Lacoste - Encyclopedia of Christian Theology - 3-volume set

Jean-Yves Lacoste - Encyclopedia of Christian Theology: 3-volume set

Jean-Yves Lacoste - Encyclopedia of Christian Theology: 3-volume set

Routledge, 2004. – 1928 p.
ISBN-10: 1579582508
ISBN-13:‎ 978-1579582500
The Dictionnaire critique de théologie was first published in French in 1998. When in 1999 work began on an anglophone presentation, the U.S. publishers had at their disposal the French additions and modifications to the original text undertaken with a view to its second edition. The present work is a translation of the second edition of the French original.
Users of the Encyclopedia of Christian Theology , whether chiefly interested in consulting it for specific information or in browsing more widely, may well wish to begin with the index. The French editorial committee and the editorial director have achieved the not inconsiderable feat of containing very nearly all the material falling within the ambit of a critical work of theology, as those terms are defined in the foreword, within some five hundred entries.
Theology remains the rationally structured discussion of the Christianized experience of Hebrew monotheism, as it was originally elaborated with the help of Greek philosophical categories and considerations familiar to the early Christian Greek-speaking world and subsequently developed during two millennia of Christian thought.
This has meant paying little more than passing attention to other important aspects of Christian life as it developed. Its liturgies, its widely diverging spiritualities, its administrative hierarchy, and its noncore teaching even about important moral and social issues occurring in response to the often political constraints that arose in the course of history are not central to its theology as here understood. Attention is concentrated on such matters as Trinitarian theology, Christology, the Incarnation, the Redemption, revelation, ecclesiology, and the understanding of the workings of the divine plan for humanity. The definition also excludes formal consideration of eastern religions and even of Islam, immensely powerful in its own right and also the vehicle for carrying the thought of Aristotle, heavily contaminated by Neoplatonism, to the Christian scholastic theologians of the High Middle Ages.
Philosophy itself, as an intellectual discipline, does not fall within the ambit of the reference function of the Encyclopedia , but its exclusion poses more difficult problems. As the editor of the French original, Jean-Yves Lacoste, points out in his own entry on philosophy, it is still possible in the twentieth century with Barth or Heidegger to conduct philosophical discussion without reference to any theological position. In fact, however, the possibility of the autonomous conduct of philosophical investigation, although it is not discussed in the Encyclopedia , looks today increasingly fragile.
Christian theology as a discipline, particularly on account of the Greco-Roman legacy still woven into it, is much more difficult to insulate from its philosophical substructure. In many of its entries, the Encyclopedia , having expounded the theology with which they are concerned, concludes them with philosophical considerations. Philosophically speaking, Christian theology has for centuries relied on a philosophia perennis , drawing its categories and premises largely from Aristotelian and Platonist traditions.
Certain aspects of that traditional substructure, notably its anthropology, its epistemology, and its ontology, are no longer generally considered useful and at least in non-English-speaking Europe have been replaced by a newer tradition. In the Encyclopedia , no attempt has been made to diminish the reliance on philosophical reflections developed from the mainstream European, mostly German-language tradition as it has emerged from Kant and the German idealists and subsequently been developed by Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger, and from more recent variations of an essentially phenomenological approach to the subject such as appear also in the work of some modern theologians like Karl Rahner.
The content of the work, as indicated in the foreword, is laid out alphabetically, and anglophone readers will have no difficulty finding the keyword for many of the most important themes, events, people, and topics discussed. There is an elaborate system of cross-referencing, but, as the relative length of the entries and the bibliographies makes clear, a format of relatively long entries and essays, still within the scope of what is known as a dictionnaire in French, has been chosen rather than that of a high number of short entries generally denoted by the word dictionary in English.
Some of the new entries, like that for Moses, fill lacunae in the original text, and very few important topics will be found to have been altogether neglected, although to locate the several treatments of such themes as transsubstantiation or of theologians as important as Melanchthon, it is necessary to refer first to the index. It is even possible that certain readers will feel that occasionally, like the original eighteenth-century French Encyclopédie , this Encyclopedia advances views or developments that it purports merely to transmit or that it gives an acceptably ecumenical doctrinal spin to the historical record by omitting to dwell on or even to note some of the harsher reactions perceivable in the decrees of the council of Trent or of Vatican I or in the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Theologians of the last fifty years are not unreasonably accorded a prominence that implies a value judgment about their work, which is inevitably less certain to endure than judgments made about theologians from centuries earlier than the twentieth whose historical contribution to the development of today’s theology cannot be challenged.
