istorii "Trekh razgovorov"', Materialy 2go Mezdunarodnogo simpoziuma po tvorcestvu Vl. Solov'eva "Eskhatologija Vl. Solov'eva". Moskva 23 24 sentjabrja 1992 g. (Moskva [?]: Izd. zurnala "Kontinent", 1993), pp. 19-29). For a discussion of the relationships of Tri razgovora with respect to the Christian tradition, see Muller 1947, pp, 109-112. The motive of Antichrist's philanthropy is also characteristic of Cyril of Jerusalem and Dostoevskij (see Bernard Marchadier, 'Le visage de l'Antechrist chez Vladimir Soloviev', in: de Guibert 1994, pp. 157-167).

45. La Sophia, PSS 2, pp. 8-161: p. 62; 'Vera, opyt i razum' (1877), quoted in Aleksandr Nosov, 'Rekonstrukcija 12-ogo "Ctenija po filosofii religii" V.S. Solov'eva', Simvol 28 (1992), pp. 245-258: p. 250.

46. Strangely, Wenzler's work devoted to freedom and evil in Solov'ev's work does not address this question (Ludwig Wenzler, Die Freiheit und das Bose nach Vladimir Solov 'ev (Freiburg & Munchen: Verlag Karl Alber, 1978).

47. Istorija i buduscnost' teokratii, p, 259,

48. Opravdanie dobra, p. 259, transl. p. 172.

49. Istorija i buduscnost' teokratii, p. 259.

50. Ibid., pp. 258-259.

51. See for instance the preface to Tri razgovora o vojne, progresse i konce mirovoj istorii (S. 1988 2, pp. 635-765: p. 640).

52. Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve, p. 152, transl. p. 155, Jesus Christ 'was born on earth [ ...] for the real salvation of humanity, for the actual deliverance of humanity from the power of the evil force, for the actual revelation of the kingdom of God in humanity' (Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve, p. 153, transl. p. 156).

53. Opravdanie dobra, p. 80, transl. p. x.

54. 'Sergej Mikhailovic Solov'ev', SS. 7, pp. 354-373: p. 356. For a comprehensive analysis of the influence of Sergej Solov'ev on Solov'ev's views of history, see subsection 2b) of chap. III.

55. Hans Gleixner, Vladimir Solov'ev's Konzeption vom Verhaltnis zwischen Politik und Sittlichkeit: System einer sozialen und polilischen Ethik (Frankfurt am Main et al.: Peter Lang, 1978); Wenzler 1978; Alain Besancon, La falsification du bien (Paris: Julliard, 1985).

56. For instance Stremooukhoff 1974, p. 227. Dmitrij Merezkovskij claimed that Solov'ev's obsession with evil 'almost left no traces on his philosophical works. There, everything is balanced and even too polished' (Dmitrij Merezkovskij, 'Nemoj prorok', in Polnoe sobranie socinenij, vol. 12 (Moskva, 1911), pp. 324-337: p. 327).

57. It was only in 'Kratkaja povest' ob Antikhriste' that he exposed his vision of a world totally ruled by the Antichrist, the vassal of Satan. Biographical testimonies report that Solov'ev had visions of the devil, at least in 1899 (memoirs of Koni, quoted in Marina Kostalevsky. Dostoevsky and Soloviev: The Art of Integral Vision (New Haven et al.: Yale University Press. 1997), pp. 66-67).

58. See the five case studies below, made on the basis of Solov'ev's publicistika.

59. Velikij spor i khristianskaja politika, p. 88.

60. Letter to Tavernier (21.7.1888), E. 1978, p. 325.

61. For a definition of eschatology and apocalyptics, see chap. 1.

62. On Solov'ev's treatment of Nietzsche and Nietzscheanism, see Nel Grillaert, 'A Short Story about the Ubermensch: Vladimir Solov'ev's Interpretation of and Response to Nietzsche's Ubermensch', Studies in East European thought 55 (2003). 2, pp. 157-184.

63. For an interpretation of Solov'ev's 'Kratkaja povest' ob Antikhriste' as an answer to Dostoevskij's 'Legenda o velikom Inkvizitore', see subsection 2biii) of the present chapter.

64. Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve, p. 35, transl. p. 32. Solov'ev used a very broad definition of faith, defining it as a cognitive type for which the existence of an object is not conditioned by external sensations or notions, but by the inner unity of the object and the subject in the all-one being. In other terms, faith reveals to us the absolute being of the object. Solov'ev defined faith as the 'expression in the consciousness of a preconscious link of the subject and the object' ('Vera'. SS. 12. p. 553). This very broad definition was borrowed from Khomjakov [see subsection 2bi]. On Solov'ev's conception of faith, see George 1988 and Sutton 1988.

