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Articles by Nicholas Berdyaev

Translated by Fr. Stephen Janos

Chronological Coding by Year of Initial Publication and T. Klepinina Assigned #

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Nicholas Berdyaev Article Button
Nicholas Berdyaev Article Button


"In Memory of Romain Rolland" [1945-#454]

"Here was a great man, great in physique and in his moral stature. A man of deep seriousness and sincerity in the Carlyle sense of the word. He received world acclaim. He was a well-known writer not only in Europe, but also in Asia, and they especially esteemed him in India. And this is explained not only by his qualities as a writer, but also by his qualities as a moral person. His themes in life and his creativity were very serious, and the most serious theme of them all was this — he all his life sought for pravda, for righteous truth. It is appropriate here to employ (this wondrous word) which cannot be properly conveyed into another language. And in the search for pravda he distinguished himself by a rare quality of independence. He was never swayed by any sort of authorities, nor before any sort of public opinion. He was always prepared to sacrifice popular acclaim and success in the name of what he regarded as righteous truth."


"Political Testament" [1949-#478b]

[Professor Berdyaev, one of the great religious philosophers of his time, died a year ago this month. Our article, the last he wrote, is his most urgent appeal for a reconciliation between East and West. It is printed here for the first time, and we give his message as he left it.]

"There has hardly ever been so much darkness and confusion as in the present age. People are muffled up in lies and falsehoods, and more often than not chance and passing impressions are their only guides through the maze of present events. Illusions, and particularly the illusion of power, overawe everyone. We hear perpetually Marxist phrases on the lips of people who have not the slightest conception of what Marxism is. People today have so little imagination that they cannot conceive of any choice but the choice between Capitalism and Communism.

Here, as in many other things, they are driven by blind fate. War, revolution, Fascism and the rest--all these have the power of fate in them. There are very few who still believe that human freedom also can still have a part to play in deciding the future.... Modern man has shown very little creative imagination in regard to the future. He is overshadowed by two world wars and this explains in part his ineptitude, perplexity and absence of inner freedom."


"My Philosophic World-Outlook" [1952|1937-#476]

"At the center of my philosophic creativity is situated the problem of man, and therefore my philosophy is to an utmost extent anthropologic. To posit the problem of man—this means at the same time to posit the problem of freedom, of creativity, person, spirit and history. Therefore I have chiefly concerned myself with the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of history, social philosophy and ethics. My philosophy is of the existential type, if contemporary terminology be used. But it can be likewise regarded as a philosophy of spirit. In its basic tendency this philosophy is dualistic, although the term is about dualism of a particular sort and to some measure is not ultimate. This is a dualism of spirit and nature, of freedom and determinism, of the person and the in-general, of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Caesar."

1940 - Posthumous

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