It will not be difficult for users to identify the corporate viewpoint of the editorial committee of the Encyclopedia . It is, however, as the third paragraph of the foreword makes clear, important to preserve the work’s intellectual integrity. That means identifying and acknowledging what its point of view is, especially on account of the probability that here and there the more speculative essays may seem to be urging Catholic theology to develop in a particular direction and the further probability that any such direction will be one with which the original French readership may feel more at ease than theologians brought up in some of the traditions at present current in different degrees in the various anglophone regions of the globe.
* * *
The semantic complex formed by hèsukhia and its derivatives represents a key concept in the asceticomystical literature of the Christian East, attested from the dawn of monasticism* to the present day. Of uncertain etymology ( hèsthai : to be seated?) and difficult to translate (tranquility, vacuity?), it has undergone a variety of historical developments. It may denote a state of soul* (consisting of withdrawal, peace*, and silence), a way of life (the eremitical state), a method of prayer* (known as monologistos or “Jesus* prayer”), a theory of contemplation* (linked to the soteriology of the Greek Fathers*), a theological system (developed by Gregory* Palamas in the 14th century), or a cultural referent shared by different religious movements (including, from the 18th century, that of the Philocalia ). Taken as a whole, these layers and meanings constitute for the Orthodox Church a methodical spirituality, organized according to dogmatic* theology.
a) Primitive Hesychasm . From the fourth century onward, hèsukhia summarized the two fundamental obligations of monastic life: outward anchoritism (seclusion from the outer world) and inward asceticism*. The writings attributed to Anthony (†356) and his disciples, the Apophtegmata Patrum , and the narratives of the chroniclers of the church (from Palladius’s Lausiac History [c. 420] to the Spiritual Meadow [c. 610] by John Moschus), all restrict the title of hesychast to hermits alone. There is no hèsukhia without monôsis , solitude, or at the very least isolation. However, the organization into lavrae , the apostolic dimension of spiritual* direction (recognized in Ammonas’s first Letter on hèsukhia ), the equally contemplative vocation of cenobitism (intrinsic to the Rule of Pachomius, †346), and the model of reclusion in a community (promoted by Barsanuphius of Gaza, †540), underline the rapid rise to dominance of the inward sense of the term. As well as being a way of life, hèsukhia was also “an art and a grace” (Evagrius Ponticus [†399], Treatise , PG 40, 1260–62 a ). It required apatheia , mastery of the passions*; amerimnia , absolute indifference to worry; katharsis , the discernment and eradication of thoughts ( logismoi); and nèpsis , vigilance over the intellect and heart. The means and the end of these states was the mnèmè tou theou , the suppression of the world of the senses, imagination, and intellect, a suppression that made possible the recollection of God*—or more precisely of Jesus—in prayer. Based on a typological exegesis* of mystical preeminence (with the figures of Moses, Elijah, Mary of Bethany, and John the “beloved disciple”) and a literal interpretation of the New Testament commandment to pray continually (Lk 18:1; Eph 6:18; 1 Thes 5:17), meletè or meditative prayer consisted of the oral repetition or mental contemplation of a formula of contrition, usually taken from the Psalms (Ps 6:3, 25:16, 51:3, etc.) or the Gospels* (the tax collector, the blind man, the Canaanite woman). A method of constant epiclesis* (which according to Cassian [†432] constituted the “original secret” of the desert tradition [ Conferences , X, 10]), hèsukhia opened the way to the anticipation of the Kingdom* and the vision of God (Pseudo-Macarius, 5th century, Hom . I, 12).
