Penyaflor-Rastorgueva Nina

Theurgical project of Silver Age: from origins to problem statement

Penyaflor-Rastorgueva Nina (2017) "Theurgical project of Silver Age: from origins to problem statement ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2017, vol. 72, pp. 61-75 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201772.61-75


Two turning points in the history of theurgy are examined in the present article. Those points had a considerable influence on the conceptualization of that phenomenon in the very beginning of the XX century, especially in the researches of the Russian symbolists. The first turning point is Neoplatonic attempts to reconsider the ancient theurgy theoretically in the VI-V centuries CE. Involving the studies of the maitres of classical philology, a brief analysis of Iamblichus-Porphyry discussion on possibility of theurgy is given, as well as Proclus’ teaching of "divine symbols". The latter is crucially significant in understanding one of the central ideas of theurgy - how something or someone finite can embrace infinite due to using certain symbols, which can either be physical objects or intangible sign in the theurgist’s mind. The second examined point is early German Romanticists’ philosophical ideas in the end of XVIII century. Their conception of "Buildunganschtalt" and their aesthetic views, i.e. strong belief in world organic unity and transforming power of art, heavily influenced on evolution of theurgical concept, its’ meaning and possible variations, up to the beginning of the XX century. To sum up, the following thesis is advocated: for more than fifteen centuries of its’ history theoretical conceptualization of theurgy had undergone a complicated evolution from interpreting theurgy as a set of individual practices for salvation of a theurgist’s soul and for contemplation of the deity to a collective project pursuing human nature and world substantial transformation.


Theurgy, theurgical aesthetics, theurgical project, Silver Age, sophiology, Gnosticism, synthesis of arts, Russian symbolism, Neoplatonism, German Romanticism,


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  19. Information about the author

    Penyaflor-Rastorgueva Nina

    Place of work: Moscow State University Leninskie gory, Shuvalovskii korpus, Moscow 119234, Russian Federation;
    Email: nina.penyaflor@gmail.com.