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Title: The Slavophile Dimension in Pavel Florenskii's Religious Aesthetic
Author(s): COATES, Ruth
Journal: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies
Volume: 57    Issue: 1-2   Date: 2005   
Pages: 91-107
DOI: 10.2143/JECS.57.1.2003118

Abstract :
Florenskii’s is a Slavophile aesthetic insofar as Orthodox culture, in particular the icon, is seen as the ideal standard of art against which the art of non-Orthodox, in particular Western culture, is found wanting. At the same time, the essential division for Florenskii is in a large majority of his writings not between Russia and the West, as it was for Khomiakov and Kireevskii, but between the medieval and the modern (post-Renaissance) worldview. Living in a period – the early twentieth century – that was witnessing a climax in the interrogation and disintegration of the philosophical certainties of the modern age, Florenskii was able to take a broader perspective than his Slavophile forebears, by synthesising the insights of modernist Symbolism with a profound knowledge of and sympathy with pre-modern, Eastern Christian, theology. Florenskii’s concern was to safeguard the medieval worldview that he found preserved in Orthodoxy for future generations. This is, I think, why a nationalist bias emerges in his work primarily when he is fighting for the Church’s survival in the face of an ideology – Marxism-Leninism – with strong roots in the modern age, which ironically Florenskii, to his great dismay, found to be in the ascendant in his country at the very moment when he was eagerly anticipating that age’s imminent demise.

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