b) Prayer of Jesus and the Sinaitic School . The doctrinal formulation of hesychasm was faced from the outset with two major accounts of monastic life, each of which incurred a suspicion of heterodoxy. On the one hand, there was the Evagrian corpus. Rooted in an extreme intellectualism* inspired by the school of Origen, and notable as much for its psychological as for its lexical architecture, this body of work was later disseminated pseudonymously. On the other hand, there was the pseudepigraphical corpus of the Macarian Homilies , with its powerful biblical realism characterized by the concepts of experience*, of the heart, and of felt grace*, but open to question as to its possible Messalianism*. In the Gnostic Chapters , Diadochus of Photike (fifth century) achieved a christocentric and sacramental synthesis of these two currents that would be given its classic form by the Sinaitic school. The practice known as “prayer to/of Jesus” probably became associated with it by a process of gradual evolution, in the context of a continuous transmission. John Climacus (†649), who defined hèsukhia as “an uninterrupted service of God,” stipulated that “the recollection of Jesus should be as one with breathing” ( Ladder 27). Hesychius of Batos (eighth century) insisted on perpetual prayer and frequently employed the theme of respiration ( Centuries I, 5, PG 93, 1481 d ). Thus numerous parallels link the name* of Jesus and/or the activity of breathing with monological prayer. Their precise value and meaning (e.g., Nilus of Ancyra [ ODCC calls him Nilus the Ascetic] [† c. 430] Letters III, 33, PG 79, 392 b ), or their exact dating (e.g., Philemon, seventh century?, Very Useful Discourse, Philocalia II, 241–52), remain subjects of debate. Nevertheless, after the eighth century all metaphorical interpretation was ruled out, and the invocation assumed the now-familiar form: “Lord Jesus Christ*, Son of God, Saviour, have pity upon me, a sinner.”
c) Method of Prayer . The hesychastic renaissance that occurred at Mount Athos between the 13th and 15th centuries coincided with the revelation of a psychosomatic technique—no doubt of earlier date and originating from within the tradition—that complemented the prayer of Jesus. Its classic statements are The Method of Holy Prayer by Pseudo-Symeon (perhaps attributable to Nicephorus [† c. 1280], himself the author of a short work, Nepsis and the Care of the Heart ), as well as two treatises by Gregory the Sinaite (†1346) titled Of the Modes of Prayer and Precepts for Hesychasts . The method, stated simply, consisted of withdrawing into a dark cell, sitting down with the head bent, controlling one’s breathing, looking into “the place of the heart,” and rhythmically repeating the prayer. Although some physiological explanations and descriptions of its effects appear to cast doubt on the purely instrumental character of the method, its only goal remained receptiveness to grace ( Of the Modes , PG 150, 1329 b –1332 a ). Theoleptus of Philadelphia (†1326), a disciple of Nicephorus, does not mention it ( On Secret Activity , PG 143, 388 ab ), and Gregory Palamas (†1359), associated with Gregory the Sinaite, plays down its importance in order to exclude any mechanical conception of hèsukhia ( Tr . I, 2, 3–9). For all that, it became the pretext for the “hesychastic controversy” and shed light on far more decisive theological issues.
d) Byzantine Neo-Hesychasm . “To contain the incorporeal in a corporeal dwelling” (Climacus, Ladder 27): a doctrine as much as a form of spirituality, hesychasm contained something of the Greek Fathers’ gnosiology. It verified it experimentally and gave it concrete expression by confirming the reality of divinization: full personal communion* with God realized the eschatological promise here on earth; participation in the mystery* was real and in no way diminished it. In parallel with the establishment of christological dogma*, the main current of patristic thought, from the Cappadocian Fathers (fourth century) to John Damascene (†749), incorporated the vocabulary of hèsukhia , its use of apophasis (negative formulations) and antinomy (contradictory constructions), and its discursive reduction to soteriological principles alone. The theory of divine indwelling adopted the anthropology* of the desert and its principal expressions—the transfiguration of the body, the spiritual senses, the heart as a projection of the noûs (the intellect or “transcendent I”) and of the human totality. Hesychasm likewise helped to form a representation of deification (by way of the themes of light, glory*, and gifts) while at the same time prohibiting its conceptualization: the passage—the Passover—which made “man God by grace” implemented a radical disjunction with the whole of creation (Maximus* the Confessor [†662], Theol. and Ec. Chap . I, 51–60, PG 90, 1101–05). From the ninth century onward, Byzantine theology* would formalize this dialectic of divine incommunicability and communication by applying it to pneumatology. Symeon the New Theologian (†1022), a defender of the charismatic nature of the church, placed the vision of God in the perspective of a baptism* experienced consciously (Cat. XIV, 68–164). According to Gregory the Sinaite, an analysis of the intellect and its manifestations tended to affirm an absolute transcendence of pure prayer, under the sole influence of the Holy Spirit* ( On hèsukhia , PG 150, 1303–12): beyond the minor phenomenon of ecstasy, the state of divinization was seen to be both stable and dynamic. Finally, Gregory Palamas, reacting against the violent attacks of the philosophers and humanists of his time, endowed hesychasm with a dogmatic expression by defining the unity and distinctness of the essence and the uncreated energies. Sustained by a desire for liturgical reform, a return to the sources of iconography, and an intense activity of translation, and supported by the patriarchate of Constantinople, which had been won over to Palamism, neo-hesychasm spread across the whole Byzantine world. It was disseminated by Theodosius of Tarnovo (†1363) in Bulgaria, Romil of Vidin (†1375) in Serbia, Nicodemus of Tismana (†1409) in Wallachia, and Sergius of Radonezh (†1392) and Metropolitan Cyprian († c. 1420) in Russia. This inheritance was to play a decisive part in the development of modern Orthodoxy*.
