Pavel Alexandrovich Florensky (also P. A. Florenskiĭ, Florenskii, Florenskij; Russian: Па́вел Алекса́ндрович Флоре́нский; January 21 [O.S. January 9] 1882 – December 1937) was a Russian Orthodox theologian, priest, philosopher, mathematician, physicist, electrical engineer, inventor, polymath and neomartyr.
Pavel Aleksandrovich Florensky was born on January 21, 1882 (January 9 according to the Julian calendar) in Yevlakh, Elisabethpol Governorate, into the family of a railroad engineer, Aleksandr Florensky, in the town of Yevlakh in Elisabethpol Governorate (in present-day western Azerbaijan). His father came from a family of Russian Orthodox priests while his mother Olga (Salomia) Saparova (Saparyan, Sapharashvili) was of the Tbilisi Armenian nobility. His maternal grandmother Sofia Paatova (Paatashvili) was from Sighnaghi, Georgia. Florensky "always searched for the roots of his Armenian family" and noted that they came from Karabakh.
Florensky completed his high school studies (1893-1899) at the Tbilisi classical lyceum, where several companions were later to distinguish themselves, among them the founder of Russian Cubo-Futurism, David Burliuk. In 1899, Florensky underwent a religious crisis, connected to a visit to Leo Tolstoy caused by an awareness of the limits and relativity of the scientific positivism and rationality which had been an integral part of his initial formation within his family and high school. He decided to construct his own solution by developing theories that would reconcile the spiritual and the scientific visions on the basis of mathematics. He entered the department of mathematics of Moscow State University and studied under Nikolai Bugaev, and became friends with his son, the future poet and theorist of Russian symbolism, Andrei Bely. He was particularly drawn to Georg Cantor's set theory.
He also took courses on ancient philosophy. During this period the young Florensky, who had no religious upbringing, began taking an interest in studies beyond "the limitations of physical knowledge" In 1904 he graduated from the Moscow State University and declined a teaching position at the university: instead, he proceeded to study theology at the Ecclesiastical Academy in Sergiyev Posad. During his theological studies there, he came into contact with Elder Isidore on a visit to Gethsemane Hermitage, and Isidore was to become his spiritual guide and father. Together with fellow students Ern, Svenitsky and Brikhnichev he founded a society, the Christian Struggle Union (Союз Христиaнской Борьбы), with the revolutionary aim of rebuilding Russian society according to the principles of Vladimir Solovyov. Subsequently he was arrested for membership in this society in 1906: however, he later lost his interest in the Radical Christianity movement.
During his studies at the Ecclesiastical Academy, Florensky's interests included philosophy, religion, art and folklore. He became a prominent member of the Russian Symbolism movement, together with his friend Andrei Bely and published works in the magazines New Way (Новый Путь) and Libra (Весы). He also started his main philosophical work, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth: an Essay in Orthodox Theodicy in Twelve Letters. The complete book was published only in 1914 but most of it was finished at the time of his graduation from the academy in 1908.
According to Princeton University Press: "The book is a series of twelve letters to a "brother" or "friend," who may be understood symbolically as Christ. Central to Florensky's work is an exploration of the various meanings of Christian love, which is viewed as a combination of philia (friendship) and agape (universal love). He describes the ancient Christian rites of the adelphopoiesis (brother-making), which joins male friends in chaste bonds of love. In addition, Florensky was one of the first thinkers in the twentieth century to develop the idea of the Divine Sophia, who has become one of the central concerns of feminist theologians."
Recent research by Michael Hagemeister, known mostly for his on The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, has authenticated that antisemitic material, written under a pseudonym, is in Florensky's hand. Florensky's biographer Avril Pyman evaluates Florensky's position regarding Jews as, contextually for the period, a middle way between liberal critics who excoriated at the time of the incident Russia's backwardness and the behaviour of instigators of pogroms like the Black Hundreds.
