Vladimir Solovyov (philosopher)
Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov
January 28, 1853|
Moscow, Russian Empire
|Died||August 13, 1900
Uzkoye, Moscow Governorate, Russian Empire
|School||Platonism, Christian Mysticism, Russian symbolism|
|Notable ideas||Revived and expanded the idea of Sophia, the feminine manifestation of Divine Wisdom, in Orthodox Theology|
Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov (Russian: Влади́мир Серге́евич Соловьёв; January 28 [O.S. January 16] 1853 – August 13 [O.S. July 31] 1900) was a Russian philosopher, theologian, poet, pamphleteer and literary critic, who played a significant role in the development of Russian philosophy and poetry at the end of the 19th century and in the spiritual renaissance of the early 20th century.
Life and work 
Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov was born in Moscow on 16 January 1853, in the family of the historian Sergey Mikhaylovich Solovyov (1820–1879). His mother, Polyxena Vladimirovna, belonged to a Ukrainian-Polish family, having among her ancestors the thinker Hryhori Skovoroda (1722–1794).
In his teens Solovyov renounced Orthodox Christianity for nihilism, but later he changed his convictions and began expressing views in line again with the Orthodox Church. What prompted this change was his disapproval of Positivism. In his The Crisis of Western Philosophy: Against the Positivists he discredited the Positivists' rejection of Aristotle's essentialism or philosophical realism. In Against the Postivists he took the position of intuitive noetic comprehension, noesis or insight stating consciousness, in being is integral (Russian term being sobornost) and has to have both phenomenon (validated by dianonia) and noumenon validated intuitively? Positivism, according to Solovyov, only validates the phenomenon of an object, denying the intuitive reality which people experience as part of their consciousness.
Vladimir Solovyov was also a friend and confidant of Fyodor Dostoyevsky. In opposition to Dostoyevsky's apparent views of the Roman Catholic church, Solovyov was sympathetic to Roman Catholic Christianity. He favored the healing of the schism – (ecumenism, sobornost) – between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches – eventually, "through an ethical and social standpoint," converting to Roman Catholicism.
Solovyov never married or had children, but he pursued idealized relationships as immortalized in his spiritual love poetry, including with two women named Sophia. He rebuffed the advances of mystic Anna Schmidt, who claimed to be his divine partner.
It is widely held that Solovyov was one of the sources for Dostoyevsky's characters Alyosha Karamazov and Ivan Karamazov from The Brothers Karamazov. Solovyov's influence can also be seen in the writings of the Symbolist and Neo-Idealist of the later Russian Soviet era. His book The Meaning of Love can be seen as one of the philosophical sources of Leo Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata (1889). This was also the work where he introduced the concept of 'syzygy', to denote 'close union'.
He influenced the religious philosophy of Nicolas Berdyaev, Sergey Bulgakov, Pavel Florensky, Nikolai Lossky, Semen L. Frank, the ideas of Rudolf Steiner and the poetry and theory of Russian Symbolists, namely Andrei Belyi, Alexander Blok, Solovyov's nephew, and others. Hans Urs von Balthasar explores his work as one example of seven lay styles that reveal the glory of God's revelation, in volume III of The Glory of the Lord (pp. 279–352).
Solovyov compiled a philosophy based on Hellenistic philosophy (see Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus) and early Christian tradition with Buddhism and Hebrew Kabbalistic elements (Philo of Alexandria). He also studied Gnosticism and the works of Valentinus. His religious philosophy was syncretic, and fused philosophical elements of various religious traditions with Orthodox Christianity and his own experience of Sophia.
Solovyov described his encounters with the entity Sophia in his works, Three Encounters and Lectures on Godmanhood among others. Solovyov's fusion was driven by the desire to reconcile and or unite with Orthodox Christianity these various traditions via the Russian Slavophiles' concept of sobornost. His Russian religious philosophy had a very strong impact on the Russian Symbolist art movements of his time. Solovyov's teachings on Sophia have been deemed a heresy by ROCOR and as unsound and unorthodox by the Patriarchate of Moscow.
Solovyov sought to create a philosophy that could through his system of logic or reason reconcile all bodies of knowledge or disciplines of thought, and fuse all conflicting concepts into a single system. The central component of this complete philosophic reconciliation was the Russian Slavophile concept of sobornost (organic or Spontaneous order through integration; which is related to the Russian word for 'catholic'). Solovyov sought to find and validate common ground – or where conflicts found common ground – and by focusing on this common ground to establish absolute unity and or integral fusion of opposing ideas and / or peoples.
Solovyov is criticized by Dmitry Galkovsky in the 1988 philosophic novel The Infinite Deadlock. Galkovsky views Solovyov's adoption and later renunciation of nihilist views as evidence of opportunism. He also characterizes Solovyov's writings on theocracy as a "parodic hybrid of slavophilic nationalism with Western nihilism." In Galkovsky's interpretation Solovyov emerges as an impostor, whose primary goal was to create a caricatured form of religious conservatism that would draw audiences away from more "authentic" nationalists such as Yuri Samarin.
"As long as the dark foundation of our nature, grim in its all-encompassing egoism, mad in its drive to make that egoism into reality, to devour everything and to define everything by itself, as long as that foundation is visible, as long as this truly original sin exists within us, we have no business here and there is no logical answer to our existence. Imagine a group of people who are all blind, deaf and slightly demented and suddenly someone in the crowd asks, "What are we to do?"... The only possible answer is "Look for a cure". Until you are cured, there is nothing you can do. And since you don't believe you are sick, there can be no cure."