e) Revival of the Philocalia . Hesychasm continued to fulfill the function of a theological benchmark in the general crisis that affected the Orthodox Church from the 16th to the 18th century: although marginalized, the “nonpossessors”—whose Rule , promulgated by Nil Sorsky (†1508), advocated this method of prayer—brought to completion its reception in Russia. And limited as they were, the efforts at publishing that accompanied the internal mission undertaken by the patriarchate of Jerusalem* under the pontificates of Nectarius, Dositheus, and Chrysantus (1661–1743) resulted in better access to the texts. As a result of the importance accorded to the monasteries, and to the institution of spiritual father (the gerôn or starets ) in the preservation of the faith*, the Jesus prayer was taught to a wide circle of the laity*. It was, however, with the publication of the Philocalia in 1782 that the theoretical resurgence came to completion. This anthology of texts from the fourth to the 15th century, compiled by Macarius of Corinth (†1805) and Nicodemus the Hagiorite (†1809), was expressly intended to confront Enlightenment rationalism* with an encyclopedia of hesychasm, Palamite in its ambitions and linking dogma with spirituality. This revival was initially apparent in Greek- and Arabic-speaking circles. Thanks to the Dobrotolubije , a Slavonic version of the Greek text published in Moldavia by Paisy Velichkovsky (†1794) and simultaneously in Moscow in 1793, it then spread to central Europe, the Balkans, and Russia. The latter saw a flourishing of the Philocalian spirit during the 19th century. The translation of the original collection (St. Petersburg, 1857) by Bishop Ignatius Briantchaninov (†1867) was followed by a new, more extensive compilation by Theophan the Recluse (†1894), which, however, betrayed a pietistic bias in its cuts and additions (Moscow, 1877). Made famous by major figures of sanctity such as Seraphim of Sarov (†1833) or the startsi of Optino (especially Ambrose [†1891]), popularized by the anonymous work The Sincere Narratives of a Pilgrim to His Spiritual Father (Kazan, c. 1870), hallowed by art and literature (Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov being but one example), hesychasm regained all its cultural value. In 1912–13, however, the condemnation of the “onomatolaters” (“name-worshippers”), Russian monks of Athos who worshipped the divinity of the name of Jesus itself, revealed the difficulties inherent in this expansion.
f) Prospects . In the 20th century the monumental Romanian Philocalia of Dumitru Staniloae (†1994) significantly accorded pride of place to theoretical writings and in particular to Maximus the Confessor and Gregory Palamas. In contemporary Orthodox theology the neopatristic school regards hesychasm as a summary mapping of the Christian experience*, and indispensable as a prism through which to interpret that experience. At the same time, a movement toward the revival of monasticism has laid claim to its entire heritage; and as the writings of Joseph the Hesychast (†1954) and Paissios of Cappadocia (†1995) make clear, Mount Athos is still its epicenter. This air of completion and unchangingness are entirely characteristic. Hesychasm cannot be reduced to a matter of subreligious technique, and comparisons with prânâymâ yoga , the Indian Japa , or the nembûtsû of Zen Buddhism (with the exception of the Sufi dhikr , which may have a related ancestry) fall within the province of fundamental anthropology or syncretistic sociology. Neither can it be classed as an Eastern variant of ejaculatory prayer, such as the Benedictine quies or the Ignatian Exercises , since the superficial similarities are canceled out by the difference in systematic and historical scope. In the consciousness of Orthodoxy, hèsukhia holds together spirituality and theology, prophecy* and tradition, truth and the Holy Spirit. The closest equivalent one might suggest would be “the logic of grace”—provided that it is understood as an experience incapable of being conveyed in words.