65. 'This point of view, which subordinates the fact to the principle, and belongs rather to a general truth than to the external certitude of material phenomena, is [ ... ] the opinion of the Orthodox Church itself (La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, p. 222 [italics mine]). In order to illustrate this thesis, he referred to a delicate event for the Orthodox Church, namely the construction of the Christian church in Rome. He argued that it was an incontestable fact that the founding stone was transported to Rome, so that one could not reject it without denying the sacred tradition and history itself of Christianity (Ibid.)

66. Solov'ev's erudition on church history and theology appears from about fifty entries that he wrote on these topics for the encyclopaedia, from the letters V to S. He wrote not only on philosophy, for which he was officially responsible, but also on theology and church history. He also quoted the great collections of Greek and Latin texts compiled by Migne and Mansi, as well as excerpts from correspondence of church fathers and from the predications of Leo the Great (DGA 2, pp. 493-498, DGA 3, pp. 435-450). These quotes were sometimes left out in the publications (see for instance S 1989 I. pp. 169-173).

67. 'Ponjatie o Boge', SS. 9, pp. 3-29: p. 14 [italics mine].

68. 'Iz filosofii istorii', p. 343. Solov'ev extensively used the Russian word 'istinnyj', an adjective by which he referred to istina, namely the quality of being conform with God's plan, true according to the absolute, and not to pravda, which designates something true in the relative, logical and moral sense, according to human criteria (Konstantin G. Isupov, 'Wahrheit', in: Franz 2003, p. 474). See also Solov'ev's entry 'Istina' (SS. 12), Teoreticeskaja filosofija and Smysl Ijubvi for elaborations on 'istina'.

69. Velikij spor i khristianskaja politika, p. 98.

70. Valliere 2000a, p. 141.

71. Ibid., pp. 137-139.

72. Ibid., p. 139.

73. From a terminological point of view, it is interesting to note that Solov'ev spoke of God's Promysl and only occasionally of the power of Providenie for significant historical events such as the reign of Peter the Great. (Ex.: Istorija i buduscnost' teokratii, p. 397, L'idee russe, in E. 1978, pp. 85-102: p. 96). In the entry 'Providenie' he only expanded on the Greek original term of pronoia in Socrates, Filon and Plutarch, without any elaboration on modern theories like Providentialism ('Providenie', SS. 10, pp. 266-267).

74. Only on rare occasions did he show modesty with respect to assumptions about God's action in history: 'Recognising in the divinity the absolute fullness of being, we connect to him or bring the world and historical process in a certain correlation with him, we find in the divinity the final founding for the collective history of humanity as well as for the individual history of each human soul. We affirm the decisive presence of the divinity in all events of the world and private life; here everything is acknowledged as non sine numine factum by us. But this only concerns the fact: the middle [sposob] of the divine presence, the quomodo factum, can be completely unknown: we only know that this middle is adequate to God, or corresponds to his absolute substance; we know that the divine as such takes part in the cosmic and the historical process in a divine way [po bozeski]' 'Ponjatie o Boge', pp. 25-26).

75. Valliere 2000a. p. 155.

76. The term Bogocelovek indeed points to both the divine and the human nature of Jesus Christ: to the dogmas. Solov'ev added that these natures have inner unity, which does not hamper a subordination of the material to the divine principle (Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve, pp. 152-153).

77. Richard F. Gustavson, 'Soloviev's Doctrine of Salvation', in: Judith Deutsch Kornblatt and Richard F. Gustavson (eds.), Russian Religious Thought (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1996). pp. 31-48: pp. 37-8.

78. By contrast, Western tradition emphasised the redemptive agony and suffering of Christ as victim (Gustavson 1996, pp. 34-35). For his treatment of the figure of Jesus Christ, Solov'ev was influenced by the Eastern Church fathers [see subsection 2a].

79. See Wil van den Bercken, 'The Macrochristianity of Vladimir Solov'ev: A Collectivist and Geographical Concept of Christian Religion', in: van den Bercken et al. 2000, pp. 63- 4: p. 68; Valliere 2000a, p. 165.

80. Ctenija a Bogocelovecestve, p. 131, transl. p. 132.

81. Accordingly, when he referred to the religion of the Holy Spirit, he arguably had the decisive role of the church in the future in mind (Letter to Rozanov (Pis 'ma 3. p. 44). See also footnote 26.

82. Solov'ev was deeply influenced by the Slavophiles in his conception of the church (see subsection 2a for an analysis of this influence).

83. Dukhovnye osnovy zizni, p. 381; 'O raskole v russkom narode i obscestve', SS. 3,
pp. 245- 280: p. 268; Velikij spor i khristianskaja politika, p. 88. On the concept of
form applied to church, see von Balthasar 1962, p. 694 ff.

84. 'O cerkvi', in Dukhovnye osnovy zizni, pp. 380-402.