After graduating from the academy, he married Anna Giatsintova, the sister of a friend, in August 1910, a move which shocked his friends who were familiar with his aversion to marriage. He continued to teach philosophy and lived at Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra until 1919. In 1911 he was ordained into the priesthood. In 1914 he wrote his dissertation, About Spiritual Truth. He published works on philosophy, theology, art theory, mathematics and electrodynamics. Between 1911 and 1917 he was the chief editor of the most authoritative Orthodox theological publication of that time, Bogoslovskiy Vestnik. He was also a spiritual teacher of the controversial Russian writer Vasily Rozanov, urging him to reconcile with the Orthodox Church.
After the October Revolution he formulated his position as: "I have developed my own philosophical and scientific worldview, which, though it contradicts the vulgar interpretation of communism... does not prevent me from honestly working in the service of the state." After the Bolsheviks closed the Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra (1918) and the Sergievo-Posad Church (1921), where he was the priest, he moved to Moscow to work on the State Plan for Electrification of Russia (ГОЭЛРО) under the recommendation of Leon Trotsky who strongly believed in Florensky's ability to help the government in the electrification of rural Russia. According to contemporaries, Florensky in his priest's cassock, working alongside other leaders of a Government department, was a remarkable sight.
In 1924, he published a large monograph on dielectrics. He worked simultaneously as the Scientific Secretary of the Historical Commission on Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra and published his works on ancient Russian art. He was rumoured to be the main organizer of a secret endeavour to save the relics of St. Sergii Radonezhsky whose destruction had been ordered by the government.
In the second half of the 1920s, he mostly worked on physics and electrodynamics, eventually publishing his paper Imaginary numbers in Geometry («Мнимости в геометрии. Расширение области двухмерных образов геометрии») devoted to the geometrical interpretation of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. Among other things, he proclaimed that the geometry of imaginary numbers predicted by the theory of relativity for a body moving faster than light is the geometry of the Kingdom of God. For mentioning the Kingdom of God in that work, he was accused of agitation by Soviet authorities.
In 1928, Florensky was exiled to Nizhny Novgorod. After the intercession of Ekaterina Peshkova (wife of Maxim Gorky), Florensky was allowed to return to Moscow. On 26 February 1933 he was arrested again, on suspicion of engaging in a conspiracy with Pavel Gidiulianov, a professor of canon law who was a complete stranger to Florensky, to overthrow the state and install, with Nazi assistance, a fascist monarchy. He defended himself vigorously against the imputations until he realized that by showing a willingness to admit them, though false, he would enable several acquaintances to resecure their liberty. He was sentenced to ten years in the labor camps by the infamous Article 58 of Joseph Stalin's criminal code (clauses ten and eleven: "agitation against the Soviet system" and "publishing agitation materials against the Soviet system"). The published agitation materials were the monograph about the theory of relativity. His manner of continuing to wear priestly garb annoyed his employers. The state offered him numerous opportunities to go into exile in Paris, but he declined them.
He served at the Baikal Amur Mainline camp until 1934 when he was moved to Solovki, where he conducted research into producing iodine and agar out of the local seaweed. In 1937 he was transferred to Saint Petersburg (then known as Leningrad) where, on 25 November, he was sentenced by an extrajudicial NKVD troika to death. According to a legend he was sentenced for the refusal to disclose the location of the head of St. Sergii Radonezhsky that the communists wanted to destroy. The saint's head was indeed saved and in 1946 the Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra was opened again. The relics of St. Sergii became fashionable once more. The saint's relics were returned to Lavra by Pavel Golubtsov, later known as Archbishop Sergiy.
After sentencing, Florensky was transported in a special train together with another 500 prisoners to a location near St. Petersburg, where he was shot dead on the night of 8 December 1937 in a wood not far from the city. The site of his burial is unknown. Antonio Maccioni states that he was shot at the Rzhevsky Artillery Range, near Toksovo, which is located about twenty kilometers northeast of Saint Petersburg and was buried in a secret grave in Koirangakangas near Toksovo together with 30,000 others who were executed by the NKVD at the same time. In 1997, a mass burial ditch was excavated in the Sandarmokh forest, which may well contain his remains. His name was registered in 1982 among the list of New Martyrs and Confessors.
