Theology of Culture and Interdisciplinary Research
Elusive Priest: Transformation of the Russian Orthodox Church’ Normative Discourse on Presbyter Ministry
Выпуск №24, pp. 136–169
The article addresses one of the major issues of Orthodox pastoral education, namely the ways of how the image of presbyter ministry is being formed. Based on official texts constituting the normative discourse, the author traces the transformation of the “official” image of priest in terms of his functions and consequently points at today’s transition from the traditional position of priest to that of church diaconal or missional specialist.
Keywords: priest, pastoral action, practical theology, pastoral theology, normative discourse, image of priest, Russian Orthodox Church.
Simplifying Culture in an Organized Way? The Concept and Ideologeme of Culturalness in Soviet Russia of the 1920s
Выпуск №28, pp. 117–140
The article considers the concept and ideologeme of culturalness in Soviet Russia of the 1920s based on the analysis of thematic patterns of culture in the early Soviet socio-political discourse, journalism and mass everyday life. The author outlines the process of how the categories of culturalness and the dominants in understanding culture as an ideological and pragmatic construct were formed.
Keywords: Soviet Russia of the 1920s, images of culturalness, revolution culture, work culture, everyday culture, political culture.
Averintsev’s Hermeneutics: Origins, Principles, Distinctiveness
Выпуск №32, pp. 110–127
The article outlines the principles of philological hermeneutics, namely those of large context, mutual elucidation of epochs, meta-discursive language, personal communion, semantic vertical (“‘descending’ to the reality of the text from another altitude”). It is assumed that the originality of Averintsev’s hermeneutic method is associated with the influence of Eastern Christianity, in particular with that of St. Isaac of Nineveh, St. Ephraim the Syrian, St. Gregory of Nazianzus who
described the experience of mystical knowledge of God. The poem “Annunciation” is considered the image of cognition-understanding that Averintsev offers as an alternative to traditional hermeneutic procedures.
Keywords: S.S. Averintsev, hermenevtics, understanding, historical poetics, orthodoxy, patristic tradition, knowledge of God.
The Soldiersʼ Revolution of 1917 and Prerequisites of Forming the Mass Society in Russia
Выпуск №28, pp. 98–116
The article analyses the role of soldiery in the revolutionary events of 1917 in Russia. The mass of soldiery is understood as a social new formation that took shape in Russia by the beginning of 1917 and had a special type of political culture. The author highlights the features of how soldiers perceived political realities and events as well as the motivation of their behaviour. The specific ways of setting and achieving relevant goals for the mass of soldiery are analyzed. Special attention is paid to the formation of a special type of social and political communications that connected the mass of soldiery and Bolshevik organizations in 1917. The prerequisites for a unique way of formation of mass society in Russia are also traced.
Keywords: revolution, political culture, Bolsheviks, workers, peasants, mass of soldiery, mass society.
The Unknown “Musica Universalis” by Sister Joanna
Выпуск №26, pp. 172–199
The article offers a description and a theological and artistic interpretation of a piece of textile painting (tablecloth) by Sister Joanna (Reitlinger), well-known icon painter of the XX century. This artwork is represented as a symbolic picture of the world, created on the basis of some religious and philosophical views combining the elements of ancient mythology with the Christian concept of the universe. The images of animals inscribed into the segments of the tablecloth are analysed in detail in terms of iconography and colour treatment. The author interprets them as a phenomenon of harmony between the spiritual and material origins.
Keywords: Sister Joanna (Reitlinger), textile painting, iconography of animals.
Doctor as a hurt Aesculapius
Выпуск №10, pp. 63–76
With the assistance of mythological and cultural-historical data the article examines the problem of reflexive selfconsciousness formation. The author emphasizes its tragicalness because it holds in itself the knowledge of the finiteness of a man – his mortality. That is why activity of a doctor – fight with death – is doomed. Tragic collisions of this fact are specified – both social and evident through personal fates of psychiatrists. A term “Psychiatrist cross” is introduced. The author comes to the conclusion that the calling of a doctor is Christian in its essence – to die for somebody else.
Keywords: mythology, opposites, congruence, psyche, evolution, psychiatry.
