Russian Religious Thought

Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Moscow

Nineteenth century Russia experienced a flowering of religious thought due to the creative confrontation between the Eastern Orthodox tradition and modernity. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 both disrupted and intensified this development by forcing many Russian religious philosophers to find their home in the West. This course will introduce the students to the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Lev Tolstoy, Vladimir Soloviev, Sergii Bulgakov, Nikolai Berdiaev, Georges Florovsky, and Alexander Schmemann, among others. The themes covered will include the following: Fyodor Dostoevsky’s theodicy; Lev Tolstoy’s literary genius and religious struggles; Vladimir Soloviev’s theocractic ideal and apocalyptic vision; S. Bulgakov’s sophiology and political theology; Nikolai Berdiaev’s existentialist personalism; Georges Florovsky’s neopatristic synthesis; Alexander Schmemann’s liturgical theology; and select aspects of Russian Orthodox spirituality. Each class period will start with a brief introductory lecture followed by a discussion of the assigned readings. 

Course Syllabus