Florensky, often read for his contributions to the religious renaissance of his time or scientific thinking, came to be studied in a broader perspective in the 1960s, a change associated with the revival of interest in neglected aspects of his oeuvre shown by the Tartu school of semiotics, which evaluated his works in terms of their anticipation of themes that formed part of the theoretical avant-garde's interests in a general theory of cultural signs at that time. Read in this light, the evidence that Florensky's thinking actively responded to the art of the Russian modernists. Of particular importance in this regard was their publication of his 1919 essay, delivered as a lecture the following year, on spatial organization in the Russian icon tradition, entitled Reverse perspective, a concept which Florensky, like Erwin Panofsky later, picked up from Oskar Wulff's 1907 essay, 'Die umgekehrte Perspective und die Niedersicht. Here Florensky contrasted the dominant concept of spatiality in Renaissance art analysing the visual conventions employed in the iconological tradition. This work has remained since its publication a seminal text in this area down to the present day. In that essay, his interpretation has recently been developed and reformulated critically by Clemena Antonova, who argues rather that what Florensky analysed is better described in terms of "simultaneous planes".
Agnostic existentialism is a type of existentialism which makes no claim to know whether there is a "greater picture"; rather, it simply asserts that the greatest truth is that which the individual chooses to act upon. It feels that to know the greater picture, whether there is one or not, is impossible, or impossible so far, or of little value. Like the Christian existentialist, the agnostic existentialist believes existence is subjective.Aleksei Losev
Aleksei Fedorovich Losev (Russian: Алексе́й Фёдорович Ло́сев; September 23, 1893 – May 24, 1988) was a Russian philosopher, philologist and culturologist, one of the most prominent figures in Russian philosophical and religious thought of the 20th century.Avril Pyman
Avril Pyman (aka Dr Avril Sokolov, FBA) (born 4 May 1930) is a British scholar and translator of Russian literature. In addition to translating poetry and children's literature, she has written a study of Russian symbolism as well as biographies of Alexander Blok and Pavel Florensky.She was married to the late Russian artist Kirill Sokolov.
Selected translations include:
Sarybelli, Osman and Ibrahimov, Mirza (editors). Azerbaijanian poetry : an anthology : classic, modern, traditional. Moscow : Progress Publishers.  p. Translated by Tom Botting, Gladys Evans, Olga Moisseyenko, Arthur Shkarovsky, Irina Zheleznova, Louis Zellikoff, Dorian Rottenberg, Eugene Felgenhauer, and Avril Pyman.
Ognev, Vladimir and Rottenberg, Dorian (editors). Fifty Soviet poets. Moscow : Progress Publishers. 1st ed., 1969. 533 p. Translated by Dorian Rottenberg, Olga Shartse, Avril Pyman, Eugene Felgenhauer, Peter Tempest, Irina Zheleznova, Lois Zellikoff, Tom Botting, Gladys Evans, Jack Lindsay, and Archie Johnstone.
Lazarev, L. (editor). Let the living remember : Soviet war poetry. Moscow : Progress Publishers. 1st ed., 1975.  p. Series title: Progress Soviet authors library. Translated by Alex Miller, Olga Shartse, Tom Botting, Walter May, Margaret Wettlin, Peter Tempest, Avril Pyman, Dorian Rottenberg, Gladys Evans, Irina Zheleznova, Louis Zellikoff, and Alex Miller.
Samarin, Roman and Nikolyukin, Alexander (editors). Shakespeare in the Soviet Union : a collection of articles. Moscow : Progress Publishers. 1st ed., 1966.  + illustrations p. Translated by Avril Pyman.
The Golden Fleece : tales from the Caucasus. Moscow : Progress Publishers. 1st ed., 1971.  p. Translated by Avril Pyman, which is translated to:Persian by Gholagha Daneshian, 1989 and also by Ardeshir Nikpour, 2000
Azeri Turkish by Mohammad Hariri Akbari, 2005
Sorani Kurdish by Mhamad Hamasaleh Tofigh, 2000Molok, Yuri (editor). Vladimir Favorsky. Moscow : Progress Publishers. 1st ed., 1967. 322 p. Translated by Avril Pyman.
