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TRANSLATOR'S NOTE (From the English edition, Vol. 1:)Over a hundred and sixty years ago, in 1814, Archimandrite Filaret (Drozdov), then a youthful Orthodox reformer and later "ecumenical" metropolitan of Moscow, drew up a charter for the Russian ecclesiastical schools and submitted it to Tsar Alexander I. From that moment can be dated the awakening of modern Russian Orthodox thought. As Filaret told the learned clergy and laity gathered for the occasion, Orthodoxy had been dazzled and diverted by a series of western religious and cultural enthusiasms and now must "show its face in the true spirit of the Apostolic Church." In an important sense, Filaret's summons to recover and proclaim again the faith of the apostles and the Church fathers was answered when Fr. Georges Florovsky's Ways of Russian Theology appeared in 1937 among the Orthodox emigres in Paris. Or, more accurately, the book represented the culmination of more than a century's effort by Russians, beginning with Filaret, to rediscover their own Orthodox tradition.Ways of Russian Theology forms an integral part of the attempt to purify Russian Orthodoxy by clarifying its proper relationship to the West. From the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, the Russian Church found itself intellectually unprepared to deal with the religious and cultural storms bursting in upon it. First came the era of open hostilities between Protestants and Catholics; later came the Enlightenment and Romanticism. Consequently, Orthodoxy absorbed, sometimes unconsciously, western scholasticism, deism, pietism, and idealism, and produced what Fr. Florovsky describes as the "pseudomorphosis" of Russia's authentic religious life derived from Byzantium. Only in the nineteenth century did Russian Orthodoxy seriously undertake to recover its Byzantine heritage and find its way "back to the Fathers " , thereby laying the foundation for Florovsky's later program of "neo-atristic synthesis," a concept he elaborates in his own preface to this book and throughout the study.Although no one has gone so far as to say about Florovsky what the historian S. M. Solov'ev once said about Filaret ("Every day for lunch he ate two priests and two minnows"), his caustic remarks about prominent figures in Russian history prepared the atmosphere for the cool and critical manner in which the book was received. Ways of Russian Theology was not well reviewed. His colleagues at the St. Sergius Institute in Paris collaborated against him in order to shield the students from his influence. Nicholas Berdiaev wrote a long review in The Way (Put J, the leading Orthodox intellectual journal in the Russian emigration, accusing him of arrogance and speaking as though he were God thundering down mal judgment on those with whom he disagreed. Many at the Institute saw the book as a full scale attack on Russia and its faith. 1 They resented the acerbic remarks about those who he be believed to have surrendered to the West: "Feofan Prokopovich was a dreadful person . . . (He) stands forth not as a westerner, but as a western man, a foreigner . . . (He) viewed the Orthodox world as an outsider and imagined it to be a duplicate of Rome. He simply did not experience Orthodoxy, absorbed as he was in western disputes. In those debates he remained to the end allied with the Protestants." Similarly, Peter Mogila, the great seventeenth century churchman, is described as a "crypto-Roman." "He brought Orthodoxy to what might be called a Latin "pseudomorphosis'." And, in a manner which would inevitably provoke his Parisian associates, Florovsky wrote that ". . .N. A. Berdiaev drank so deeply at the springs of German mysticism and philosophy that he could not break loose from the fatal German circle.. . German mysticism cut him off from the life of the Great Church". Naturally, the book found even fewer friends among the Russian "radicals" in Paris. Paul Miliukov tried to silence the book by refusing to print Professor Bitselli's review in Russian Notes (Russkiia zapiski).But aside from the polemical style, why the hostility to the book in Orthodox intellectual circles? Because it effectively questioned the historical basis of many of their strongly held theological views. Florovsky quickly emerged as the most authoritative living voice of Russian Orthodoxy in the West, and he sought to use his position to pose new questions about ecumenicity derived from his reflection on the Russian experience and its Byzantine past. Modern Russian Orthodox ecumenism, if it begins anywhere, begins in Paris with him. Not, of course, only with him, and not only in the 1930s. He had the experience of the preceding century to draw upon. Metropolitan Filaret and the editorial board for the journal The Works of the Holy Fathers in Russian Translation obviously anticipated his appeal for a "return to the Fathers." The Orthodox emigres in Paris were working clergy and laymen trying to acclimate Russian Orthodoxy to the ecumenical challenges of the twentieth century. All worked on the same problems: a re-examination of Russia's religious past, the meaning of the Revolution for Russia and the modern world, and the role of Russian Orthodoxy in the present and future.But among all those who thus served the Church in exile, Fr. Florovsky stands alone. Others might explore and refine Orthodox thought but Florovsky altered the context in which discussion of the Church's work, meaning, and character must take place. In so doing, he laid the foundation for reconciling the "Eastern and the Oriental" Orthodox Churches. His "asymmetrical" definition of the Chalcedonian formula first appeared in his 1933 lectures on the Byzantine Fathers of the V-VIII Centuries. In Ways of Russian Theology he