Athanasius of Alexandria, Vie et conduite de notre père saint Antoine , PG 26, 837–976; SC 400; SpOr 28.
Apophtegmes des Pères , “série alphabétique,” PG 65, 71–440 (French trans. SpOr 1, 1966), “série systématique,” PL 73, 851–1222 (French trans. Solesmes, 1970; 2nd Ed. 1976); SC 387.
Evagrius Ponticus, Practicos , PG 40, 1220–76; SC 170–171.
Macaire, Homélies spirituelles , PG 34, 449–822; SpOr 40; Die 50 geistlichen Homilien des Makarios, Ed. H. Dörries, PTS 4.
Diadochus of Photike, Œuvres Spirituelles , SC 5 ter .
Jean Climaque, L’Échelle sainte , PG 88, 631–1164; SpOr 24.
Simeon, The New Theologian, Catecheses , SC 96, 104, 113; Hymns , SC 156, 174, 196.
Grégoire le Sinaïte, ŒuvreS , PG 150, 1237–1330.
Gregory Palamas, De la déification de l’être humain , trans. J.-M. Monsaingeon and J. Paramelle, Lausanne, 1990.
Nicodème l’Hagiorite and Macaire de Corinthe, Philokalia , Venice, 1787 (repr. Athens, 5 vols., 1957–63); SpOr, 11 vols. (2nd Ed. 1994–95, 2 vols.).
Paissy Velichkovsky, Autobiographie d’un starets (French trans. SpOr 53).
Ignace Brianchaninov, Approches de la prière de Jésus (1867), Saint Petersburg (French trans. SpOr 35).
Théophane le reclus, Dobrotoloubije , Moscow, 1877–1905, 5 vols. (New Ed. New York, 5 vols., 1963–66).
Dimitru Staniloae, Filocalia , Sibiu-Bucarest, 1949–90, 12 vols. Joseph the Hesychasm, Grammata , Mount Athos, 1982 (French trans. “Letters,” Contacts , 1990, 42, 168–73).
K. Holl (1898), Enthusiasmus und Bußgewalt beim griechischen Mönchtum , Leipzig.
J. Bois (1901), “Grégoire le Sinaïte et l’hésychasme à l’Athos au XIVe s.,” EOr 5, 65–73.
I. V. Popov (1906), “Ideia obozhenia v drevne—Vostochnoi tserkvi,” Voprosi Filosofij i Psixologij 97, 165–213.
S. L. Epifanovich (1915), Propodobnyi Maksim Ispovednik i vizantiiskoe bogoslovie , Kiev.
J. Gross (1938), La divinisation du chrétien d’après les Pères grecs , Paris.
H. Dörries (1941), Symeon von Mesopotamien: Die Überlieferung der messalianischen “Makarios ” Schriften, TU 55, 1, Leipzig.
P. Galtier (1946), Le Saint-Esprit en nous d’après les Pères grecs , AnGr 37, Rome.
L. Gardet (1952–53), “La mention du nom divin dans la mystique musulmane,” RThom 52, 662–679; 53, 197–216.
S. Boulgakov (1953), Filosofia Imeni , Paris (trad. fr. Lausanne, 1991, Philosophie du verbe et du nom , 171–207).
W. Nölle (1954), “Hesychasmus und yoga,” Byz 47, 95–103.
A. Scrima (1958), “L’avènement philocalique en Roumanie,” Ist 3, 295–328, 443–74.
I. Haussher (1960), Noms du Christ et voies d’oraison , OCA 157, Rome.
A. Guillaumont (1962), Les “Kephalaia gnostica” d’Évagre le Pontique et l’histoire de l’origénisme chez les Grecs et les Syriens , Paris.