85. Ibid., p. 380; Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve, p. 18.

86. Solov'ev's definition of the church as visible and one authority seems to disqualify Protestantism from the outset as one of the pillars of the universal church. However, despite his criticism of the rejection of the church by the Protestants (see Velikij spor i khristianskaja politika, p. 154), Solov'ev esteemed the value of individual freedom and conscience in Protestantism highly. Its representative, Professor Pauli, plays a crucial role in his 'Kratkaja povest' ob Antikhriste'. For an analysis of Solov'ev's views of Protestantism, see Ludolf Muller, 'Solovjevs Verhaltnis zum Protestantismus', in Muller 1951, pp, 9-92. Solov'ev's sustained interest in Protestantism is also shown in the long essay he wrote on the Reformation in Germany 'Reformacija v Germanii po novejsemu issledovaniju', Pravoslavnoe obozrenie, 1885, 8, pp. 698-742. On the context of this writing and inspiration in Protestant sources for his 'Kratkaja povest' ob Antikhriste', see Kotrelev 1993.

87. 'O raskole v russkom narode i obscestve', p. 390, Dukhovnye osnovy zizni, pp. 380-402. Only the hierarchical order of church allows the aversion of egoism and an unauthorised mediation between God and man (Ibid., pp. 383, 395).

88. The term 'Orthodoxy' [pravoslavie] includes the element 'right' or 'correct' [pravo-], which suggests that this branch of the Christian church is the only warrant of Christian faith in its purity and in full conformity with the tradition.

89. Using the metaphor of the seed gradually becoming a tree, he tried to show that since its first imperfect forms, the church had been and still was developing (Dukhovnye osnovy zizni, pp. 392 ff.). In Dogmaticeskoe razvitie cerkvi v svjazi s voprosom o soedineniem cerkvej on this point he followed the Tubingen theological school, especially that of the Catholic theologian Johann Adam Mohler (1796-1838), who conceived of the development of doctrine in terms of organic growth (Cf. entry 'Development of doctrine', in: Adrian Hastings, Alistair Mason and Hugh Pyper, with Ingrid Lawrie and Cecily Bennett (eds), The Oxford Companion of Christian Thought (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 163).

90. Solov'ev did not find a 'definition of the church in its true idea' in the Russian theological tradition of the 18th-19th century, nor in the authoritative source, metropolite Filaret (1783-1867) (Istorija i buduscnost' teokratii, pp. 250-1). In addition, the Slavophile definition of the church remained merely an ideal (La Russie el l'Eglise universelle, p. 166 ff) [see subsection 2bi].

91. See Jacqueline de Proyart, 'Vladimir Soloviev et l'Eglise catholique romaine: La naissance d'une conviction', in: de Guibert 1994. pp. 50-71.

92. Ecumenism begins in your own oikos. Indeed, Solov'ev also preoccupied himself with the Russian Orthodox schismatics, the Old Believers. But strikingly there is no trace of an effort to reunite the autocephalous Greek, Bulgarian, Serbian, and Russian Orthodox churches. According to Stremooukhoff, he was inspired by the 17th century Croat Krizanic's conception or church reunion. Solov'ev considered him as the first Slavophiles (Stremooukhoff 1974, passim).

93. See La Russie et l'Eglise Universelle, p. 208.

94. Ibid., p. 134. Neither Jerusalem, the seat of the national theocracy of the Old Testament, nor Constantinople, the seat of cesaro-papism, could be the seat of universal church (Ibid., pp. 186-188 [italics mine]).

95. Solov'ev also worked at church reunion by trying to convince Catholics in the West (Racki, Strossmayer, Pierling). As for the Russian Orthodox clergy, two examples of a discussion are his invitation from the St. Petersburg Religious academy to present his views on Catholicism in 1886 (Stremooukhoff 1974. p. 191), and his advocating suppression of religious censorship in order to provoke discussion notably on Catholicism (ex.: 'Kak probudit' nasi cerkovnye sily?' (1885) (S 1989 2. pp. 185-188). Otherwise, his collaboration with and address to the Russian clergy seem to have been limited.

96. The filioque issue refers to an addition made by the Western church to the definition of the Holy Spirit as established in the ecumenical council of Constantinople (381). According to this council, the Holy Spirit proceeds from God the Father; according to the addition, also from the Sun. Until this day, the Orthodox reject this addition as an intrusion into an ecumenical statement, and as a theologically incorrect point. As far as papal infallibility is concerned, it was a particularly current issue as it had just been stated in the Vatican I council in 1869-1870. Like all decisions taken after the seven first councils, the Orthodox church, which was moreover overwhelmingly anti-Catholic minded, did not acknowledge this one.

97. His Dogmaticeskoe razvitie cerkvi v svjazi s voprosom o soedineniem cerkvej (1886) aimed at this purpose.

98. Ibid., pp. 63-4.

99. It is difficult to indicate precisely when he became disillusioned on this point. During the famine of 1891-1892, he did not address the church a single time, which suggests that by that time he no longer nurtured hopes regarding its mission.