Barto, Agnia. Mashenka. Moscow : Progress Publishers. 1976. 14 p. Translated by Avril Pyman.
Barto, Agnia. Merry Rhymes. Moscow : Progress Publishers. 2nd ed., 1980.  p. Translated by Dorian Rottenberg, Avril Pyman, Eugene Felgenhauer, Irina Zheleznova, and Lois Zelikoff.
Gorky, Maxim. Selected stories. Moscow : Progress Publishers. 1978.  p. Series title: Collected works in ten volumes : volume I. Translated by Margaret Wettlin, Avril Pyman, Bernard Isaacs, and Robert Daglish.
Kubilinskas, Kostas. The frog queen. Moscow : Progress Publishers. 1st ed., 1974.  p. Translated by Avril Pyman.
Pushkin, Alexander. Selected works in two volumes : volume one : poetry. Moscow : Progress Publishers. 1974. 208 p. Series title: Progress Russian classics series. Translated by Olga Shartze, Irina Zheleznova, and Avril Pyman.Bamlag
Baikal Amur Corrective Labor Camp (Bamlag) (Russian: Байка́ло-Аму́рский исправи́тельно-трудово́й ла́герь, Бамла́г) was a subdivision of GULAG which existed during 1932-1948.
Its administration, headed by Naftaly Frenkel (1933-1938), was headquartered in the settlement of Svobodny, Amur Oblast.Its main activity was construction of the Baikal Amur Mainline and secondary railroad branches. Its peak headcount was about 201,000 (1938). In 1938 it was dismantled into several camps.Elder Isidore
Elder Isidore (1814–1908) was a Russian Orthodox monastic of Gethsemane Hermitage in Russia. Elder Isidore was born with the name John in Lyskov in an unknown year (estimated to be 1814). While still in the womb, his mother was told to have visited St. Seraphim of Sarov, who called her from a crowd and bowed before her, prophesying that her son would a great Ascetic. In his youth he entered Gethsemane Skete in Sarov and became a call attendant to Archimandrite Anthony. In 1860 he took his vows and began a life of asceticism at Gethsame. Of his spiritual children, one of the most notable was Pavel Florensky, who wrote a narrative of his life after his repose called "Salt of the Earth". Elder Isidore died of natural causes in 1908.
Feast day: February 3 (Old Calendar: February 16), see February 3 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)Florensky
Florensky can refer to:
Pavel Alexandrovich Florensky (1882–1937), Russian Orthodox theologian, philosopher, mathematician and electrical engineer.
Kirill Pavlovich Florensky (1915–1982), Russian geologist, son of Pavel Florensky.Places
Florensky crater, on the Moon, which is named after Kirill Pavlovich Florensky.Hierotopy
Hierotopy (from Ancient Greek: ἱερός, sacred + Ancient Greek: τόπος, place, space) is the creation of sacred spaces viewed as a special form of human creativity and also a related academic field where specific examples of such creativity are studied. The concept and the term were developed in 2002 by Russian art-historian and byzantinist Alexei Lidov. Hierotopy accounts for the ways in which a vast array of media (e.g. religious images, ritual, song, incense, light) are used to organize sacred spaces. As an academic field, it spans the disciplines of art history, archeology, cultural anthropology, ethnology and religious studies, but it possesses an object of study and a methodology of its own. It differs from the phenomenology of the sacred (which has been studied by Mircea Eliade, Rudolf Otto and Pavel Florensky) insofar as it focuses on historical examples of hierotopic projects, that is, projects establishing a medium of communication between the mundane and the sacred. Though related with religious mysticism, hierotopy deals first and foremost with forms of conscious, creative activity.
