"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, February 5, 2014

Bulgakov Between Tradition and Modernity

There is only one Orthodox theologian officially condemned in the last century, and his name still has the capacity to arouse denunciation today on the part of some, particularly those who have not read him. But those who have read him widely regard him as the most important Russian theologian of the twentieth century. A new book attempts to link his thought with historical changes in Russia from the sunset of the tsarist empire: Scott Lingenfelter, Between Tradition & Modernity: Sergei Bulgakov, Russian Orthodoxy, and Progressive Reform in Late Imperial Russia (Scholars Press, 2013), 252pp.

About this book we are told:
What is the role of Russian Orthodoxy in modern Russian history? Has it been a progressive or regressive force? Sergei Bulgakov's answer, conceived amid the prevailing winds in late Imperial Russia, is as relevant today as it was a century ago. Bulgakov's call for an open public square represented an attempt to reconcile opposing forces in the Russian Empire on the eve of war and revolution: imperial officials, the revolutionary intelligentsia, Russian Orthodox prelates, and the provincial parish clergy. On one hand, their challenge was to sustain an ongoing conversation about religious liberty, modernist cultural trends, and political and ethnic pluralism. On the other, the empire spoke with an inflection shaped by centuries of centralized power and eastern Slavic folkways. It was caught between tradition and modernity, as is twenty-first century Russia. Bulgakov's insights into this dilemma, examined comprehensively in this book, are a rich, largely untapped resource for navigating that journey today.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds very interesting. I look forward to hearing more...


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