The Temporal Dimension of Discernment: History and Memory
Выпуск №32, pp. 128–151
History and memory: To this pairing, philosopher P. Ricoeur and others often draw attention an additional element: Forgetting. The construction of history involves elements of both remembering and forgetting. This is a selective process. Especially in Russia and Eastern Europe, where religious identity is closely linked with national, ethnic and cultural identity, the upheavals and social trauma of the past century have encouraged politicians, religious authorities and many others to construct a highly selective historical narrative capable of eliciting wide popular support, but at the expense of memory. For the appeal of such narratives, multiple explanations can be offered. Modern optimism has given way to post-modern anxiety. The immediacy of real-time technologies has deadened our sense of time and place. Discomfort with the rush of the present moment and uncertainty about the future may lead us to seize on anything that promises order and stability, however lacking in truth and moral substance this may be. Needed now, beyond faithful remembering and prudent forgetting, is forgiveness – a subject that Ricoeur explores in an epilogue to his study of Memory, History, Forgetting. For Ricoeur, forgiveness “constitutes the horizon common to memory, history, and forgetting”. Paths leading towards this eschatological horizon are not easy to discern. Even the noblest of human projects for truth and reconciliation fall short, though they may point in the right direction. Here we can only speak of grace. Along with humility, patience, fortitude and the other virtues, we must be graced with an honest and unflinching willingness to engage with the past, however painful this may be.
Keywords: history, memory, narrative, eschatology, forgetting, forgiveness.
Icon vs Spectacle: Tertullian and Russian Classical Literature (“On the Edge of the World” by N. S. Leskov)
Выпуск №25, pp. 168–178
In this work, the author studies the character of perception and the ways ofinheritance of the texts, ideas, verbal devices and religious intuitions of thetheologian of the early Christian epoch Tertullian by author of XIXth centuryN. S. Leskov and the reflection of them in the poetics of his story “At the Edge ofthe World”.
Keywords: Tertullian, Leskov, poetics, icon, painting, pictorial art of modernhistory, show, verbal icon, paradox, the image of Jesus Christ.
Religion and Literature: Aspects of Correlation (according to Russian Literature of the XIX Century)
Выпуск №9, pp. 56–80
The article is dedicated to problems of correlation between two basic spheres of human experience — those of religion and culture. Among numerous religious practices depicted to a various extent in the XIX century Russian literature, Christianity and, in particular, Orthodoxy, hold a special place. The author describes both various “mechanisms” of Orthodox influence over Russian culture and reasons of the contradictions that separated representatives of the Orthodox
Church from the Russian educated stratum in the XIX century. The article describes four “models” of correlation between Russian literature and Christian tradition, developed during the XIX century: religious, mediatory, realistic and artistic.
Keywords: religion, Christianity, Orthodox Church, literature, dialogue, symbol, image, Russian novel.
Special Aspects of Studying and Teaching Church Art in Western Europe and Russia in the XIX and the XX centuries
Выпуск №10, pp. 105–116
The article outlines and analyses the complicated process of studying and teaching church art. Many aspects of the process were similar for Europe and Russia, e. g. the history of art being transformed from a confessional science into an independent subject, the establishment of the polysemantic approach to studying it and more focus on the theological meaning of art works.
Keywords: history of art, church archeology, artistic form, theology, teaching.
Christ as Portrayed by I. S. Turgenev (“A Living Relic”, “Alms” and “Christ”), on Mediaeval Russian Icons and Mid-To-Late XIX Century Russian Paintings
Выпуск №30, pp. 155–181
The article focuses on Ivan Turgenev’s understanding and portrayal of Christ in three of his works: “A Living Relic”, “Alms” and “Christ”. Since Turgenev defined himself as a secular non-believer, his interest in Christ was largely interpreted as part of the quest for the “historical Jesus”, which was a popular pursuit at the time. An analysis of Turgenev’s actual writing pertaining to this portrayal demonstrates a lack of intention to juxtapose a realistic image of Christ the man and the traditional image of Christ as a God-Man. In all of the three works, Turgenev portrays Christ in the context of mystical visions and revelations. In order to broaden the scope of the research, we have analysed the writings against the images of Christ found on mediaeval Russian icons and throughout paintings and sculptures produced in Turgenev’s Russia. This comparison method enabled by extensive application of iconographic, historical and aesthetic analysis is hitherto unprecedented. The research has identified instances of alignment between Turgenev’s portrayal of Christ and the images found on icons; it has also revealed the fundamental differences in form and substance between the image created by Turgenev and the one dominating works on the same subject by representatives of both the academic and the realist schools of painting (exceptions are uniquely rare). The research has also found that the most significant features of Turgenev’s Christ image reflect a number of religious, philosophical and theological definitions.