Vl Lossky (1962), Vision de Dieu , Neuchâtel.
J. Leclercq (1963), “A propos de l’hésychasme en Occident,” Le millénaire du Mont-Athos I, 253–264, Chèvetogne.
L. Thunberg (1965), Microcosm and Mediator , Lund.
W. Völker (1965), Maximus Confessor als Meister des geistlichen Lebens , Wiesbaden.
D. J. Chitty (1966), The Desert a City , Oxford.
I. Haussher (1966), Hésychasme et Prière, OCA 176, Rome.
M. Lot-Borodine (1969), La déification de l’homme , Paris.
A. Scrima (1969), “L’apophase et ses connotations selon la tradition spirituelle de l’Orient chrétien,” Hermès 6, 157–169.
K. Ware (1970), “Tradition and personal experience in late byzantine theology,” Ecr 3, 131–141.
G. Maloney (1973), Russian Hesychasm: The Spirituality of Nil Sorskij , The Hague.
J. Meyendorff (1974), Byzantine hesychasm , London.
H. Dörries (1978), Die Theologie des Makarios/Symeon , Göttingen.
J. B. Dunlop (1978), Starets Amurosy , Oxford.
I. Gorainoff (1979), Seraphim de Sarov , Paris.
A. Guillaumont (1979), Aux origines du monachisme chrétien , SpOr 30, 67–212.
B. Krivochéine (1980), Dans la lumière du Christ: Saint Syméon le Nouveau Théologien , Chèvetogne.
J. Gouillard (1981), La vie religieuse à Byzance , London.
D. Staniloaë (1981), Prière de Jésus et expérience du Saint- Esprit , Paris.
J. Meyendorff (1983), Byzantine Theology , 2nd Ed., New York.
B. Fraigneau-Julien (1985), Les sens spirituels et la vision de Dieu selon Syméon le Nouveau Théologien , ThH 67, Paris.
P. Deseille (1986), L’Évangile au désert , Paris.
T. Spidlik (1988), La spiritualité de l’Orient chrétien, OCA 206 and 230, Rome.
O. Clément, J. Serr (1989), La Prière du cœur , 2nd Ed., SpOr 6 b .
P. Miquel (1989), Le vocabulaire de l’expérience spirituelle dans la patristique grecque , ThH 86, Paris.
B. Bobrinskoy (1992), Communion du Saint-Esprit , SpOr 56.
K. Papoulidès (1993), Hagioreitika , Mount Athos.
Jean-François Colosimo
See also Experience; Gregory of Palamas; Knowledge, Divine; Monasticism; Negative Theology
Solovyov, Vladimir 1853–1900
An eminent figure in Russian religious philosophy* and ecclesiologist, moralist, and poet, Solovyov was born in Moscow and died in Uzkoe, near Moscow. The son of a famous historian and the grandson of a priest, he first completed his higher education in the natural sciences and then obtained his doctorate in philosophy. For political reasons his university career lasted only a few years (1876–82). His work can be divided into three periods, each characterized by their main emphases: from 1870, sophiological interests (“Sophia” is seen as a person and constitutes the foremost referent of Wisdom*, of the Virgin, and the Church*; there is also a sophia of the world*); from 1880, preoccupation with ecumenism* and theocracy (harmony of Church and state*); and from 1890, investigations into ethics*, aesthetics, and eschatology*. Intellectual heir to the Slavophiles, Solovyov wanted first to found a twofold philosophical critique—a critique of both positivism and idealism—on the basis of the revealed unity between the material world and the spiritual world (or between the created and uncreated), which he called unitotality . In order to define this concept he referred both to hermetic writings and to Plotinus (see Ist ., 1992). The sophiology developed by Solovyov was not just theoretical; it was also practical, or “incarnate.” It rested on religious experience* (essentially of Christ) and on the use of the notion of “divino-humanity” as the key to interpreting the real. Solovyov was reproached for having greatly borrowed from Gnosticism during this period.