100. Solov'ev's formulation indeed strongly suggests that the realisation of theocracy will not be imminent: 'If it is certain that truth will be definitely accepted by only a more or less persecuted minority, one must definitely abandon the idea of the exterior power and greatness of theocracy as a direct and immediate goal of Christian politics' (Letter to Tavernier, E. 1978, p. 338). However, he never stopped believing in the reunification of the churches, as a 'moral and religious unity' and the form of human collaboration to Jesus Christ's light against the Antichrist (Ibid., p. 342).

101. Ibid. For an analysis of his role as a prophet, see chap. IV 'Solov'ev's Sophiology of History'.

102. Muller 1947, p. 88. Valliere has tentatively showed that Solov'ev's scenario of church reunion in 'Kratkaja povest' oh Antikhriste' was an answer to Schelling's ecumenism (Valliere 2000b, p. 128).

103. Ctenija o Bogocelovecestve, pp. 74-75.

104. See 'Ucenie XII apostolov' (SS. 4. pro 227-240). Even though the apostles were neither teachers, prophets, bishops nor deacons, they were irreplaceable (Ibid., p. 231).

105. Pis 'ma 3. pp. 204-5.

106. On Vladimir, see 'St Vladimir et l'Etat chretien', op. cit. Solov'ev did not deal extensively with the role of individuals in history, for example in the form of a biographical essay devoted to one particular pope, saint, or starec.

107. Muller 1947, pp. 85-86.

108. Dukhovnye osnovy zizni, pp. 315-350.

109. 'O pricinakh upadka srednevekovogo mirosozercanija', p. 354. This statement scandalised conservatively minded people, and unlashed a fierce polemic. For a comprehensive analysis of this polemic, see Evgenij Barabanov, 'Zabytyj spor', Vestnik russkogo khristianskogo dvizenija 118 (1976), 2, pp. 117-165.

110. 'O pricinakh upadka srednevekovogo mirosozercanija'. p. 355.

111. Solov'ev most probably started to read Origen and Maximus at Sergiev Posad in the mid-1870s. He wrote entries for the encyclopaedia on Origen, Maximus Confessor, and two Cappadocian fathers, Gregory of Caesarea or the Great (SS. 10, pp. 292-4), and Gregory of Nyssa (SS. 12. pp. 573-4), and on a contemporary of Origen Gregory Thaumaturge (Ibid., p. 574), although his authorship of the two latter entries is not certain (DGA 6, p. 640). Strikingly, he did not complete this set with the third Cappadocian father, Gregory of Nazianzus (also called the Theologian), or with John of Damascus and John Chrysostom. Other authors wrote on church history for the encyclopaedia, for instance Professor N. Barsov on John the Baptist and John the Theologian ('Ioann Krestitel' i Ioann Bogoslov') and Professor A. Lopukhin on John Chrysostom ('Ioann Zlatoust').

112. Brian Daley, with the collaboration of Josef Schreiner and Horacio E. Lona, Eschatologie in der Schrift und Patristik, in: Michael Schmaus, Alois Grillmeyer, Leo Scheffczyk and Michael Seybold (eds.), Handbuch der Dogmengeschichte, vol. 4 (Freiburg. Basel & Wien: Herder, 1986), p. 122. A reason why Origen was controversial relates to the fact that he never bothered to define a doctrine in the proper sense of the word, and worked by throwing up hypotheses, resulting in a great deal of tension and contradictions in his works (Henri Crouzel, Les fins dernieres selon Origene (reprint of separate articles: Aldershot & Brookfield: Variorum, 1990), p. 283).

113. Michael Prokurat, Alexander Golitzin, Michael D. Peterson (Lanham & London: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1996). Historical Dictionary of the Orthodox Church (Lanham & London: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1996), pp. 245-6. The question as to which authors should be regarded as 'church lathers', and not only teachers or doctors of the church, has received different answers throughout history. 'Today only those who combine these four necessary qualifications are to be regarded as 'Fathers of the Church': orthodoxy of doctrine, holiness of life, ecclesiastic approval, and antiquity' (Johannes Quasten. Patrology, 4 vols., vol. 1 (Utrecht & Antwerpen: Het Spectrum, 1950), p. 10). The Greek Orthodox Church only venerates three great ecumenical teachers, namely Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, and John Chrysostom (Ibid.). In contrast, Rome acknowledges, in addition to the three fathers mentioned, Athanasius, and four Western fathers, Ambrose of Milan, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory the Great.

114. Despite the promising title, A. Nikol'skij did not go beyond very general remarks on Solov'ev's defence of Christianity in his Russkij Origen XIX veka Vl. S. Solov'ev (1st publ. 1902; Sankt-Peterburg: Nauka, 2000). Losey only devoted a couple of pages to the issue of the influence or Origen on Solov'ev, first to criticise Nikol'skij's conclusions and then to point to Solov'ev's own tendency of subordinationism in his treatment of Trinity (Losev 2000, pp. 151-157). We do know that Solov'ev consulted literature on Origen in 1890 (his notes on a copy book were published in: Mark Smirnoy. 'Zapisnaja knizka', Logos 50 (1995), pp. 267-278, see esp. p. 273).