Keywords: Christ, Turgenev, image, icon, painting, sculpture, academic art, realism, text, context.
Using Synthesis of Arts in Design of Churches as Basis for Study Course
Выпуск №7, pp. 134–155
Perception of works of art is made somewhat difficult today both by the growing consumerist and anti-artistic tendencies in the very fabric of today’s life as well as the division of the once holistic notion of art into various forms of art or “arts” plural. As a possible way out the author proposes a study course, which is based on the “synthesis of arts” as revealed in the architecture and design of Christian churches, which present the most natural example of this synthesis while at the same time forming an integral part of the world’s artistic culture.
Keywords: religious art, churches, church building, “synthesis of arts”, integration, education, perception.
Religions and Society in Europe
Выпуск №7, pp. 91–117
The recent events in the Vatican, i. e. the voluntary resignation of the Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church (numbering some 1.2 billion members) and the election of a new extraordinary Pope, have created a sensation of a truly global scale. They make it clear that one more step forward has been made from the divide between the past and the future wrought by the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church half a century ago. The history of Christianity spans more than two millennia, but it is only now that its followers have come close to a real turning point in their relations with each other and, no less importantly, in their relations with the rest of the world. For the first time ever they are really revising their approach to spiritual search within their own institutions, their approach to coexistence, dialogue, and cooperation with people of other faiths and the atheistic citizens of this planet. All this forms the theme of the present article.
Keywords: Orthodoxy, Christianity, Greek Catholic Religion, Vatican, church, society, unity, peacemaking.
“Is Everyone to Blame for All and for Everything”? Guilt and Responsibility in Russian Culture
Выпуск №28, pp. 64–80
The article deals with the attitude to the issues of guilt and responsibility in the Russian culture of the XIX and XX centuries as well as with their transformation in the present. This topic is considered with reference to the centenary of the Russian revolution in terms of comprehending the ways out from the anthropological catastrophe of the XX century. The author takes as the basic Russian idea F. M. Dostoevsky’s thought about everyone’s guilt for everything and traces its development and echoes in the writings of other authors, churchmen and society figures.
Keywords: guilt, responsibility, repentance, Dostoevsky, Russian culture,
culture of guilt.
On the New and the Old in Alexander Kornoukhov’s Art. Mosaics in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace
Выпуск №20, pp. 106–125
The article studies the mosaics by A. D. Kornoukhov on the vault of the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace. New features introduced by the artist into the program and the style of mosaic decoration are analysed in relation to the traditional décor of Christian temple. Innovations are considered in terms of their theological content, iconography, imagery and artistic presentation. The image of the East Christian temple structure and its theological symbolism were depicted on the chapel vault by means of mosaic art creating an unparalleled eschatological image of the “new heaven”.
Keywords: mosaic, church art, Byzantine tradition, artist, image, iconography, church architecture, eschatology, theological symbolism.
The Anthropological Aspect of the Revolution Theme in the Russian Emigrationʼs Religious Thought (Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov, Georgy Fedotov, Mother Maria (Skobtsova))
Выпуск №28, pp. 81–97
The author analyses how religious thinkers of the Russian emigration (Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov, Georgy Fedotov, Mother Maria (Skobtsova)) reflected on the Russian Revolution of 1917 and traced the initial anthropological shifts that later were used by the totalitarian state in its project of creating a “new” “soviet human being”. Particularly, they focused on such phenomena as being captivated by the chaos of riot, merging with crowd, refusing to think independently. Opposing to this process of dehumanisation was viewed by them as understanding and recognising of their own guilt and historical responsibility for the crisis shaking Russia as well as their interconnectedness with those suffering, perishing, and “defeated”.
