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Course on Russian Religious Philosophy

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This coming semester, Josephien van Kessel and Alfons Brüning of the Institute of Eastern Christian Studies will teach a course on 'Russian Religious Philosphy: Historical roots, social and political implications', as part of the module 'Edges of Europe'.
They will focus on the specifically Russian phenomenon of Religious Philosophy in the period that is known as the Russian Silver Age (1890-1920) and the first phase of Russian emigration and diaspora (ca. 1920-1940), and in particular on the social and political dimensions of the thought of six famous and influential representatives: Vladimir Solov’ëv, Sergei Bulgakov, Nikolai Berdiaev, Ivan Il’in, Georgii Florovskii (Neopatristic synthesis), and Vladimir Losskii.
Historical background is the final phase of Tsarist Russia with its tendencies towards reform and new ways of reflecting social, political and religious issues in a way relevant for social and political reform efforts. These impulses, although deprived of possibilities for direct realization after the victory of Bolshevism and protagonists driven into exile, where nonetheless further developed in the first phase of Russian exile and diaspora, now in close interaction with innovative philosophical tendencies in the West. Centers of such interaction were Prague, Berlin and, in particular, interwar Paris. Central themes in the course are the relation between religion, theology and philosophy, and the relation between the ‘spiritual’ and the ‘secular’.