|Born||Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev
March 18, 1874
Kiev, Russian Empire
|Died||March 24, 1948
|Creativity, eschatology, freedom|
Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev (/, - /; Russian: Никола́й Алекса́ндрович Бердя́ев; March 18 [O.S. March 6] 1874 – March 24, 1948) was a Russian Orthodox religious and political philosopher. Alternate historical spellings of his name in English include "Berdiaev" and "Berdiaeff", and of his given name as ""Nicolas" and "Nicholas".
Nikolai Berdyaev was born at Obukhiv, Kiev gubernia (Russian Empire) in 1874, in an aristocratic military family. His father, Alexander Mikhailovich Berdyaev, came from a long line of Kiev and Kharkov nobility. Almost all of Alexander Mikhailovich's ancestors served as high-ranking military officers, but he resigned from the army quite early and became active in the social life of the Kiev aristocracy. Nikolai's mother, Alina Sergeevna Berdyaeva, was half-French and came from the top levels of both French and Russian nobility. He also had Polish as well as Tatar origins.
Greatly influenced by Voltaire, his father was an educated man that considered himself a freethinker and expressed great skepticism towards religion. Nikolai's mother, Orthodox by birth, was in her views on religion more Catholic than Orthodox. He spent a solitary childhood at home, where his father's library allowed him to read widely. He read Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Kant when he was only 14 and excelled at languages.
Berdyaev decided on an intellectual career and entered the Kiev University in 1894. It was a time of revolutionary fervor among the students and the intelligentsia. He became a Marxist and he was arrested in a student demonstration and expelled from the university. His involvement in illegal activities led in 1897 to three years of internal exile, Vologda,:28 in northern Russia, a mild sentence compared to that faced by many other revolutionaries.
In 1904, he married Lydia Yudifovna Trusheff. The couple moved to Saint Petersburg, the Russian capital, and the centre of intellectual and revolutionary activity. He participated fully in intellectual and spiritual debate, eventually departing from radical Marxism to focus his attention on philosophy and Christian spirituality.
A fiery 1913 article, criticising the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, caused him to be charged with the crime of blasphemy, the punishment for which was exile to Siberia for life. The World War and the Bolshevik Revolution prevented the matter coming to trial. After the October Revolution of 1917, he fell out with the Bolshevik régime because of its totalitarianism and the domination of the state over the freedom of the individual. Nonetheless, he was permitted, for the time being, to continue to lecture and write.
His disaffection culminated, in 1919, with the foundation of his own private academy, the "Free Academy of Spiritual Culture". It was primarily a forum for him to lecture on the hot topics of the day and to present them from a Christian point of view. He also presented his opinions in public lectures, and every Tuesday, the academy hosted a meeting at his home because official Soviet anti-religious activity was intense at the time and the official policy of the Bolshevik government, with its Soviet anti-religious legislation, strongly promoted State atheism.[page needed]
In 1920, Berdiaev became professor of philosophy at the University of Moscow, but he had no academic credentials. In the same year, he was accused[by whom?] of participating in a conspiracy against the government; he was arrested and jailed. It seems[original research?] that the feared head of the Cheka, Felix Dzerzhinsky, came in person to interrogate him, and he gave his interrogator a solid dressingdown on the problems with Bolshevism. Berdyaev's prior record of revolutionary activity seems[original research?] to have saved him from prolonged detention, as his friend Lev Kamenev was present at the interrogation.:32
[Berdyaev] was arrested twice; he was taken in 1922 for a midnight interrogation with Dzerjinsky; Kamenev was also there.... But Berdyaev did not humiliate himself, he did not beg, he firmly professed the moral and religious principles by virtue of which he did not adhere to the party in power; and not only did they judge that there was no point in putting him on trial, but he was freed. Now there is a man who had a "point of view"!
The Soviet authorities eventually expelled Berdyaev from Russia, in September 1922. He became one of a carefully selected group of some 160 prominent writers, scholars and intellectuals whose ideas the Bolshevik government found objectionable and sent into exile, on the so-called "philosophers' ship". Overall, these expellees supported neither the Tsarist régime nor the Bolsheviks, preferring less autocratic forms of government. They included those who argued for personal liberty, spiritual development, Christian ethics and a pathway informed by reason and guided by faith.
At first, Berdyaev and other émigrés went to Berlin, where he founded an academy of philosophy and religion, but economic and political conditions in the Weimar Republic caused him and his wife to move to Paris in 1923. He transferred his academy there, and taught, lectured and wrote, working for an exchange of ideas with the French intellectual community.