115. 'Origen' (SS. 10, pp. 439-449). 'Bolotov' (Pis'ma 4, pp. 298-308). Solov'ev probably wrote 'Bolotov' in 1889. In a letter to the encyclopaedia editor Vengerov, dated 14th June 1889, Solov'ev suggested that he write a piece on Bolotov (Pis'ma 2, p. 316). The reason why 'Bolotov' was not published is unknown. Hampering by religious censorship should not be excluded (Pis'ma 2, p. 318, possibly about Bolotov'). No information has been found on the possible contact between Solov'ev and Bolotov. Solov'ev wrote a necrology on Bolotov in 1900 (mentioned in Luk 'janov 1990 1, p. 335).

116. 'Bolotov', p. 300.

117. Origen had succeeded in renewing the definition of the Trinity, first as hypostases, by no longer defining them in material and spatial terms, second as the place of divine self- revelation above time and coeternal with God ('Bolotov'. pp. 304-305). In addition to propagating information on Bolotov's dissertation on Origen, which he valued as a serious work at the level of European science, Solov'ev added to the theologian's work some considerations as a philosopher on Origen's conception of Trinity, namely a philosophical definition of divinity in relation with the hypostases, and a criticism of Origen's subordinationist definition of the hypostases of the Son and Holy Spirit with respect to the Father. In 'Origen', Solov'ev's critical attitude may be explained by the concern of approaching Origen from a perspective conform with the canonical Orthodox tradition. The structure of the entry is common to all the entries he wrote for the encyclopaedia, and consists of a biographical account, the description of the works, the synthetic survey of the teaching, and the evaluation of the thought of the author. Solov'ev added an overview of the transmission of Origen's works and their influence through the history of Christian thought up to 19th century theosophists like Baader. The question whether for this publication Solov'ev was limited in his judgment by religious censorship remains unsolved.

118. 'Origen', p. 443.

119. Valliere 2000a, p. 13. The term was rarely used in patristic literature, and usually indicates Origenist and monophysite tendencies (Ibid.). Therefore it was avoided by the councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon, and was only much later picked up by Jakob Bohme and Hegel (Peter Ehlen [O. Peter Elen, 0.1.], 'Ideja bogocelovecestva v filosofii Vladimira Solov'eva', in: I.V. Borisova and A.P. Kozyrev (eds.), Solov'evskij sbornik: materialy mezdunarodnoj konferencii 'V.S. Solov'ev i ego filosofskoe nasledie' (Moskva: Fenomenologija-Germenevtika, 2001). pp. 295-317: p. 295.

120. 'Origen', p. 447.

121. This is at least how we can understand the passage following this criticism, in which Solov'ev pointed to Origen's neglect of 'the historical meaning' of the Bible. Solov'ev did not expand on this point.

122. Origen investigated points that had not been worked out by the apostolic and biblical teaching, in particular the questions as to what came before this world, and what would come after its end. As regards the first question, Solov'ev sought to integrate some of Origen's elements into his sophiology. The second question was central in Solov'ev's theology of history.

123. 'Origen', p. 447; see also for instance in La Russie et l'Eglise universelle (p. 267). Gustavson and the commentators or Solov'ev's Polnoe sobranie socinenij have affirmed Origen's influence on this point (Gustavson 1996, p. 33; PSS. 2. p. 335). Solov'ev also used the expression apokatastasis ton panton to refer to the unity and universality of the absolute spirit acknowledged by Western philosophy, notably von Hartmann. Characteristically, he valued this rediscovery of ancient truths preserved in the traditions of Eastern Christianity' (Andrzej Walicki, The Slavophile controversy: History of a Conservative Utopia in Nineteenth-Century Russian thought (1st publ. 1964; Notre Dame, Indiana: University or Notre Dame Press, 1989), p. 561).

124. On the other hand, Origen's concept should not be seen as a mere return to the primary order, but something higher than the beginning stage (entry 'Origenes', Sigmar Dopp and Wilhelm Geerlings (eds.), Lexikon der antiken christlichen Literatur (Freiburg, Basel & Wien: Herder, 1998), pp. 460-467: p. 466). In this sense, Solov'ev seems to have understood Origen's thought correctly.

125. Solov'ev's criticism concerning nature seems justified, but that concerning the human body does not. Outside the text 'About the Principles', no text can be found in which Origen defended an incorporeal apokatastasis (Crouzel 1990, p. 285). The positive emphasis put by Solov'ev on nature and matter as well as the ultimate fusion of the two spheres is precisely the object of his sophiology of history [see chapter IV].

126. This is at least what tradition has retained of Origen's ambiguous affirmations. By now evidence has shown that Origen did not mean this. It seems that Solov'ev also simplified the thought of the Greek thinker when he reproached him for an unchristian conception of death. While it is true that at some places Origen identified death with the devil (Crouzel 1990, p. 286. 326), he also developed a more complex conception of death (on Origen's three conceptions of death, see Crouzel 1990, pp. 20ff.).

