Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Cross & the Sickle: Sergei Bulgakov and the Fate of Russian Religious Philosophy

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Cross & the Sickle: Sergei Bulgakov and the Fate of Russian Religious Philosophy

Article excerpt

The Cross & the Sickle:Sergei Bulgakov and the Fate of Russian Religious Philosophy. By Catherine Evtuhov. (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. 1997. Pp. xii, 278. $42.50.)

The tortured and tumultuous years of the early twentieth century, pervaded by the cataclysmic implosion of the ancien regime and the emergence of a new Bolshevik state, marked not only vast social and political upheaval, but also a period of enormous cultural and intellectual change. In particular, the intelligentsia-renowned for its monomaniacal devotion to the revolutionary ethos-underwent profound changes, as significant components shifted from a materialistic worldview to one deeply influenced by neo-Kantian, religious, and ultimately non-revolutionary perspectives. Especially in the inter-revolutionary years of 1907-1917, many in the intelligentsia abjured the evolutionary mission and applauded the famous collection of essays called Vekhi ("Landmarks") that became symbolic of the nonrevolutionary, spiritual quest in the intelligentsia. All this has been the subject of considerable research, especially in recent years, including such rich, archivally-driven studies as M. A. Kolerov's Ne mir, no mech. Russkaia religiozno-filosofskaia pechat' ot Problem idealizma' do 'Vekh,' 1902-1909 (St. Petersburg,1996).

This book offers an intellectual biography of Sergei Bulgakov (1871-1944) before his emigration in 1923. Over the past few decades, we have already had close studies of other seminal figures, such as P B. Struve, and Evtuhov's biography now adds another key figure. More than most other members of the intelligentsia, Bulgakov-son of a priest, former Marxist, Christian socialist, and firm believer in the essential "religiousness" of the Russian people-laid great emphasis on the need for a "reformation" and fundamental renewal of the Russian Church. …

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