Georges Florovsky and the Russian Religious Renaissance

Paperback | November 29, 2015

byPaul L. Gavrilyuk

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Georges Florovsky is the mastermind of a "return to the Church Fathers" in twentieth-century Orthodox theology. His theological vision-the neopatristic synthesis-became the main paradigm of Orthodox theology and the golden standard of Eastern Orthodox identity in the West. Focusing onFlorovsky's European period (1920-1948), this study analyses how Florovsky's evolving interpretation of Russian religious thought, particularly Vladimir Solovyov and Sergius Bulgakov, informed his approach to patristic sources. Paul Gavrilyuk offers a new reading of Florovsky's neopatristictheology, by closely considering its ontological, epistemological and ecclesiological foundations. It is common to contrast Florovsky's neopatristic theology with the 'modernist' religious philosophies of Pavel Florensky, Sergius Bulgakov, and other representatives of the Russian Religious Renaissance. Gavrilyuk argues that the standard narrative of twentieth-century Orthodox theology, based onthis polarization, must be reconsidered. The author demonstrates Florovsky's critical appropriation of the main themes of the Russian Religious Renaissance, including theological antinomies, the meaning of history, and the nature of personhood. The distinctive features of Florovsky's neopatristictheology Christological focus, "ecclesial experience", personalism, and "Christian Hellenism" are best understood against the background of the main problematic of the Renaissance. Specifically, it is shown that Bulgakov's sophiology provided a polemical subtext for Florovsky's theology of creation.It is argued that the use of the patristic norm in application to modern Russian theology represents Florovsky's theological signature.Drawing on unpublished archival material and correspondence, this study sheds new light on such aspects of Florovsky's career as his family background, his participation in the Eurasian movement, his dissertation on Alexander Herzen, his lectures on Vladimir Solovyov, and his involvement inBulgakov's Brotherhood of St Sophia.

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Georges Florovsky is the mastermind of a "return to the Church Fathers" in twentieth-century Orthodox theology. His theological vision-the neopatristic synthesis-became the main paradigm of Orthodox theology and the golden standard of Eastern Orthodox identity in the West. Focusing onFlorovsky's European period (1920-1948), this study ...

Paul L. Gavrilyuk holds the Aquinas Chair in Theology and Philosophy at the Theology Department of the University of St Thomas, St Paul, Minnesota. Born in Kiev, Ukraine, he studied physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in Russia. He was one of the first scholars from the former Soviet Union to come to the United St...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.66 inPublished:November 29, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198745370

ISBN - 13:9780198745372

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction1. The Russian Religious Renaissance before the Revolution2. Early Encounters with the Renaissance3. The Fathers and Children of the Renaissance in the Dispersion4. The Eurasian Temptation5. Philosophy of History6. Reevaluation of Solovyov7. Bulgakov s Antipode8. The Sophiological Subtext of Neopatristic Synthesis9. How The Ways of Russian Theology Came to Be Written10. The Patristic Norm and the Western Pseudomorphosis of Russian Theology11. The Early Reception of The Ways of Russian Theology12. Christian Hellenism as Philosophia Perennis13. The Ecclesiological and Epistemological Contours of the Neopatristic Synthesis14. The Reception of Florovsky in Orthodox Theology15. Beyond the Polarizing Narrative

Editorial Reviews

"Excellent and lucid new book ... [a] critical appraisal of Florovsky" --Ruth Coates, Times Literary Supplement, 09/01/15