clarified the short-comings, achievements, and tasks of the Russian Church. And in the next few years he defined the necessary approach Eastern Orthodoxy must take in order to overcome separation from the other Christian confessions. In 1937, at the ecumenical encounters in Athens and Edinburgh, he explained his "neopatristic synthesis" or "re-Hellenization" of Orthodoxy in such a way as to exercise "a profound influence upon the. . ,. (Edinburgh) Conference, presenting the eternal truths of the Catholic Faith so effectively, so winsomely, and so clearly that they commended themselves to men of the most diversified nationalities and religious backgrounds."2 All this, in its essentials, was carried through in a remarkably short period from 1930 until the outbreak of the war.The war in Europe claimed Ways of Russian Theology as one of its casualties. Nearly the entire stock of the book was destroyed during a bombing raid on Belgrade near which Florovsky had moved to serve as chaplain and religious teacher to the Russian colony at Bela Crkva. Although copies survived there and elsewhere, the book became somewhat rare. The present translation will, therefore, make this monumental work more readily available by bringing it to the attention of a much larger non-Russian speaking English public. The book's great erudition and compassion deserve the widest possible audience. An English translation has long been overdue.All translators, if they are to any extent conscious of their work, recognize the disparity between the original they read and the work they produce. On very rare occasions a translator perfectly captures his subject, but far more often he only approximates or suggests the original. This book follows the general rule. Fr. Florovsky's Ways of Russian Theology is not an easy book to render into English. It is a highly personal and passionate account of Russian religious thought and Russian culture constructed from words, phrases, and thoughts so deeply rooted in the Russian Orthodox tradition that the English translator can only imperfectly convey their rich associations. Consequently, he must settle for something less, and I have tried to retain the vigor and earnestness of the book by writing English prose rather than providing a literal rendition of the Russian text. I do not claim to have succeeded in capturing Fr. Florovsky's style; I only claim an attempt at avoiding the awkwardness of a more precisely literal reproduction. As Edward Fitzgerald once observed: "the live dog better than the dead lion." (Letters, London, 1894).The translation of Ways of Russian Theology is actually a work of many. In 1975, when I first became part of the project, rough drafts of several chapters and sections of others had already been completed. These drafts included a portion of chapter 2, chapters 3 and 4, sections 1-7 of chapter 5, section 14 of chapter 7, and chapters 8 and 9. When at the request of Fr. Florovsky and Richard Haugh, the general editor of this project, I agreed to assume the burden of this project previously carried forward by the earlier group, I extensively revised and in some instances retranslated the chapters already in draft form, and translated the remainder of chapter 5 as well as the preface and chapters 1 , 6, and 7. To all the chapters I added numerous explanatory notes. The general editor, Richard Haugh, has appended still others. In sum, the translation is a collective enterprise which has taken considerable time to complete, worked on as it has been during summers, holidays, and at other spare moments in working days devoted to teaching, other literary projects, and administrative duties. Of course, I assume full responsibility for any errors in the translation, but the hard, selfless labor of the previous translators must receive full acknowledgement.One further word about the notes accompanying the text. Those notes designated within brackets as "Author's notes" are of two kinds. One contains material removed from the body of the text, so that it does not interrupt the narrative. Such material is usually, but not always, of a bibliographical character. The other sort provides information taken from the bibliography at the end of the Russian edition. (That full bibliography is not included with this translation. Only a selected bibliography is appended. Readers who wish to use the very extensive Russian bibliography are invited to consult the original 1937 YMCA Press edition.) Where necessary, I have provided a more exact citation to a work (i.e., edition, volume, page, etc.) than that contained in the original. All notes not directly attributed to the author are mine or the editor's. Transliteration has been done following the usage of the Slavic Review. Generally, Russian Christian names are reproduced here, with a few exceptions where the name is well known (e.g. Lev rather than Leo, except for Leo Tolstoy).Square brackets are used very sparingly in the text to enclose material added by the translator. In bringing the translation of Ways of Russian Theology into print, it is a pleasure to thank all those who helped me with the task. First to Richard and Vera Haugh, who checked the translation against the original and who have showed a cheerful helpfulness throughout the work. Also, to Mrs. Thelma Winter and Mrs. Maryann LoGuidice who patiently typed the manuscript and to Dean William Nelsen and President Sidney Rand of St. Olaf College who provided financial assistance for the typing. Most of all I would like to thank my wife Sharon and my children who often wondered aloud when the job would be done, but never complained when it was not.Robert L. Nicholshttp://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/florovsky_ways_pref.html
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