Keywords: anthropology, revolution, human being, history, Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov, Georgy Fedotov, Mother Maria (Skobtsova).
Artist between the Paradise on Earth and the Kingdom of Heaven
Выпуск №20, pp. 93–105
The article raises the question of why the subjects related to the pristine paradis and to the coming Kingdom of Heaven are usually not convincingly addressed in the world art, especially in the visual one. The author finds the cause in the absence of the artist’s inner experience to be rendered in her/his art images. The artist deals with a different task. Whatever is portrayed, the artist overcomes, more or less, the density of the “leather clothes” of sin and creates a “transparent” form, which does not hide but shows the essence, the soul of things. Therefore, a true work of art makes the Creator’s presence tangible in all His creation.
Keywords: image of paradise in art, artist’s inner experience, corner of paradise, paradise on earth, “leather clothes”, thin physicality, “form transparency”, icon and portrait.
Biblical Roots of Genetics
Выпуск №10, pp. 77–102
The article demonstrates an attempt to elicit Biblical roots of Genetics. For this purpose several scriptural stories, particularly the story of Jacob at the time of his service at Laban’s house, are analyzed from the point of view of modern Genetics and its rules. Also, the author proposes a hypothesis which answers the question of how could it become possible that the discoverer of basic laws of Genetics was not a scientist but an Augustinian who did not possess even a university diploma. The author supposes that Gregor Mendel reproduced the Biblical experiment of Jacob with the only difference in a model object.
Keywords: Genetics, selection, genotype, phenotype, Mendel, Jacob’s sheep, moufflon.
“False Ideas are the Greatest Obstacle on the Way of the Gospel”
Выпуск №8, pp. 123–149
The article presents an outlook over a possibility of the synthesis of science and religion. Modern development of a doctrine of the contemporary Church requires a dialogue between the evolutionary biology and Christian theology. The dialogue will allow to convey the nunciate in a form adequate for the Gospel addressee, i. e. for the people living in “the age of science”. This is one of the most urgent missionary tasks. The article critically analyses the alternative to structuring of such a dialogue – phenomenon of “scientific creationism”. The reasons of its methodological, ontological, theological inadequacy for the scientific world view are explained. Building its arguments on modern research of the evolution mechanisms, the author presents a possible understanding of the hexahemeron taking into account modern explanation of the evolution phenomenon. The given view on the evolution may answer all the claims, addressed towards it. It turns from an intellectual temptation into a space of Divine Revelation.
Keywords: evolution, scientific creationism, creationists, Darwinism, homeotic genes, teleological evolution, tychohenetical evolution, hybridization, speciation.
A Word from the Golden Gate: Excerpta from the Correspondence between Archbishop John (Shakhovskoy) and A. I. Solzhenitsyn (1968–1982)
Выпуск №28, pp. 159–185
This article is dedicated to the centenary of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s birth. The writer’s archive contains several letters written by Archbishop of San Francisco John (Shakhovskoy), an outstanding figure of the Russian Diaspora who highly esteemed Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn even before his expulsion from the USSR in 1974. Archbishop John was familiar with his publications in the “Novy Mir” magazine. After 1974 he started correspondence with the writer, met him in person and donated some sacred objects for his family chapel in Vermont. The article reconstructs the chronology of the relationship between Archbishop John and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn according to Shakhovskoy’s reactions in the emigre press to the writer’s work. An excerpt of their correspondence from the Solzhenitsyn’s archive in Troitse-Lykovo is published for the first time.
Keywords: Archbishop John (Shakhovskoy), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Orthodox Church in America, Russian realism
From the “Prayer” to the Refusal to Receive Absolution: Is It Possible to Define Solzhenitsynʼs Christianity?
