The Justification of the Good: An Essay on Moral Philosophy

The Justification of the Good: An Essay on Moral Philosophy

The Justification of the Good: An Essay on Moral Philosophy

The Justification of the Good: An Essay on Moral Philosophy

Synopsis

After passing through deism, pantheism, and sundry atheistic visions of life, Vladimir Solovyov emerged as a Christian thinker of irrepressible conviction and uncommon genius. "The Justification of the Good," one of Solovyov's last and most mature works, presents a profound argument for human morality based on the world's longing for and participation in God's goodness. In the first part of the book Solovyov explores humanity's inner virtues and their full reality in Christ, weaving his moral philosophy with threads drawn from Orthodox theology. In the second part Solovyov discusses the practical implications of Christian goodness for such areas as nationalism, war, economics, legal justice, and family. This edition of "The Justification of the Good" reproduces the English edition of 1918 and is the only new publication of this work since that date. The book includes explanatory footnotes by esteemed scholar Boris Jakim and a bibliography, compiled by Jakim, of Solovyov's major philosophical and religious works.

Excerpt

Within the unforgiving confines of a relatively brief life (1853-1900), Vladimir Solovyov contrived not only to produce a prodigiously varied body of brilliant (if not infrequently eccentric) work, but also to explore most of the regions of modern religious disenchantment and re-enchantment. Indeed, such was his extraordinary precocity, in both wisdom and folly, that the latter accomplishment could still be claimed for him had he died far younger than he did — perhaps just as he was crossing the threshold of manhood. Raised in a devout and erudite household (his father was the great historian Sergei Solovyov), he was all of twelve when he began to entertain “Protestant” doubts regarding the ancient pieties of the Orthodox Church, and by the age of fourteen — when he suffered his great crisis of faith and embraced atheism — he had by his own account passed through phases of deism and pantheism. This all might have amounted to little more than the typical ferment of a bright but callow mind in the case of someone less gifted or less passionate than Solovyov; but for the young Vladimir it was a severe probation of the soul, and for the next two years he wandered spiritually through all the fields and meadows of nihilist negation, materialism, and radicalism (which in the Russia of the time, one should note, were particularly floriferous fields and meadows). He was as unreserved in his intellectual enthusiasms at this point in his development as he would prove to be in all those that followed, even cultivating in his personality something of the fashionably demoniacal nihilist style of the age (to the point that his school friend, Lev Lopatin, saw him as having become a kind of “satan”). in short, the young Vladimir embarked early on the intellectual and moral course of the radical Russian “intelligentsia,” and might well have fol-

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