During the German occupation of France during World War II, Berdyaev continued to write books that were published after the war, some of them after his death. In the years that he spent in France, Berdyaev wrote 15 books, including most of his most important works. He died at his writing desk in his home in Clamart, near Paris, in 1948.
Berdyaev's philosophy has been characterized as Christian existentialist. He was preoccupied with creativity and, in particular, with freedom from anything that inhibited creativity, such as his opposition to a "collectivized and mechanized society".
According to Marko Markovic, "He was an ardent man, rebellious to all authority, an independent and "negative" spirit. He could assert himself only in negation and could not hear any assertion without immediately negating it, to such an extent that he would even be able to contradict himself and to attack people who shared his own prior opinions".
The Russian people did not achieve their ancient dream of Moscow, the Third Rome. The ecclesiastical schism of the seventeenth century revealed that the muscovite tsardom is not the third Rome. The messianic idea of the Russian people assumed either an apocalyptic form or a revolutionary; and then there occurred an amazing event in the destiny of the Russian people. Instead of the Third Rome in Russia, the Third International was achieved, and many of the features of the Third Rome pass over to the Third International. The Third International is also a Holy Empire, and it also is founded on an Orthodox faith. The Third International is not international, but a Russian national idea.
He was a practising member of the Russian Orthodox Church but was often critical of the institutional policies and un-Christian behavior in it. He was a Christian universalist, and he believed that Orthodox Christianity was the true vehicle for that teaching.
The greater part of Eastern teachers of the Church, from Clement of Alexandria to Maximus the Confessor, were supporters of Apokatastasis, of universal salvation and resurrection.... Orthodox thought has never been suppressed by the idea of Divine justice and it never forgot the idea of Divine love. Chiefly — it did not define man from the point of view of Divine justice but from the idea of transfiguration and Deification of man and cosmos.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed his regional governors to read, among other philosophers, Berdyaev's The Philosophy of Inequality, In 2015, it finally became available in English translation.
The first date is of the Russian edition, the second date is of the first English edition
- Subjectivism and Individualism in Societal Philosophy (1901)
- The New Religious Consciousness and Society (1907) (Russian: Новое религиозное сознание и общественность, Novoe religioznoe coznanie i obschestvennost, includes chapter VI "The Metaphysics of Sex and Love")
- Sub specie aeternitatis (1907)
- Vekhi - Landmarks (1909; 1994) ISBN 9781563243912
- The Spiritual Crisis of the Intelligentsia (1910; 2014) ISBN 978-0-9963992-1-0
- The Philosophy of Freedom (1911)
- Aleksei Stepanovich Khomyakov (1912; 2017) ISBN 9780996399258
- The Meaning of the Creative Act (1916; 1955) ISBN 978-15973126-2-2
- The Fate of Russia (1918; 2016) ISBN 9780996399241
- Dostoevsky: An Interpretation (1921; 1934) ISBN 978-15973126-1-5
- The Meaning of History (1923; 1936) ISBN 978-14128049-7-4
- The Philosophy of Inequality (1923; 2015) ISBN 978-0-9963992-0-3
- The End of Our Time [a.k.a. The New Middle Ages] (1924; 1933) ISBN 978-15973126-5-3
- Leontiev (1926; 1940)
- Freedom and the Spirit (1927–8; 1935) ISBN 978-15973126-0-8
- The Russian Revolution (1931; anthology)
- The Destiny of Man (1931; translated by Natalie Duddington 1937) ISBN 978-15973125-6-1
- Lev Shestov and Kierkegaard N. A. Beryaev 1936
- Christianity and Class War (1931; 1933)
- The Fate of Man in the Modern World (1934; 1935)
- Solitude and Society (1934; 1938) ISBN 978-15973125-5-4
- The Bourgeois Mind (1934; anthology)
- The Origin of Russian Communism (1937; 1955)
- Christianity and Anti-semitism (1938; 1952)
- Slavery and Freedom (1939) ISBN 978-15973126-6-0
- The Russian Idea (1946; 1947)
- Spirit and Reality (1946; 1957) ISBN 978-15973125-4-7
- The Beginning and the End (1947; 1952) ISBN 978-15973126-4-6
- Towards a New Epoch" (1949; anthology)
- Dream and Reality: An Essay in Autobiography (1949; 1950) alternate title: Self-Knowledge: An Essay in Autobiography ISBN 978-15973125-8-5
- The Realm of Spirit and the Realm of Caesar (1949; 1952)
- Divine and the Human (1949; 1952) ISBN 978-15973125-9-2
- Truth and Revelation (n.p.; 1953)
- '"Bibliographie des Oeuvres de Nicolas Berdiaev" établie par Tamara Klépinine' published by the Institut d'études Slaves, Paris 1978
- Berdyaev Bibliography on www.cherbucto.net
- By-Berdyaev Online Articles Index
- Christian existentialism
- Fyodor Dostoevsky
- Nikolai Lossky
- Russian philosophy
- Intermediate Region
- Philosophers' ship
- "Berdyaev". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
- Technically at the time "Obykhov" or "Obuchovo" Lowrie. Rebellious Prophet. p. 14.. https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Обухов_(город)] indicates "В Обухове родились: Николай Бердяев — русский религиозный и политический философ.
