Title of the article:



Anatoly V. Chernyaev

Aleksandra Yu. Berdnikova 

Information about the author/authors

Anatoly V. Chernyaev — PhD in Philosophy, Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Goncharnaya St., 12, bldg. 1, 109240 Moscow, Russia. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2019-5330 E-mail: chernyaev@iphras.ru

Aleksandra Yu. Berdnikova — PhD in Philosophy, Research Fellow, Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Goncharnaya St., 12, bldg. 1, 109240 Moscow, Russia. ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1607-5061. E-mail: alexser015@yandex.ru


Theory and history of culture




Vol. 58


pp. 72-83


August 22, 2020

Date of publication

December 28, 2020



Index UDK


Index BBK



The paper undertakes an analysis of the “New Middle Ages” concept articulated by N. A. Berdyaev. It is to show that this concept emerged as a result of Berdyaev's reinterpretation of a number of foreign and domestic thought traditions. To clarify the genesis and specifics of Berdyaev's historiosophical conception, the author provides a reconstruction of its prehistory in a broad cultural and historical context: starting from the origin of those ideas among representatives of German romanticism (and, in particular, the teachings of Novalis), Russian religious philosophy (the concept of “free theocracy” by V. S. Solovyov) up until the development of those ideas in the works of Russian 20th century thinkers (P. A. Florensky, S. N. Bulgakov, D. S. Merezhkovsky). In addition to that the paper renders the reconstruction of ideological evolution of Berdyaev himself. This reconstruction identifies the development of the concept of “New Middle Ages”; in particular, Berdyaev's appeal to such problems and questions as: revolution and reformation, idea of “theocratic socialism”, etc. The paper also highlights the biographical context of Berdyaev's concept of “New Middle Ages”. In particular the paper focuses on the analysis of an episode of the criticism of Berdyaev's early idealistic Marxist ideas brought about by A. A. Bogdanov and A.V. Lunacharsky [a direct consequence of which was Bogdanov's article “New Middle Ages. On “problems of idealism” (1903) ]; and also with Berdyaev's practical understanding of the phenomenon of the Reformation, which occurred in connection with the conflict between G. Fedotov and the leadership of the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris in 1939. Special attention is paid to the influence exerted on the development and shaping of this concept in Berdyaev's work by the ideas of Western thinkers — J. de Maistre and O. Spengler. The paper comes to the conclusion about the "inclusion" of Berdyaev's reasoning into the General trends of understanding the phenomenon of secularization in Russian religious thought at the turn of the 20th century.


N. A. Berdyaev, “New Middle Ages”, romanticism, V. S. Solovyov, J. de Maistre, O. Spengler, reformation, theocracy, secularization, post-secularization.


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