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Philosophical History


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


The Eternal in Russian Philosophy by Boris P. Vysheslavtsev, translated by Penelope V. Burt (Eerdsmans) Much of Russian philosophy has been unavailable to or unexplored by Western thinkers, which is a tragedy because the uniqueness of the Russian vision has much to contribute to Western dialogue. The Eternal in Russian Philosophy helps fill this intellectual lacuna by offering a genuinely philosophical introduction to the themes of Russian religious thought—freedom, the nature and centrality of the person, the nature of grace and law, the role of the irrational in human nature and its sublimation, and conscious credos versus unconscious cultural assumptions.

Boris Vysheslavtsev was one of a constellation of Russian thinkers, including Soloviev, Berdyaev, and Florensky, whose voices were lost amid the din of Soviet censorship. It is only now that Vysheslavtsev's thought is becoming available to the West. Melding religious and existential concerns, this is both a book about Russian philosophy and an excellent exemplar of not only a spiritually informed philosophy but of a important voice for the contemplative perspective on religious experience.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Ascent from Ideology by Daniel J. Mahoney (20th Century Political Thinkers: Rowman & Littlefield) presents a philosophical perspective on the political condition of modern man through an exegesis and analysis of Solzhenitsyn's work. Mahoney demonstrates the tremendous, yet often unappreciated, impact of Sozhenitsyn's writing on twentieth century thinking through an examination of the writer's profoundly important critique of communist totalitarianism in a judicious and original mix of western and Russian, Christian and classical wisdom.

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