"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Sergius Bulgakov's Sophiology of Death

It is cheering to see how much fresh and increasingly widespread attention Sergius Bulgakov has gained today. In the twenty years I have been moving in Eastern Christian scholarly circles, he has gone from being moderately well-known to arguably the most discussed Orthodox theologian today. Young scholars and old alike gathered just last week in Switzerland for a major conference devoted to his thought.

One such young scholar has given us a translation of a collection of the great man's essays: Sergius Bulgakov, The Sophiology of Death: Essays on Eschatology: Personal, Political, Universal, trans. Roberto J. De La Noval (Cascade Books, 2021), 193pp. 

No less a figure than David Bentley Hart has written a foreword to this book, whose translator I am hoping to interview on this blog once my review copy of the book shows up from Cascade. About this book that same publisher tells us this: 

What will be the final destiny of the human race at God's eschatological judgment? Will all be saved, or only a few? How does Christian eschatology impact Christian political action in the here and now? And what is the destiny of each individual facing the prospect of earthly death? In these essays, Russian Orthodox theologian Sergius Bulgakov (1871-1944) brings the resources of Scripture and tradition to bear on these vital questions, arguing for the magnificent final restoration of all creatures to union with God in a universal salvation worthy of the infinite scope of Christ's redemption. Bulgakov also provides insight into how Christians can strive to bring God's kingdom to earth in anticipation of the peace and justice of the heavenly Jerusalem. The reader will also find in these pages profound theological reflections on the nature of human death and Christ's accompaniment of all humans in their dying, based on Bulgakov's own near-death experience. Together, these essays shed new light on eschatology in all its facets: personal, political, and universal.

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