127. ‘Origen', p. 447. Solov'ev rightly pointed to this tension within Origen's thought as well as an insufficient conception of moral evil (La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, p. 259). Another reason why Origen's view of apokatastasis is inconsistent has to do with the hypothesis advanced by Origen of the new fall of beings who had already been saved. While Origen envisaged this possibility, it does not seem, however, to represent a core thought (Crouzel 1990. p. 286).

128. Origen did elaborate on the biblical hell (Gehenna), which he tried to both distinguish and articulate with the notion of Hades, inherited from Greek thought (see 'L'Hades et la Gehenne selon Origene', in Crouzel 1990, pp. 291-331).

129. Although these views do perhaps not have the sombre dimension that we can find in the Protestant view, they fully belong to the Orthodox worldview (Timothy Ware, The Orthodox Church (1st publ. 1963; London & New York: Penguin, 1997), pp. 261-262).

130. Daley et al. 1986, p. 239.

131. Von Balthasar 1962, Gustavson 1996, and M.J. Le Guillou's Preface to Juan Miguel Guarrigues, Maxime le Confesseur: La charite, avenir divin de l'homme (Paris: Beauchesne, 1976), pp. 7-22. This preface is entirely devoted to Solov'ev's drawing on Maximus Confessor and is an example of the enthusiastic reception of Solov'ev in Catholic ecumenical theological circles.

132. Von Balthasur 1962, pp. 654-655.

133. 'Maksim Ispovednik', SS. 12, pp. 598-599: p. 598.

134. Ibid., emphasis Solov'ev's.

135. See also Istorija i buduscnost' teokratii, pp. 309-311: La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, p. 133.

136. 'Maksim Ispovednik', p. 599. He pointed to the reception of Maximus, and especially of John Scotus Erigena's comments on Dionysius pseudo-Areopagite. In another passage Solov'ev posed Maximus together with Western and Eastern thinkers, as acknowledging the absoluteness of God ('Ponjatie o Boge', p. 23). This shows that Solov'ev held Maximus to be one of the perhaps very few bridges between Eastern and the Western thought.

137. Velikij spor i khristianskaja politika, p. 113; La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, pp. 135 and 150. He repeated this point against the professor of church history at Moscow university Aleksandr Ivancov-Platonov (1835-1894) in 'Neskol'ko ob'jasnitel'nykh slov po povodu "Velikogo Spora"', S. 1989 1, pp. 169-173: p. 169.

138. As he explained, the Constantinople patriarch Taras, together with papal legates, had directed the seventh ecumenical council (787), which not only condemned iconoclasm, but also recognised papal authority. Secondary literature, however, does not mention the acknowledgment of papal authority as a decisive point made in the 7th ecumenical council.

139. Solov'ev emphasised this point in La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, pp. 140 and 183.

140. 'O dukhnvnoj vlasti v Rossii', pp. 52-3.

141. Luk'janov 1990 1. p. 334.

142. See his complement to Barsov's entry 'Biblejskaja kritika' (DGA 6 p. 657), 'Kogda zili evrejskie proroki?' (SS. 7. pp. 180-202). 'Zabytie uroki' (SS. 10, pp. 21-25).

143. Gustavson 1996, p. 38.

144. Valliere 2000a. p. 14.

145. Valliere 2000a. p. 161, Gustavson 1996. p. 152.

146. Radlov 1912. Stremooukhoff 1974 and Johannes Madey (Wladimir Sergejewitsch Solowjew (1853 -1900) und seine Lehre van der Weltseele (Dusseldorf: Gebers, 1961)) offer a couple of remarks on this point. While Radlov and Madey too generally point to the similarity of views between the two thinkers, Stremooukhoff declares that Augustine's influence on Solov'ev is not significant (p. 145, n. 12).

147. 'Predopredeknie' (SS. 10, pp. 258-259).

148. Filosofskie nacala cel 'nogo znanija, PSS. 2, pp. 185-308: p. 199. In Augustine, as we have seen in the first chapter, the City of God is the ideal, while for the time being the Christians are plunged into the Earthly City together with the pagans.

149. Pelagij'. SS 10, pp. 449-453: p. 452.

150. Myroslaw I. Tataryn. Augustine and Russian Orthodoxy: Russian Orthodox Theologians and Augustine of Hippo: A Twentieth Century Dialogue (Lanham, New York, & Oxford: International Scholar Publications. 2000), p. 20. However, in the second half of the 19th century, within the framework of an intensive study of the church fathers, Russian theologians at the theological academy of Kiev undertook to translate Augustine and offered positive accounts of his thought (Ibid., p. 14). Surprisingly, Solov'ev did not refer or react to their works.

