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Bulgakov, Sergei Nikolaevich (1871–1944)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-E006-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 12, 2024, from

Article Summary

A luminary of the Russian Religious-Philosophical Renaissance, Bulgakov moved from Marxism, to idealism, to Christianity in the early twentieth century. He rejected historical determinism, class struggle and all theories of progress that accept the suffering of one generation as a bridge to the happiness of another. He regarded the abolition of poverty as a moral imperative, insisted that Christianity mandates political and social reform, and wanted to create a new culture in which Orthodox Christianity would permeate every area of Russian life. His most important philosophical works, Filosofiia khoziaistva, chast’ pervaia (The Philosophy of the Economy, Part I) (1912) and Svet nevechernyi (Unfading Light) (1917), reflect his turn to a Solov’ëvian mysticism which apotheosized transfiguration, Sophia and Godmanhood (Bogochelovechestvo). Bulgakov saw the cosmos as an organic whole, animated and structured by a World Soul, an entelechy that he called Sophia, Divine Wisdom. Sophia mediates between God and his creation, working mysteriously through human beings. In emigration, Bulgakov developed new interpretations of Orthodox dogmatics and participated in the ecumenical movement. His lifelong concerns were the Church in the world and the interconnection of religion and life. His writings on contemporary political, social and cultural issues helped inspire the Russian Religious-Philosophical Renaissance.

Citing this article:
Rosenthal, Bernice Glatzer. Bulgakov, Sergei Nikolaevich (1871–1944), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-E006-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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