According to the hierotopic approach, icons and other sacred artifacts are viewed not as isolated objects, but as components of larger hierotopic projects. Though such artifacts often play a prominent role in hierotopic studies, it is these projects themselves – including both their conceptual and artistic aspects, as well as the historical developments leading to their formation – that are the primary focus of study. The role played by the creators of sacred spaces is also of chief importance, and could be compared with that of an artist. The creative element at work here resembles the work of contemporary film directors, for both involve the coordinated effort of various artists and specialists in shaping a single, comprehensive vision. As examples of hierotopic projects, one can consider King Solomon's construction of the First Temple, the erection of Hagia Sophia by Emperor Justinian, as well as the work of Abbot Suger in the conception of first Gothic cathedrals. Hierotopic projects are not limited to churches and sanctuaries; in other cases, landscapes, architectural compounds and even cities and countries have become products of hierotopic creativity.
The topics of hierotopic study cover a broad span of interests and range, for example, from the role played by light in church architecture to the study of religious ceremonies, feasts and folk customs. The comparison of hierotopic models at work in different cultures is another focus of interest.Six international symposia (2004, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2017) have been organized on hierotopic subjects.Imiaslavie
Imiaslavie (Russian: Имяславие, literally praising the name) or Imiabozhie (Имябожие), also spelled imyaslavie and imyabozhie, and also referred to as onomatodoxy, is a dogmatic movement which asserts that the Name of God is God Himself. Although it was condemned by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1913, it is still promoted by many contemporary Russian writers. Many contemporary supporters are affiliated with Bishop Grégory Lourie and St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris. The movement emerged in the beginning of the 20th century but both proponents and opponents claim it to be connected with much religious thought throughout the history of Christianity (proponents claim its connections to the Church Fathers, while opponents claim the connections to the ancient heresiarchs).Kirill Florensky
Kirill Pavlovich Florensky (Russian: Кири́лл Па́влович Флоре́нский; 27 December 1915 – 9 April 1982) was a Russian Soviet geochemist and planetologist. He was head of comparative planetology at the Vernadsky Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.He was the second son of the Russian polymath, Pavel Florensky.
The crater Florensky on the Moon is named after him.List of Russian philosophers
Russian philosophy includes a variety of philosophical movements. Authors who developed them are listed below sorted by movement.
While most authors listed below are primarily philosophers, also included here are some Russian fiction writers, such as Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, who are also known as philosophers.
Russian philosophy as a separate entity started its development in the 19th century, defined initially by the opposition of Westernizers, advocating Russia's following the Western political and economical models, and Slavophiles, insisting on developing Russia as a unique civilization. The latter group included Nikolai Danilevsky and Konstantin Leontiev, the early founders of eurasianism. The discussion of Russia's place in the world has since become the most characteristic feature of Russian philosophy.
In its further development, Russian philosophy was also marked by deep connection to literature and interest in creativity, society, politics and nationalism; cosmos and religion were other notable subjects.
Notable philosophers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries include Vladimir Solovyev, Vasily Rozanov, Lev Shestov, Leo Tolstoy, Sergei Bulgakov, Pavel Florensky, Nikolai Berdyaev, Pitirim Sorokin, and Vladimir Vernadsky.
From the early 1920s to late 1980s, Russian philosophy was dominated by Marxism presented as dogma and not grounds for discussion. Stalin's purges, culminating in 1937, delivered a deadly blow to the development of philosophy.A handful of dissident philosophers survived through the Soviet period, among them Aleksei Losev. Stalin's death in 1953 gave way for new schools of thought to spring up, among them Moscow Logic Circle, and Tartu-Moscow Semiotic School.List of philosophers of religion
This is a list of philosophers of religion.
