- Paperback: 624 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press (March 21, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691117675
- ISBN-13: 978-0691117676
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #592,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Pillar and Ground of the Truth: An Essay in Orthodox Theodicy in Twelve Letters Paperback – March 21, 2004
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Recommended with enthusiasm. . . . The reader's investment will be repaid many times over.---Patrick Henry Reardon, Books & Culture
Jakim has provided a thoughtful and accurate translation. . . . Bringing a project like this to completion is a monumental achievement.---Steven Cassedy, Russian Review
"One of the most important and controversial works of Russian religious philosophy."―Richard Pevear, translator of The Brothers Karamazov
From the Back Cover
"One of the most important and controversial works of Russian religious philosophy."--Richard Pevear, translator of The Brothers Karamazov
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It's a fascinating book. But I experienced a serious problem with it. Twice I ordered this book through the Amazon marketplace and both times I had to return it because of a significant defect. (And both times I had to pay shipping cost to return it to the sellers - which I felt was very unfair, considering that I was returning a defective book.) The defect was serious: 40 pages missing! (pages 515-554) I contacted the publisher, Princeton University Press, about the problem and I received a quick reply to the effect that this was a known issue and it has been corrected. They will now ship me a copy. So my best advice to prospective buyers is either to order directly from the publisher, Princeton University Press, or from Amazon, not a seller in the marketplace. If there are still defective copies out there, they're more liable to be in the stock of the marketplace sellers.
He begins the first letter by challenging traditional axioms of logic such as the law of identity and non-contradiction, claiming that they betray the sinful state of alienated and isolated humanity rather than the fulness of Truth which is found in a mutual relationship and interpenetration of all ideas, objects and persons. Rationality unaided by faith cannot progress past doubt, leading to either agonising indecision ('epoche') or nihilistic despair. For Florensky, the search for Truth leads inevitably to the Trinity, as the fulness of Being and Knowledge. The Trinity shows how all things can be both separate and of the same essence. A growth in holiness and contemplation makes us more able to perceive the Trinity and therefore the Truth. It also discloses the inner unity of 'antinomies', doctrinal truths that appear contradictory but are actually just facets of a higher truth. This shows the spiritual basis of true certainty, and therefore the moral element of epistemology. Sin is essentially a persistence in holding on to a false view of the self, and Gehenna (hell) is the final judgment and rejection of this false self in the light of Truth. True knowledge involves a knowledge of the creation, which is obtained first by detaching ourselves from dependence on it (ascesis), and then learning to contemplate its spiritual reality. Sophia is the true form of creation as it is perfected in eternity. Contrary to another reviewer on this site, Florensky does not view Sophia as a fourth hypostasis of the Trinity. Rather, as 'fourth' hypostasis Sophia represents God's openness to allow creation into the Trinitarian life, the process of 'deification', and its root in his eternal knowledge and will. Finally, true knowledge leads to a personal love of others, to friendship as pure, interested love, and the desire for perfection in this relationship ('jealousy').
This is a very rich and detailed work, and will need to be reread, paying attention to the vast amount of footnotes. A knowledge of orthodox monasticism will help with understanding some of the theological concepts.
I'm not sure what blurb writers are thinking sometimes. On the basis of the back cover, you would think this was a work largely about same-sex unions and a feminist doctrine of God. This is based on a short discussion in the final letter on a 'brotherhood' liturgy and other theologian's concepts of Sophia. Oh well, perhaps they know what sells books.