Выпуск №28, pp. 186–202
The article traces the evolution of Christian themes and motifs in A. I. Solzhenitsynʼs work and raises the question of the nature of his Christian faith and of its role in his literary and journalistic writings. Special attention is paid to the imagery of the righteous, to the theme of repentance and forgiveness as well as to the writerʼs interest to aesthetics in Christianity and to the representation of Old Believers. The article also reflects how Olivier Clement and Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann viewed Solzhenitsynʼs Christianity. It is concluded that there was a complex controversy between of the heavenly “republic” and the earthly one within the writerʼs creative universe.
Keywords: Christianity, Christian writer, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann, repentance, Solzhenitsynʼs work.
Place of Artistic Creativity in the life of the Church: the Perspective of the Iconic, Theological and Philosophical Works of Nun Joanna (Reitlinger) (1898–1988)
Выпуск №10, pp. 117–133
On the basis of the creative heritage of the nun Joanna (Reitlinger), the article discusses the problem of artistic creativity in the Church: questions of the artistic basis of the iconography, the influence of personal faith and the experience of communion with God on the arts, a link to the artist-icon painter with the revelation about God and man. In connection with the rebirth of the mission and of the worship of the dialogue with the society, restoration of destroyed churches and the construction of new issue of church art turns out to be significant for the church and society.
Keywords: icon painting canon, free painting, creative icon, icon-painter, monkhood, Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov, Maurice Denis.
The Idea of the Tradition in G. K. Chesterton’s Works
Выпуск №25, pp. 179–197
The article discovers the significance of the idea of Tradition in philosophical and artistic works by the early twentieth century English writer G. K. Chesterton. The spiritual, ethical and social content of tradition is revealed within Chesterton’s conception. The connection of tradition with “common people’s” attitude to life is identified. The analysis of publicistic and philosophical essays and that of his novel “The Flying Inn” demonstrates the unity of thought and image in Chesterton’s works. It allows to identify the genre nature of his magnum opuses as that of “novels of ideas”.
Keywords: G. K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy”, tradition, common man, everlastingman, Christianity, “The Flying Inn”, the wine, joy, freedom.
On the Style of Byzantine Art of the VI–VII Centuries
Выпуск №8, pp. 84–93
In the Early Byzantine art already two main tendencies begin to take shape: creation of an image by old classical means with their little modification, and substitution of the classical artistic language with the stricter one far from antiquity. Both became apparent already in the VI–VII centuries. In the VI century art the strict variant of an image and style was spread wider than the classical one. This kind of style represents a special type of metropolitan art, which existed into the VII century, though not as a dominant. The other tendency – closeness to the classics – is a special feature of the VII century works. Adhesion to classical traditions would stay a permanent basic value of Byzantine art, as well as the effort to attach all possible spirituality to an image. Sometimes the two modes reached equilibrium. Usually one of them prevailed, however. Byzantine art never lost its classical foundation and its main component — the mark of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Keywords: Byzantine art, mosaics, frescos, classical, ascetic.
Выпуск №32, pp. 88–109
This paper aims to present from a new perspective the figures of the philologist Sergei Averintsev and of his pupil, the poet Olga Sedakova, i. e. seeing them as “public intellectuals”. Bearing in mind that this categorisation may seem paradoxical when applied to these Russian intellectuals who undertook a significant part of their work in the “alternative” culture of the post-Soviet era, the first part of this paper provides a reconstruction of their intellectual biographies which aims to justify the main thesis by offering a view on elements of the public attitude that have characterised their activity. The core of their intellectual engagement lies in their interpretation of the issue of culture as paideia, i. e. as a living word that needs to be transmitted not only in the academic sphere but in the public domain as well. Re-establishing the broken ties with the sources of culture (both Christian and secular) – an approach that recalls that employed by the humanists of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries – represents for Averintsev and Sedakova the very task of culture, i.e. offering to human beings the richness of tradition through new words, giving them the possibility to rediscover their value and their openness to the Otherness and the transcendence. The selection of the sources that are provided in the paper focuses almost entirely upon discourses, homilies or conference papers delivered in non-academic contexts which are still highly neglected in the literature devoted to them.
Keywords: Sergei Averintsev, Olga Sedakova, Russian public intellectuals, Christian Humanism, culture, paideia, tradition.
