Oliver Smith’s Vladimir Soloviev and the Spiritualization of Matter is one of the best recent works in English about Soloviev, indeed about Russian philosophy in general. It tackles complex philosophical concepts with unusual clarity, lucidity and cohesion, exploring the evolution of Soloviev’s philosophical system, and offering detailed and nuanced analyses of the relationships of Soloviev's ideas with those of his great predecessors (Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Jewish Kabbala etc.). --Lazar Fleishman, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stanford University
Intelligently, poignantly, and with clear sight, Smith gives us a portrait of Soloviev and his refusal, indeed, his "inability to think the divine without the human." I myself could formulate no better description of this important Russian religious writer, who throughout his multi-faceted career as poet, philosopher, teacher, and journalist sought ever to articulate the ways in which matter can, is, and must be spiritualized. We are all the better for Soloviev's various writings on the subject, and now for Smith's cogent analysis of them all. Thank you both! --Judith Deutsch Kornblatt, Department of Slavic Studies and Literature, Wisconisin University
"This book is a welcome contribution to a growing body of literature on Russian sophiology. Weaving his narrative around Soloviev’s spiritual and intellectual biography, Oliver Smith offers a nuanced and erudite account of Soloviev’s metaphysics of all-unity. Smith successfully shows that at the core of Soloviev’s metaphysical project was a consistent integration of spiritual and material aspects of reality, epitomized in the incarnation." —Paul Gavrilyuk, Associate Professor of Historical Theology, University of St Thomas, Saint Paul, Minnesota
This brilliant study of Russia’s greatest religious philosopher delivers much more than its title suggests...It encompasses the whole of Solovev’s philosophy; the spiritualization of matter is a part. Smith’s book, despite its modest claim to being about one part, is really about the whole. It conveys that whole effectively and powerfully. (Randall A. Poole, The College of St. Scholastica)
About the Author
Oliver Smith (PhD University College London) is a lecturer in Russian at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom. His research focuses on Russian intellectual tradition as it developed from the beginning of the nineteenth century. His recent publications include "The Ecology of History: Russian Thought on the Future of the World,", which appeared in Ecological Awareness: Exploring Religion, Ethics and Aesthetics, Studies in Religion and the Environment, 2009 and "Is Humanity King to Creation? The Thought of Vladimir Solov'ev in the Light of Ecological Crisis" published in the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 2008.