The Religious-Philosophical Concept of Sophia: Its Genealogy and Evolution in Russian Thought of the 19th and 20th Centuries [Book Review]

Dissertation, Temple University (1997)

This dissertation represents an inquiry into the nature, genealogy, and evolution of the religious-philosophical concept of Sophia in the Russian thought of the 19th and 20th centuries. ;The first chapter introduces the subject of study to the reader. It also discusses the purpose and relevance of the project. It then describes the methodology of research, and the scope and the overall structure of the work. ;The second chapter analyzes the historical background of Russian sophiology. It specifically concentrates on the three main roots of sophiology--ancient Greek philosophy, Christian Sacred Scriptures and Christian Sacred Tradition. Each of these historical sources is discussed with reference to the doctrines of wisdom or Sophia which later become explicitly developed in Russian thought. ;The third chapter focuses on the beginnings of modern Russian sophiology. The discussion is centered here around the thought of one of the pioneers of modern Russian religious philosophy, Vladimir Solov'ev. Solov'ev's sophiological teaching is analyzed in three distinct aspects--theological, ontological, and aesthetic. ;The fourth chapter is devoted entirely to the development of sophiological doctrines in the field of theology. Here the analysis is centered around the evolution of the sophiological views of Fr. Sergii Bulgakov. It also considers the critical reaction to Bulgakov's sophiology of his opponents--Russian philosophers, theologians and ecclesiastical leaders. ;The fifth chapter discusses Russian sophiological thought in the context of modern philosophical discourse. The focus of this chapter is the work of Nikolai Losskii. Losskii's philosophical views, including his sophiological doctrines, are summarized in comparison to other epistemological and sophiological theories. ;The sixth and last chapter continues the study of sophiology in the philosophical context. It is centered around the aesthetic aspect of sophiology. The chapter discusses the religious-philosophical views of Nikolai Berdiaev in whose thought sophiology takes the peculiar form of a philosophy of beauty. ;The dissertation ends with a conclusion which summarizes the discussion of modern Russian sophiological movement in the 19th and 20th centuries
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