Tsar-Martyr vs Tsar-Liberator. Why was not Alexander II canonized?
Выпуск №37, pp. 139–160
This article analyzes both the formation and functioning of the image of Alexander II as a tsar-martyr in the last quarter of the 19th century. The interpretation of the terrorist attacks against the Emperor and then his assassination on March 1, 1881 as a willing sacrifice for the “sins” of the Russian people and even as “co-crucifixion with the First Martyr Christ” was created by the
preachers of the Russian Orthodox Church. It allowed to speak about the tsar’s death not as a profound political crisis but as an act of “saving” Russia. The image of the tsar-martyr was actively used both in the official discourse and in press, not only conservative, but also liberal.
At the same time the constant use of this image had unexpected results and was accepted too literally, which led to direct demands for the canonization of Alexander II, the creation of icons with his image and the holding of religious processions with portraits of the Emperor. In the second part of the article I discuss a number of hypotheses why the canonization of Alexander II which logically followed from the discursive strategy of the Russian Orthodox Church and which found support of the flock was not realized by the political elite of the Russian Empire. Alexander II became part of the historical memory of Russia as a Tsar-Liberator, not a Tsar-Martyr.
Keywords: Alexander II, populist’s terror, canonization, martyr, representation.
European Idea in Russian Culture. Its Past and Present
Выпуск №7, pp. 74–90
The paper introduces a new notion of “the European idea” — the idea of Western civilization and its universal meaning as it is embedded in a long-standing tradition of Russian thought and practical life. The term is coined after a well-known and widely used notion of “the Russian idea” which covers numerous aspects of Russia’s self-identity, its claim to being a separate civilization with a unique value system. That system though, has always been described through a sharp contrast with the Occident. Apparently, as the author undertakes to show, Russia has spent as much energy creating and recreating the positive image of the West, finding a rich source of inspiration in the images of a different and more “humane” life borrowed from abroad. This type of activity though, has never received its proper name. “The European idea” is the name of a phenomenon experienced for at least 300 years in Russian life. Yet, as the author shows, the phenomenon itself is much older, its ‘past’ code-name (i. e. before Peter the Great) would be of course “Byzantium”. For it is after this Byzantine model of Europe’s Christian and antique heritage that pagan Russia was modelling itself. Yet concentrating upon a later (post-schism, post-Byzantium, post-Peter) version of the same phenomenon the author of “the European idea” tries to extract that implicit element which was passed on to the lore of Russian tradition 300 years ago. She calls it an implicit Christian element which was passed not through the formal indoctrination (Catholic or Protestant), but through the works of classic Western lay authors, artists, and thinkers who greatly drew upon the spiritual sources of Western Christianity even if most non-conscientiously. Yet surprisingly the author implies that the motives most constituent of the Russian “European idea” are those that pertain not to Europe, but to Christianity as such. Only in Russia they remained overshadowed by other more treasured aspects of Christianity. Among those new “Western” motives (i. e. aspects more developed in the West) the author enumerates aspiration for freedom, the dignity of Man, the value of artistic and intellectual work (creative spirit). They include a keen sense of the present state of things in its historic perspective, a humanitarian attitude and social solidarity. It was not until recently, the author remarks that Russia’s “European idea” began to also pay tribute to Europe’s civil law and its basic institutional foundations, those “prosaic” traits of Europe’s fabric which used to repel even the most ardent followers in Russia. “The European idea” tends to designate a partial and impassionate Russian thought about Europe, its hopes and its glory. Just as it also speaks of the unyielding tradition of admiration that the West expresses for those aspects of the Orthodox tradition that it finds less expressed in its own Christian heritage and that are popularly known as “the Holy Rus”.
Keywords: Europe, Russia, cultural implantation, Christian humanism.
M. V. Yudina’s Spiritual Journey
Выпуск №22, pp. 85–107
Maria Veniaminovna Yudina (1899–1970) went down in the history of the XX century Russian culture as a world-renowned pianist, tutor and musical figure. Less known are the circumstances of her spiritual and church life. However, Maria Yudina, a person of rare integrity, did not split these areas of her life. In their unity, these form what could be called her ‘spiritual journey’, allowing her to get maturity in spite of the total ideological pressure and to spiritually resist the ‘anthropological disaster’. The article discusses the major milestones of this journey: searching and finding faith, church life and her quest for answers to spiritual questions.
