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The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute

ISSN: 2658-7599 (print)
2713-3141 (online)

Sobornost as an Anthropological and Ecclesiological Concept in the Works of Nikolay Berdyaev

Sofia Androsenko, Press Secretary, St. Philaret’s Institute, Moscow
pp. 35–62
DOI: 10.25803/26587599_2021_40_35
The article presents an examination of “sobornost” in the works of Nikolay Berdyaev in the context of his anthropological and ecclesiological views. This approach was outlined in the studies of the 20th — early 21st century, but hasn’t been sufficiently developed. Sobornost, which Berdyaev himself labeled as the quality of the personal conscience as it stands in the presence God and as the essential characteristic of the Church, is interpreted on the basis of his works in which he expounds his views on man and the Church, the observations of scholars who have addressed the topic earlier also taken into account. It is shown how, drawing on the experience of sobornost, Berdyaev resolves the collision between the personal freedom and the unity of people. The structure of the article is largely based on Berdyaev’s own remarks about the significance of gnoseology, ethics and eschatology in his teaching on man and the Church, and to a certain degree is of a heuristic nature. The philosopher’s anthropological and ecclesiological views, with their key concept of “Christology of man”, are characterized, and then his understanding of sobornost is reconstructed from three perspectives. First, the gnoseological interpretation of sobornost is considered (Berdyaev’s specific understanding of gnosis, his statement about the correlation between cognition (gnosis) and the levels of community between people, as well as his concept of “sobornal gnoseology” are analyzed). Second, the ethical meaning of sobornost is shown (the correlation is traced between the ethics of law, the ethics of redemption and the ethics of creativity, on the one hand, and the implementation of sobornost and the actualization of personality, on the other hand; the meaning of “sobornal gnoseology” for Berdyaev’s teaching on ethics is shown). Thirdly, the specific eschatological character of Berdyaev’s sobornost is explained, to which a number of researchers drew attention (the anthropological grounds of this eschatologism, the “profitable” and open, divine-human nature of “active-creative eschatology” are shown).
Keywords: Nikolay Berdyaev, sobornost, ecclesiology, Christian anthropology, church, man, personality, uncreated freedom, cognition, conscience, church gnosis, ethics, eschatology, creativity, Ungrund
For citation: Androsenko S. V. (2021). “Sobornost as an anthropological and ecclesiological concept in the works of Nikolay Berdyaev”. The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute, 2021, iss. 40, pp. 35–62. DOI: 10.25803/26587599_2021_40_35.

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