Joseph ben Abraham
Anselm of Canterbury
St. Thomas Aquinas
Benedict Ashley, OP
Augustine of Hippo
Jedaiah ben Abraham Bedersi
Cardinal Thomas Cajetan, OP
Isaac Orobio de Castro
G. K. Chesterton
Stephen R.L. Clark
William Lane Craig
Joseph Solomon Delmedigo
Charles De Koninck
Aaron ben Elijah
Shem-Tov ibn Falaquera
Solomon ibn Gabirol
Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP
Johann Georg Hamann
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Jeshua ben Judah
Isaac Nathan ben Kalonymus
Isaac ibn Latif
Leon of Modena
Elia del Medigo
David ibn Merwan al-Mukkamas
Robert Cummings Neville
Bahya ibn Paquda
Robert M. Price
John Duns Scotus
Isaac ben Sheshet
Hoter ben Shlomo
Walter Terence Stace
Melville Y. Stewart
John of St. Thomas (John Poinsot)
Samuel ibn Tibbon
Joseph ibn Tzaddik
Muhammad Alief Roslan
Hossein NasrNatural-law argument
Natural-law argument for the existence of God was especially popular in the eighteenth century as a result of the influence of Sir Isaac Newton. As Bertrand Russell pointed out much later, many of the things we consider to be laws of nature, in fact, are human conventions. Indeed, Albert Einstein has shown that Newton's law of universal gravitation was such a convention, and though elegant and useful, one that did not describe the universe precisely. Most true laws are rather trivial, such as mathematical laws, laws of probability, and so forth, and much less impressive than those that were envisioned by Newton and his followers. Russell wrote:
"If you say, as more orthodox theologians do, that in all the laws which God issues he had a reason for giving those laws rather than others -- the reason, of course, being to create the best universe, although you would never think it to look at it -- if there was a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary. You really have a law outside and anterior to the divine edicts, and God does not serve your purpose, because he is not the ultimate law-giver. In short, this whole argument from natural law no longer has anything like the strength that it used to have."The argument of natural laws as a basis for God was changed by Christian figures such as Thomas Aquinas, in order to fit biblical scripture and establish a Judeo-Christian teleological law.Sergei Bulgakov
Sergei Nikolaevich Bulgakov (; Russian: Серге́й Никола́евич Булга́ков; 28 July [O.S. 16 July] 1871 – 13 July 1944) was a Russian Orthodox Christian theologian, philosopher, and economist.Slavic Greek Latin Academy
The Slavic Greek Latin Academy (Russian: Славяно-греко-латинская академия) was the first higher education establishment in Moscow.Sophiology
Sophiology (Russian: Софиология, by detractors also called Sophianism
Софианство or Sophism Софизм) is a controversial school of thought in Russian Orthodoxy which holds that Divine Wisdom (or Sophia) is to be identified with God's essence, and that the Divine Wisdom is in some way expressed in the world as 'creaturely' wisdom. This notion has often been misunderstood as introducing a feminine "fourth hypostasis" into the Trinity .The controversy has roots in the early modern period, but Sophiology as a theological doctrine was formulated during the 1890s to 1910s by Vladimir Solovyov (1853–1900), Pavel Florensky (1882–1937) and Sergey Bulgakov (1871–1944).In 1935, parts of Fr. Sergius Bulgakov's doctrine of Sophia were condemned by the Patriarch of Moscow and other Russian Orthodox hierarchs.Thomas Merton studied the Russian Sophiologists and praised Sophia in his poem titled "Hagia Sophia" (1963).Johnson (1993) and Meehan (1996) noted parallels between the Russian "sophiological" controversy and the Gender of God debate in western feminist theology.Taganka Prison
Taganka Prison (Russian: Таганская тюрьма) was built in Moscow in 1804 by Alexander I, emperor of Russia. It gained notoriety for its use as a prison for political prisoners, both by the ruling tsars and during the years of the Soviet Union, by the Communist Party. During the Great Purge, the prison housed foreign enemies of the state, such as the German communist, Gustav Sobottka, Jr., as well as Russians. The prison became immortalized in poems and songs dating from before the October Revolution in 1918. The prison was razed in the 1950s.Soviet 'martyr' Nikolay Bauman was beaten to death outside of Taganka Prison by a nationalist and reactionary mob upon the release of political prisoners 18 October 1905.Theological noncognitivism
Theological noncognitivism is the position that religious language – specifically, words such as "God" – are not cognitively meaningful. It is sometimes considered synonymous with ignosticism.Yevlakh
Yevlakh (Azerbaijani: Yevlax) is a city in Azerbaijan, 265 km west of capital Baku. It is surrounded by, but administratively separate from, the rayon of the same name. The city forms a distinct administrative division of Azerbaijan.
|Concepts in religion|
|Conceptions of God|
|Existence of God|
|Problem of evil|
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