- Nicolaus, Georg (2011). "Chapter 2 "Berdyaev’s life"" (PDF). C.G. Jung and Nikolai Berdyaev : individuation and the person : a critical comparison. Routledge. ISBN 9780415493154.
- George M. Young, The Russian Cosmists: The Esoteric Futurism of Nikolai Fedorov and His Followers, Oxford University Press (2012), p. 134
- Stefan Berger & Alexei Miller, Nationalizing Empires, Central European University Press (2015), p. 312
- Marko Marković, La Philosophie de l'inégalité et les idées politiques de Nicolas Berdiaev (Paris: Nouvelles Editions Latines, 1978).
- Cited by Markovic, op. cit., p.33, footnote 36.
- Quoted from book by Benedikt Sarnov,Our Soviet Newspeak: A Short Encyclopedia of Real Socialism., p. 446-447. Moscow: 2002, ISBN 5-85646-059-6 (Наш советский новояз. Маленькая энциклопедия реального социализма.)
- Apokatastasis at Theandros, The Online Journal of Orthodox Christian Theology and Philosophy. Accessed Aug. 12, 2007
- Sergeev, Mikhail."Post-Modern themes in the philosophy of Nicolas Berdyaev". Religion in Eastern Europe. Accessed Aug. 12, 2007
- Berdyaev, Nikolai. "The Truth of Orthodoxy". Accessed Aug. 12, 2007.
- From Philosophy Now, issue 101, article at the bottom of the page.here (link), accessed March 2014.
- The book is not available in English. For secondary literature in English, see:
- Crone, Anna Lisa (2010). Eros and Creativity in Russian Religious Renewal: The Philosophers and the Freudians. Russian History and Culture. 3. Netherlands: Brill Publishers.
- Naiman, Eric (1997). Sex in Public: The Incarnation of Early Soviet Ideology. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691026268.
- Donald A. Lowrie. Rebellious Prophet: A Life of Nicolai Berdyaev. Harper & Brothers, New York, 1960.
- M. A. Vallon. An apostle of freedom: Life and teachings of Nicolas Berdyaev. Philosophical Library, New York, 1960.
- Lesley Chamberlain. Lenin's Private War: The Voyage of the Philosophy Steamer and the Exile of the Intelligentsia. St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2007.
- Marko Marković, La Philosophie de l'inégalité et les idées politiques de Nicolas Berdiaev (Paris: Nouvelles Editions Latines, 1978).
- Lossky, N.O. (1951). "Н.А. Бердяев" [N. Berdyaev]. История российской Философии [History of Russian Philosophy]. New York: International Universities Press Inc. ISBN 978-0-8236-8074-0.
- Atterbury, Lyn (October 1978). "Nicholas Berdyaev, Orthodox nonconformist". Third Way. Toward a Biblical World View. London: CIO Publishing: 13–15. Retrieved 2013-01-30.
- Griffith, Jeremy (2013). Freedom Book 1. Part 4:7: Nikolai Berdyaev’s admission of the involvement of our moral instincts and corrupting intellect in producing the upset state of the human condition and attempt to explain how those elements produced that upset psychosis. WTM Publishing & Communications. ISBN 978-1-74129-011-0. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- Men', Fr. Aleksandr (2015). Russian Religious Philosophy: 1989-1990 Lectures [Русская религиозная философия: Лекции]. frsj Publications. ISBN 9780996399227.
- Bibliowiki has original media or text related to this article: Nikolai Berdyaev (in the public domain in Canada)
- Works by or about Nikolai Berdyaev at Internet Archive
- Works by Nikolai Berdyaev, at Unz.org
- Berdyaev Online Library and Index
- Philosopher of Freedom
- ISFP Gallery of Russian Thinkers: Nikolay Berdyaev
- Nikolai Berdiaev and Spiritual Freedom
- Nicolas Berdyaev And Modern Anti-Modernism
- Fr. Aleksandr Men' Lecture on N. A. Berdyaev