Preparatory Notes on Slavophilism as a Philosophy

From V. V. Zenkovsky’s History of Russian Philosophy vol 1:

The Return to the Ecclesiastical Worldview

After the European Enlightenment, with most countries falling away to secularism, while it can be said that the Russian intelligenstia broke from the Church, the Russian tendency towards “theurgy” kept it from fully breaking.  This allowed the Slavophiles a foothold for a counterattack.

Gogol: Prophet of Orthodox Culture (172)

Russia’s path was different from the West, since Orthodox Christianity was so different from Western Christianity.  Hoped for the transfiguration of culture.

General Remarks on Slavophilism

The early Khomyakov had visited St Petersburg with his brother and they thought they had visited an alien city (181).  This convinced Khomyakov to be a fearless proponent of truth.  He later ran away from home to participate in the Greek Wars of Liberation!

“Khomyakov, like the medieval knights standing watch in the temple of the Mother of God, slept armed” (181).

Influences on Khomyakov

The Church Fathers permeated his spirit (184).  For Khomyakov the Church is an organism; for the West it is an organization.

The Basic Point of Departure of Khomyakov’s Philosophy

  1. Ecclesiastical Consciousness as a Point of Departure (187). The Church is the fullness of truth and the source of light.
  2. The Church as Invisible?  True, Khomyakov subordinates the visible church to the invisible, but he does so in ways different from Protestantism. He rejects individualization principles, and he does not forget the importance of the visible church (see his essay “The Church is One”).
  3. The Church is not an Authority.  The Spirit of God acts within the Church; not a Pope over it.
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