Although Solovyov’s early Christology* was distinguished by Sophian thought and influenced by Schelling*, it became more classical after Lectures on Divine Humanity (1877–81) and the The Gospel as the Foundation of Life. Dogmatic Development of the Church (1886), the first part of The History and Future of Theocracy , subsequently expressed Solovyov’s ecclesiological intuitions and his ecumenical impulses. Their significance was not really recognized until our own time. Evaluating the ecclesiological positions of the contemporary Russian Church, Solovyov considered that they were marked by the tragic crisis of Raskol, who ended up punishing those who rejected Byzantine influences on the Church (see Great Controversy , chap. V). During these same years, Solovyov eagerly sought to distinguish the reasons for separation between the Eastern and Western Churches, and he emphasized that they had no direct, dogmatic foundation. He therefore thought that as a Russian Orthodox he was not in the least separated from Rome—but he carefully distinguished between “Romanity,” which was the fundamental ecclesiological principle, and “Latinity,” which was a purely cultural reality. Consequently, he did not link himself at all to the Catholic Church: for him, it was sufficient that his Orthodox faith* linked him to the faith of Catholics. His thoughts on the history of Christianity also led him to take a keen interest in Judaism*, Islam, and Buddhism. Solovyov had learned Hebrew and had studied the Talmud and the Kabbala. He also confirmed himself as a Christian moralist with The Justification of the Good (1894–96). He also wrote important works of aesthetics. Between 1892 and 1900 he was responsible for the “philosophical section” in the great Russian encyclopedic dictionary Brockhaus and Efron , for which he himself wrote almost 200 articles.
At the end of his life Solovyov saw Christian history* in its entirety as a manifestation of the judgment* of God* on the world and the Church. He then expressed a great vision of the end of time, of the return of Christ*, and of the coming of the Kingdom, in the “Court Récit sur l’Antéchrist,” which ends his Three Conversion on War, Progress, and the End of History (1899–1900). A Utopian and a visionary, Solovyov was also a polemicist. He formulated a pertinent critique of the Church of the Middle Ages and of the Church of the modern age in The Crisis of the Medieval Worldview (1891) and On Counterfeits (1891).
Strictly speaking, Solovyov did represent a school of thought, but he deeply influenced young philosophers such as N. Berdiaev, S. Boulgakov, P. Florenski, A. Losev, N.O. Lossky, S. Troubetskoï”, and others. After 60 years of being blacklisted, the heritage of his thought is today in the process of being rediscovered and is generating many studies in Russia and in the West.
Oeuvres Complètes , 10 vols., Saint Petersburg, 1911–13; phototype repro, Brussels, 1966.
French Translations: Les fan dements spirituels de la vie , 1932; La crise de la philosophie occidentale , 1947; Conscience de la Russie (14 articles or article excerpts arranged in five categories: 1) Dostoyevski and the vocation of Russia; 2) Poland and Russia; 3) the Russian problem; 4) East and West; 5) The Path of History, Montreux, 1950); La grande controverse , 1953; La Sophia et les autres écrits français , Lausanne, 1978; Trois entretiens , 1984; Le sens de l’amour, Essais de philosophic esthétique , 1985; Le développement dogmatique de l’Église , 1991; Lemons sur la divinohumanité , 1991; Le judaïsme et la question chrétienne , 1992; La justification du bien , 1997.
F. Rouleau (1990), “V1. S.,” DSp 14, 1023–1033.
D. Stremooukhoff (1935), Vl. S. et son œuvre messianique , Paris, new Ed. s.d., Lausanne.
H.U. von Balthasar (1962), Herrlichkeit II/2, Einsiedeln, 647–716.
S.M. Soloviev (1982), Vie de Vl. S. par son neveu , Paris.
A. Losev (1983), Vl. S. , Moscow.
A. Besançon (1985), La falsification du bien , Paris.
G. Przebinda (1992), Wlodzimierz Solowjow , Krakow.
M. Tenace (1993), La beauté, unité spirituelle dans les écrits esthétiques de Vl S. , Troyes.
S.V. Soloviev (1994), Œcuménisme et eschatologie selon S. , Paris.
M. Herman (1995), Vie et œuvre de Vl S. , Fribourg.
Bernard Dupuy
See also Ecumenicism; Intercommunion; Orthodoxy, Modern and Contemporary
Son of God
See Filiation


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