Antonov Konstantin

The problem of “hellenisation of christianity” in the german theology and russian religious thought of the late 19th — early 20th centuries: prince S. N. Trubetskoy and A. von Harnak

Antonov Konstantin (2022) "The problem of “hellenisation of christianity” in the german theology and russian religious thought of the late 19th — early 20th centuries: prince S. N. Trubetskoy and A. von Harnak ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2022, vol. 100, pp. 88-113 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI2022100.88-113


The article compares the philosophical-theological and historical-religious ideas and concepts of Prince S. N. Trubetskoi, a religious philosopher of the circle of V. S. Solovyov, a historian of philosophy and religion, and A. von Harnack, the largest representative of Protestant liberal theology of the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, famous for his concept of the "Hellenization of Christianity". The first part of the article establishes the basis for comparing the ideas of the two authors, identifies their starting points and preconditions, and discusses their place in the history of Christian thought in the context of the idea of religious crisis and the dialectic of confessionalization and deconfessionalization. Further, on the basis of recently published "Philosophical Correspondence" of the Trubetskoy brothers, the question of personal acquaintance of the thinkers and its role in the reception of Harnack's ideas in Russian thought is discussed. In the third part, the author reveals the elements of the positive reception of Harnack's ideas by Trubetskoi - on the basis of the data of the same Correspondence and the article "Ethics and dogmatics". The article points to Trubetskoy's perception of Harnack's critique of Orthodoxy, compares their understanding of the significance of historical research for philosophical and theological work, and their interpretation of the religious ideal of the kingdom of God.Part 4 outlines the main points of Trubetskoi's polemic with the German thinker - on the basis of the data from Correspondence, his article "Ethics and Dogmatics", and the major historical theological work of the philosopher, "Doctrine of the Logos in its History". The focus is on questions of Old Church Christology and the problem of the "Hellenization of Christianity," an argument related to the notion of the Jewish origin of Gnosticism. The author emphasizes the significant role of V. Solov'ev's personality and ideas in shaping Trubetskoi's attitude toward Harnack. In conclusion, general conclusions are made about the relationship between Trubetskoi's and Harnack's ideas and about the role of the reception of the German theologian's ideas in the formation of Trubetskoi's own position and the history of Russian religious thought as a whole.


S. N. Trubetskoi, A. von Harnack, V. Solov'ev, philosophical theology, Hellenization of Christianity, Gnosticism, Logos, Dogma, Dogmengeschichte


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Information about the author

Antonov Konstantin

Academic Degree: Doctor of Sciences* in Philosophy;
Academic Rank: Associate Professor;
Place of work: St. Tikhon's Orthodox University for Humanities; 6/1 Lihov per., Moscow, 127051 Russian Federation;
Post: Head of the Department of Philosophy and religious studies;
ORCID: 0000-0003-0982-2513;
Email: konstanturg@yandex.ru.

*According to ISCED 2011, a post-doctoral degree called Doctor of Sciences (D.Sc.) is given to reflect second advanced research qualifications or higher doctorates.


This article was supported by RFBR Grant No. 21-011-44030, "Thinking of Being and Belief in Revelation: Paths of Correlation in German-Speaking Protestant Theology and Russian Religious Philosophy in the 20th Century.