151. Stremooukhoff 1974. p. 139. Even though the concept of sobornost' was neither coined nor developed by Khomjakov, it is central to his thought (Evert van der Zweerde, '"Sobornost'" als Gesellschaftsideal bei Vladimir Solov'ev und Pavel Florenskij', in: Norbert Franz, Michael Hagemeister and Frank Haney (eds.). Pavel Florenskij -- Tradition und Moderne. Beitrage zum internationalen Symposium an der Universitat Potsdam, 5, bis 9. April 2000 (Frankfurt am Main et al.: Peter Lang. 2001), pp. 225-246: p. 227). However, Solov'ev hardly ever used the term sobornost'.

152. See Walicki 1989, p. 192 ff.

153. Ibid., p. 563. The peak of this influence can be found in Solov'ev's 'Tri sily' (1877), which can be seen as a variation on Slavophile themes (Ibid., p. 564).

154. He conceded that the Slavophiles had developed Russian messianism, but that their views led to nationalism ("Messianizm', SS. 12, p. 600). National messianism as it developed in the 19th century is a typical blend of theology of history and philosophy of history. In this paragraph I focus on the theological motives of history inherent to messianism.

155. See case study IV 'The Polish Question'.

156. His early position is linked to his criticism of Western philosophy. Solov'ev follows Kireevskij up to a certain point on his view of Western philosophy (Stremooukhoff 1974, pp. 31-2). Kireevskij and Khomjakov believed that only Schelling could mean a new start of Christian philosophy (Ibid., p. 60). For an analysis of Schelling's influence on Solov'ev, see chap. IV 'Solov'ev's Sophiology of History'. He shared their criticism of the separation between reason and faith in Western philosophy, and their claim to a return to primordial unity or integrality (Ibid., p. 35). But he criticised their opinion of an arbitrary development of Western philosophy and their claim to a return to an impossible past.

157. Solov'ev absorbed Kireevskij's philosophical programme of integral knowledge in Filosofskie nacala cel'nogo znanija. But he did not integrate the historical background that Kireevskij had investigated, namely the Roman empire, European feudalism and the Russian commune (Walicki 1989, p. 563).

158. See Georges Florovsky, 'Faith and Reason in the Philosophy of Solov'ev', in: Ernest J. Simmons (ed.), Continuity and Change in Russian and Soviet Thought (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1955), pp. 283-297.

159. Stremooukhoff 1974, p. 26: PSS. 2, comment, p. 370. See especially Filosofskie nacala cel'nogo znanija. Of course, Solov'ev did not take Khomjakov's canon of integral knowledge integrally. Solov'ev valued mystical knowledge and mysticism positively, whereas Khomjakov regarded these as a pretension to strictly determine that what is reeognised as unknown (PSS. 2, comment. pp. 364-5).

160. Stremooukhoff 1974. p. 26.

161. As early as 1878 he was accused by conservatives of being unfaithful to Christian principles because of his heterodox teaching of eternal torment and his spiritism. This criticism would stick with him even after his death. His distancing from the conservative camp took place in the following stages: 1878 from Mescerskij's Grazdanin, in 1885 from Katkov, in 1887 from Kireev, in 1889 from Strakhov (Nosov 1992, p. 257, n. 24). For concrete examples of this distancing, see case studies III and IV on the Jewish and the Polish questions.

162. Pis 'ma 4, p. 21 (March 1883).

163. According to Solov'ev, the true representative of Slavophile thought on history was not Khomjakov but Konstantin Aksakov ("Novaja zascita starogo slavjanofil'stva', Nacional 'nyi vopros 2, S. 1989 1, pp. 501-512: p. 510). His comment on Konstantin Aksakov (1817-1860) concerned the notions of state and community applied to Russia ('Slavjanofil 'stvo i ego vyrozdenie'. Nacional 'nyj vopros 2, S. 1989 1, pp. 433-500: pp. 451-4 and 457-462). On the points of divergence between Solov'ev and the Slavophiles' conception of Russian history, see Pauline Schrooyen, 'Vladimir Solov'ev: Critic or Heir of Slavophilism?', in: van den Bercken et al. 2000, pp. 13-27: pp. 18-22.

164. 'Slavjanofil 'stvo i ego vyrozdenie', pp. 439-444: quote from p, 441.

165. Solov'ev also accused metropolite Filaret of this idealist and exclusively past-oriented view (La Russie et l'Eglise universelle, p. 165), and welcomed the criticism of the actual state of the Russian church made by the last representative of Slavophilism, Ivan Aksakov (Ibid., pp. 171-177).

166. Schrooyen 2000, p. 17.

167. Hereby he meant Mohler, Sartorius and French traditionalists Bonald, Lamennais, as well as Bordas-Demoulins (Pis 'ma 4, p. 107).

168. L 'idee russe, p. 97.

169. Andrzej Walicki, 'Soiov'ev's Theocratic Utopia and Two Romantic Poets: Fedor Tjutcev and Adam Mickiewicz', in: van den Bercken et al. 2000, pp. 473-483, p. 475. The following points are taken from Walicki's masterful analysis.

