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Title: Aleksandr Men as an interpreter of the Bible
Author: Mullaney, Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 9347 5231
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2020
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Despite considerable interest from various quarters in the assassinated Soviet priest-theologian Aleksandr Men (1935-1990), there has been little attempt to assess his contribution to theological thought. This thesis argues that his principal contribution is as an interpreter of the Bible and biblical theologian in the ‘Russian school’ tradition, whose theology offers a way of overcoming divisions between secular and sacred spheres in an eschatological ‘divine-human culture’. A methodology for reading Men’s ‘works’ is established using the details of his biography and published works. From this it is clear that interpreting the Bible was Men’s principal theological and pastoral concern, central to his many other interests. In developing a biblical theology based on ‘Russian school’ ideas he bridged the traditional Eastern ‘distance’ between dogmatic theology and exegetical commentary through hermeneutics and critical study. This makes the relationship between Men’s interpretive principles and the under-researched principles of the broader Russian Orthodox tradition productive, but not straightforward. Men’s biblical theology is helpfully considered alongside that of Sergei Trubetskoi, who interacted with Vladimir Solov′ev’s philosophy (‘divine-humanity’, ‘all-unity’) and Adolf von Harnack’s views on dogma and biblical history. Unpublished letters from Trubetskoi to Harnack show how his Solov′evian responses to the latter crystallised Trubetskoi’s christological, biblical and philosophical thinking. Men’s contribution to Russian Orthodox Biblical Studies includes his development and use of Trubetskoi’s currently little-known biblical thought. Their philosophical inheritance from Solov′ev, views on the linear nature of biblical history, the concrete personal content of the ‘God-man’ Jesus Christ and their rejection of ‘sophiological’ thinking, lead both to interpret the ‘ecclesiality’ of the Russian Church similarly. The ‘divine-human culture’ that stands at the end of biblical salvation history becomes an eschatological reconciliation of the secular and sacred spheres. This stands as a challenge to all Christians, especially well expressed through artistic interpretations of Scripture.
Supervisor: Zachhuber, Johannes Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available