- The Crisis of Western Philosophy: Against the Postivists, 1996, Lindisfarne Books, ISBN 0-940262-73-8 ISBN 978-0-940262-73-7
- The Justification of the Good, 2010, Cosimo Classics, ISBN 1-61640-281-4 ISBN 978-1-61640-281-5
- The Meaning of Love, 1985, Lindisfarne Books, ISBN 0-89281-068-8 ISBN 978-0-89281-068-0
- War, Progress, and the End of History: Three Conversations, Including a Short Story of the Anti-Christ, 1990, Lindisfarne Books, ISBN 0-940262-35-5 ISBN 978-0-940262-35-5
- Russia and the Universal Church, , 1948, G. Bles. (Abridged version: The Russian Church and the Papacy, 2002, Catholic Answers, ISBN 1-888992-29-8 ISBN 978-1-888992-29-8)
Further reading 
- Kornblatt, Judith Deutsch. "Vladimir Sergeevich Solov’ev," Dictionary of Literary Bibliography, v295 (2004), pp. 377–386.
- Gerrard, Thomas J. "Vladimir Soloviev – The Russian Newman," The Catholic World, Vol. CV, April/September, 1917.
- Groberg, Kristi. "Vladimir Sergeevich Solov’ev: a Bibliography," Modern Greek Studies Yearbook, vol.14–15, 1998.
- Lossky, Nikolai. History of Russian Philosophy «История российской Философии »(1951)
- Stremooukhoff, Dimitrii N. Vladimir Soloviev and his Messianic Work (Paris, 1935; English translation: Belmont, MA: Nordland, 1980).
- Sutton, Jonathan. The Religious Philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov: Towards a Reassessment (Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan, 1988).
- Zernov, Nicholas. Three Russian prophets (London: SCM Press, 1944).
See also 
- Russian philosophy
- Vladimir Lossky
- Apophatic theology
- N. O. Lossky
- Mikhail Epstein
- Leo Mikhailovich Lopatin
- The name Solovyov derives from "соловей", "solovey", Nightingale in Russian.
- Dahm, Helmut and Wright, Kathleen. Vladimir Solovyev and Max Scheler: Attempt at a Comparative Interpretation, page 219. Springer, 1975
- Judith Deutsch Kornblatt (2009). Divine Sophia: The Wisdom Writings of Vladimir Solovyov. Cornell University Press. pp. 22, 12. ISBN 978-0-8014-7479-8.
- History of Russian Philosophy section on Solovyov «История российской Философии »(1951) by N. O. Lossky,[page needed] Publisher: Allen & Unwin, London ASIN: B000H45QTY International Universities Press Inc NY, NY ISBN 978-0-8236-8074-0 sponsored by Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary
- Von Balthasar, Hans Urs, The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics – III: Studies in Theological Style: Lay Styles, Ignatius 1986, pg. 282ff
- Falk, Henrich, Wladimir Solowjews Stellung zur katholischen Kirche, in Stimmen der Zeit, 1949, pp. 421–435
- The Religious Poetry of Vladimir Solovyov (Semantron Press, 2008)
- Samuel Cioran. Vladimir Solov’ev and the Knighthood of the Divine Sophia (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1977), 71.
- Zouboff, Peter, Solovyov on Godmanhood: Solovyov’s Lectures on Godmanhood Harmon Printing House: Poughkeepsie, New York, 1944; see Czeslaw Milosz's introduction to Solovyov’s War, Progress and the End of History. Lindisfarne Press: Hudson, New York 1990.
- Felch, Susan M.; Paul J. Contino (2001). Bakhtin and Religion: A Feeling for Faith. Northwestern University Press. p. 44. ISBN 9780810118256. Retrieved 8 November 2012.
- Russian Religious Thought by Judith Deutsch Kornblatt (Editor), Richard F. Gustafson (Editor), pp. 49–67, Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press (October 1, 1996) Language: English ISBN 0-299-15134-4 and ISBN 978-0-299-15134-8
- Russian Religious Thought by Judith Deutsch Kornblatt (Editor), Richard F. Gustafson (Editor), pp. 49–67 Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press (October 1, 1996) Language: English ISBN 0-299-15134-4 and ISBN 978-0-299-15134-8
- OCA labels Sophianism of Solovyov as heresy
- Dostoevsky and Soloviev: The Art of Integral Vision By Marina Kostalevsky 
- History of Russian Philosophy «История российской Философии »(1951), pp. 81–134.
- Galkovsky, D. The Infinite Deadlock, comment 564, p. 634 (3rd ed.) Dmitry Galkovsky's Publishing House, 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov|
- Vladimir Solovyov (1853–1900) – entry on Solovyov at Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- The Russian Church and the Papacy
- Dostoevsky and Soloviev
- ALEXANDER II AND HIS TIMES: A Narrative History of Russia in the Age of Alexander II, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky Several chapters on Solovyov
- http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/soloviev/biffi.html (address by Cardinal Giacomo Biffi)
- Tale of the Anti-Christ – excerpt from Three Conversations by Solovyov
- Civil Society and National Religion: Problems of Church, State, and Society in the Philosophy of Vladimir Solov'ëv (1853–1900) – research project at Centre for Russian Humanities Studies, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
- English translations of 5 poems, including 8 of 18 acrostics from the cycle "Sappho"
- English translations of 2 poems by Babette Deutsch and Avrahm Yarmolinsky, 1921
- "The Positive Unity: How Solovyov’s Ethics Can Contribute to Constructing a Working Model for Business Ethics in Modern Russia" by Andrey V. Shirin