170. Solov'ev's conception of world monarchy is analysed in chap. III 'Solov'ev's Philosophy of History'.

171. Walicki 2000, p. 479.

172. Radlov, Gessen, Levickij, Belknap, Kostalevsky deal with this issue. See the succinct bibliography in Kostalevsky 1997.

173. See Kostalevsky 1997, pp. 49-80) on Dostoevskij's attending Solov'ev's Ctenija p Bogocelovecestve, their common journey to the monastery or Optyna Pustyn, and Solov'ev's 'Tri reci v pamjati Dostoevskogo'. However, strictly taken these episodes prove only that the two thinkers often met, not an affinity between the two. For the thesis of a profound difference between Dostoevskij the novelist and Orthodox believer, and Solov'ev the system-builder and mystic, see James P. Scanlan, Dostoevsky the Thinker (Ithaca & London: Cornwell University Press, 2002), pp. 55, 238.

174. Quoted in Walicki 1989, p. 555.

175. Ibid., p. 551.

176. Kostalevsky 1997, pp. 75-76. Solov'ev voiced this idea in 'Tri sily' (1877) and Filosofskie nacala cel 'nogo znanija (1877).

177. Quoted in Kostalevsky 1997, p. 76.

178. 'Tri reci v pamjati Dostoevskogo', 'Pervaja rec", p. 301. English translation in Vladimir Wozniuk (ed. and transl.), The Heart of Reality: Essays on Beauty, Love and Ethics by V.S Soloviev (Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. 2003) [abbreviated Wozniuk 2003], 'Three Addresses in Memory of Dostoevsky', pp. 1-28: p. 1.

179. Stremooukhoff 1974, p. 65. For an analysis of theocratic motives in the novel and a comparison with Solov'ev's work, see Kostalevsky 1997, pp. 121-129.

180. PSS. 2. comment, p. 367.

181. The writer had been condemned to hard labour in Siberia for four years (1850-1854).

182. On the terminology used to characterise Nietzsche, in particular man-God, see Grillaert 2003.

183. Solov'ev, 'Prilozenie: zametka v zascitu Dostoevskogo ot obvinenija v "novom" khristianstve' (probably written in 1882) (S. 1988 2, pp. 319-323: p. 321). Perhaps in this connection Solov'ev called him a 'mystic', because he 'possessed a vital sense of the intrinsic connection with the superhuman' ('Tret'ja rec", p. 314, transl. p. 24). The status of 'prophet' that he gave to the writer is discussed in chapter IV on Solov'ev's sophiology of history.

184. For an overview of these topics in Russian literature from Stefan Javorskij to Daniil Andreev, see A.S. Grisin and K.G. Isupov (eds.), Antikhrist: Antologija (Moskva: Vyssaja skola, 1995).

185. See Kostalevsky 1997, pp. 99-111.

186. Ibid., p. 100.

187. Solov'ev differed from Dostoevskij by initially ascribing good will with respect to Jesus Christ to his Antichrist: 'Originally, he had no enmity toward Jesus either. He acknowledged his Messianic significance and merit, but he sincerely saw in him only the greatest of his precursors. The moral feat of Christ and his absolute uniqueness were incomprehensible to his intellect, which was clouded by Vanity' ('Kratkaja povest' ob Antikhriste', S. 1988 2, p. 741. English translation in Wozniuk 2000, 'A Brief Tale about the Antichrist', pp. 264-289: p. 269). The motive of self-love is decisive in Solov'ev's plot, whereas the Great Inquisitor is motivated by a theological attack of Jesus Christ.

188. See Ernest Radlov, 'Solov'ev i Dostoevskij', in: A.S. Dolinin (ed.), F.M. Dostoevskij. stat'i i materialy, vol. 1 (Petrograd: n.p., 1922) for an account of structural differences between the two stories.

189. Antichrist is not only the emperor, but also a philanthropist and the author of the acclaimed best seller 'The Open Way'.

190. Valliere 2000a. p. 166, italics mine.

191. See Florovsky ('Western Influences in Russian Theology, in Collected Works 4, pp. 175-7, 201) for a criticism of the influence of Western idealism on Russian thought (in particular theology), and on Solov'ev's excessive propensity to deal with speculation.

192. Valliere 2000a. p. 158: Lev Sestov, 'Umozrenie i Apokalipsis: religioznaja filosofija Vl. Solov'eva', in: D.K. Burlaka. V.F. Bojkov and Ju.Ju. Budycev (eds.). Vl. Solov'ev: Pro et Contra. Licnost' i tvorcestvo Vladimira Solov' eva v ocenke russkikh myslitelej i issledovatelej, vol. 2 (Sankt-Peterburg: Izd. Russkogo Khristianskogo gumanitarnogo instituta, 2002), pp. 467-530: pp. 487-488.

193. Valliere 2000a. p. 166.
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