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Title: Shaping modern Russian Orthodox Trinitarian theology : a critical study of Sergii Bukgakov with reference to Vladimir Lossky and Georgii Florovsky
Author: Zaviyskyy, Roman
ISNI:       0000 0004 2715 0578
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis explores the Trinitarian theology of Marxist-turned-Orthodox priest, Sergii Bulgakov (1871-1944), in the context of his theological formation, the controversies he engaged himself in, and the modern religious philosophical tradition during Russia's Silver Age. The study combines systematic, contextual, and genetic perspectives on Bulgakov. It examines the Orthodox Trinitarian theology shaped by two competing approaches-that of the neo-patristic synthesis of Georgii Florovsky (1893- 1979), Vladimir Lossky (1903-1958) and the sophiology of Bulgakov. The primary focus is on Bulgakov's trinitarian thought both within the context of his creative appropriation of the legacy of Solov'ev and within the context of his early theological formation in the pre-exilic period (-1922). The thesis reveals that what has been generally known as a clash between the neo-patristic synthesis and sophiology in the milieu of the emigre theologians in the diaspora (1935-37) had in fact already occurred in pre-revolutionary Russia in terms of the clash between the apologists of imiaslavie (1913-18) and their critics. It also analyses Bulgakov's trinitarian theology in its sophianic interpretation in light of his trinitarian critique of German Idealism. This study involves three claims: First, it argues that Bulgakov was instrumental in reviving Palamite theology that later in the diaspora became conventionalised in Russian Orthodoxy. He would increasingly reinterpret St Gregory Palamas's distinction between God's essence and energies as his own distinction between God as Absolute and Absolute-Relative, and between the Divine Sophia and Creaturely Sophia. Second, Bulgakov's theology in an ecumenical key, following the insights of Vasilii Bolotov (1854-1900), is the most promising Orthodox attempt to overcome the Filioque impasse in the course of the history of the East-West controversy. In contrast to his fellow Orthodox, Bulgakov was quite critical of the Photian treatment of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father alone- monopatrism; at the same time, he critiqued the traditional Western conception of the Filioque. Third, Bulgakov's insightful and constructive critique of the patristic and scholastic heritage can help to rectify deficiently formulated Orthodox and Catholic Trinitarian and pneumatological taxonomies. The argument proceeds by an examination of East-West usage of Trinitarian terminology, together with a detailed survey of overlooked formative factors in Bulgakov's theological evolution, leading up to a close reading of his triadological and pneumatological works through the prism of a new antinomic grammar, which Bulgakov employed in order to address theological problems. The thesis also offers an evaluation and critique of Bulgakov's sophiologically conditioned theology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available