"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, May 29, 2013

The Russian Way

I have known (from Michael Plekon) for some time that this book is in the works, but am glad to see that it will finally be in print later this year: The Way: Religious Thinkers of the Russian Emigration in Paris and Their Journal, 1925-1940 (University of Notre Dame Press, October 2013), 704pp. Edited by Plekon and John Jillions, translated by Jerry Ryan, and with a preface from Rowan Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury and one of England's most perceptive and important students of historical and Eastern theology, the book is the work of Antoine Arjakovsky, who is the research director of the Collège des Bernardins in Paris and founding director of the Institute of Ecumenical Studies and professor of ecumenical theology at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine.

About this book the publisher tells us:
The journal Put’, or The Way, was one of the major vehicles for philosophical and religious discussion among Russian émigrés in Paris from 1925 until the beginning of World War II. This Russian language journal, edited by Nicholas Berdyaev among others, has been called one of the most erudite in all Russian intellectual history; however, it remained little known in France and the USSR until the early 1990s. This is the first sustained study of the Russian émigré theologians and other intellectuals in Paris who were associated with The Way and of their writings, as published in The Way. Although there have been studies of individual members of that group, this book places the entire generation in a broad historical and intellectual context. Antoine Arjakovsky provides assessments of leading religious figures such as Berdyaev, Bulgakov, Florovsky, Nicholas and Vladimir Lossky, Mother Maria Skobtsova, and Afanasiev, and compares and contrasts their philosophical agreements and conflicts in the pages of The Way. He examines their intense commitment to freedom, their often contentious struggles to bring the Christian tradition as experienced in the Eastern Church into conversation with Christians of the West, and their distinctive contributions to Western theology and ecumenism from the perspective of their Russian Orthodox experience. He also traces the influence of these extraordinary intellectuals in present-day Russia, Western Europe, and the United States. Throughout this comprehensive study, Arjakovsky presents a wealth of arguments, from debates over “Russian exceptionalism” to the possibilities of a Christian and Orthodox version of socialist politics, the degree to which the church could allow its agenda to be shaped by both local and global political realities, and controversies about the distinctively Russian theology of Divine Wisdom, Sophia. Arjakovsky also maps out the relationships these émigré thinkers established with significant Western theologians such as Jacques Maritain, Yves-Marie Congar, Henri de Lubac, and Jean Daniélou, who provided the intellectual underpinnings of Vatican II.
Columbia's John McGuckin, whom I interviewed here, says this about the book:

The Way is an important work, brilliantly researched, and the product of a true scholar who talks to us theologically as he progresses. Antoine Arjakovsky’s main focus of interest is on ecumenical theology, and he argues convincingly that Orthodox thought as manifested in these leading-edge thinkers still has a major role to play in opening an authentically Orthodox but inclusive ecclesiological line of approach to contemporary Christianity. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are never approved. Use your real name and say something intelligent.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...