Social and Political Thought in the Russian Religious Renaissance

Paul Ladouceur 1
  • 1 Orthodox School of Theology at Trinity College University of Toronto, Faculté de théologie et de sciences religieuses, J0K 1S0, Rawdon, Canada

Abstract

Before the Russian revolution of 1917 and subsequently in exile, the leading figures of the Russian religious renaissance were deeply engaged in social and political questions. Vladimir Soloviev, Sergius Bulgakov and Nicolas Berdyaev in particular presented Christian philosophies and theologies as alternatives to secular philosophies which captivated the Russian intelligentsia in late imperial Russia. Their thinking was consistent with evangelical precepts and the social thinking and actions of the early Fathers of the Church, even if not always couched in explicitly Christian terms. Major Christian theological and spiritual principles inspiring their theologies include the equality of all human beings, the evangelical imperative of love of neighbour as a reflection of love of God, the uniqueness of the human person, and freedom. Social and political thinking during the Russian religious renaissance provided a solid, if inadequately recognized, basis for the development of later Orthodox social and political theology.

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