Keywords: history, confessorship, music, culture, spiritual guidance, memory, resistance.
Head of the Department of History and Culture of the Ancient East, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences; associate professor, deputy director, V. S. Golenishchev Centre of Egyptology, RSUH; Associate Professor, SFI (Moscow)
Narrative of the “Monastic Utopia” in the Coptic Literature as a Result of Convergence
Выпуск №27, pp. 119–133
The article investigates one of the “wandering” topics of Christian literature — the image of the monastic earthly paradise or utopia in the writings of the “peregrination” genre. This study is focused on the development of this topic in the Coptic “Life of St. Onuphrius the Anchorite”. Some details in the Coptic versions show that their Greek original was different from the extant Greek text. On the other hand, it is possible to trace parallels with the topics of the pseudepigrapha — the legend about the paradise of the Egyptian priests Jannes and Jambres, the pre- Christian legend of the blessed descendants of Rechab. The coincidence of details, especially in some proper names, and the structural similarity suggest that the Coptic text is a result of the convergence of different traditions.
Keywords: Christianity, patristic hagiography, pseudepigrapha, earthly paradise.
Not Tolerance but Mutual Appreciation and Ability to Learn from Each Other
Выпуск №7, pp. 118–133
The article addresses the problem of tolerance, so vital and urgent for today’s global world. In contrast with the commonplace understanding of tolerance as showing mutual respect and acceptance of different points of view in a dialogue (being tolerant and patient with others instead of conflicting or indifferent) the author proposes a different approach, which in his opinion is rooted in Christian tradition. Essentially this approach involves a common premise shared by all the parties in a dialogue: they all agree upon the existence of the one truth, which is the same for everyone. And it is this truth that they set out as their common goal at the same time fully acknowledging the incomplete character of their own knowledge, the possibility of different ways of attaining that truth, and showing a readiness to learn from each other. The author explores different examples of this type of dialogue in history (from Justin the Philosopher to Vatican II).
Keywords: tolerance, dialogue, Justin the Philosopher, Clement of Alexandria, Romanos the Melodist, Vatican II.
Theosophic and Anthroposophic Ideas in Wassily Kandinsky’s Aesthetic Theory
Выпуск №10, pp. 134–146
The article analyses aesthetic theory of Wassily Kandinsky in order to find out ideas directly or implicitly connected to occult and esoteric systems, especially popular at the times when the theory appeared. Tracing theosophic and anthroposophic ideas in Kandinsky’s theory stems from the fact that all the European occult sciences of that period somehow originated from E. Blavatsky’s theosophy and R. Steiner’s anthroposophy.
Keywords: aesthetic theory, Wassily Kandinsky, abstractionism in art, Blavatsky’s theosophy, Steiner's anthroposophy.
The Impact of the 1917 Revolution on the Evolution of the Concept of Mental Disorder
Выпуск №28, pp. 141–158
The psychiatric criteria of norm and mental illness are socially relevant, as they can be used as tools of social manipulation and crackdown on any kind of dissent. Referring to the cultural and historical background, the paper demonstrates the prevalence of the fatalistic biological and the subjective voluntarist approaches to the issue of mental norm and pathology in the pre-revolutionary period. The Soviet era is characterised by impersonal collectivism and ideological onesidedness. In all these cases, willingly or not, either moral (ideological) or purely biological evaluations are decisive in diagnosing mental disorders. The today’s definition of mental health, formulated by the World Health Organization, is also not free from these shortcomings. Based on the trichotomy of spirit-soul-body, taken by the Russian psychiatry from Christian anthropology, the concepts of psyche (mental processes) and mental disorder are suggested. The author also highlights their relation to the spheres of “spiritual” and “mental”.
Keywords: degeneration, voluntarism, subjectivism, reeducation, trichotomy, apophaticism, the 1917 Revolution.