Nikolai Berdyaev Criticism - Essay

Evgueny La m pert (essay date 1945)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "God-Manhood," in Nicolas Berdyaev and the New Middle Ages, James Clarke & Co., Ltd., 1945, pp. 33-58.

[In the following excerpt, Lampert elucidates the concept of "God-Manhood" in Berdyaev's thought.]

[The idea of God-Manhood] summarizes the quintessence of Berdyaev's thought. He begins and ends his reasoning not with God or man, but with God and man, with the God-man, with Christ and God-manhood. This defines both the content and "style" of his thought. Without bearing this in mind it is hardly possible to discern the inner motives and trace the complex thread of his argument. "Both philosophy and theology should start neither with God nor with...

(The entire section is 7938 words.)

Pitirim A. Sorokin (essay date 1950)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Nikolai Berdyaev," in Social Philosophies of an Age of Crisis, The Beacon Press, 1950, pp. 137-44.

[In the following essay, Sorokin focuses on the social and historical concerns and implications of Berdyaev's philosophy.]

Berdyaev is the author of many works in philosophy, social science, political economy and ethics: The Meaning of Creativeness (1916), The Meaning of History (1923), Philosophy of Inequality (1922), The New Middle Ages (1924), Christianity and Class Struggle (1931), Solitude and Society (1930), and many others. Most of Berdyaev's books have been translated into...

(The entire section is 2314 words.)

V. V. Zenkovskii (essay date 1953)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "F. M. Dostoyevsky, V. Solovyov, and N. A. Berdyayev," in Russian Thinkers and Europe, translated by Galia S. Bodde, American Council of Learned Societies, 1953, pp. 154-87.

[In the following essay, Zenkovskii provides an assessment of Berdyaev as a specifically Russian thinker.]

Berdyayev has gone through a complex and signal spiritual evolution from critical idealism to a religious Weltanschauung, and his books reflect various stages of Russian seekings for the truth. Centered, however, in all his ideology and creative work lie the problems of history. By examining these we can best clarify for ourselves both the evolution of Berdyaev's thought and its...

(The entire section is 2559 words.)

Michael Alexander Vallon (essay date 1960)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "An Evaluation: 'My Ways Are Not Your Ways, '" in An Apostle of Freedom: Life and Teachings of Nicolas Berdyaev, Philosophical Library, 1960, pp. 292-313.

[In the following excerpt, Vallon offers a critical appraisal of the salient concepts of Berdyaev's religious philosophy.]

It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God.

—Galatians 2:20

Berdyaev described his philosophy as "existential" to indicate that his thought was rooted not in discursive reason, but in life experience. He never related himself,...

(The entire section is 7825 words.)

Matthew Spinka (essay date 1962)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Nicolas Berdyaev, the Philosopher of Personalism," in Christian Thought from Erasmus to Berdyaev, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1962, pp. 214-24.

[In the following essay, Spinka traces Berdyaev's development as a thinker.]

Among those who repudiate our secularist civilization most consistently, comprehensively, and vehemently is the Russian religious philosopher, Nicolas A. Berdyaev. Since his acceptance of the Christian world-view he had been a man in revolt against a world in revolt against God. Having rejected God, our era is now in the process of repudiating man, as far as his spiritual nature is concerned. This is seen in such movements as fascism and communism;...

(The entire section is 3995 words.)

Robert Paul Mohan (essay date 1965)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Nicholas Berdyaev, Captive of Freedom," in Twentieth-Century Thinkers: Studies in the Work of Seventeen Modern Philosophers, edited by John K. Ryan, Alba House, 1965, pp. 205-12.

[In the following essay, Mohan provides an overview of Berdyaev's life and thought.]

Reinhold Niebuhr once referred to Nicholas Berdyaev as the outstanding religious personality of our time. Evelyn Underhill and the late Goeffrey Francis Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, echoed this sentiment. He has also been called the "supreme Russian philosopher," passionately interested in the moods and ideas of his time. The London Times said that in a lifetime he had accepted and denied...

(The entire section is 2401 words.)

Fuad Nucho (essay date 1967)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Freedom and Necessity (The Paradox)," in Berdyaev's Philosophy: The Existential Paradox of Freedom and Necessity, Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1967, pp. 47-97.

[In the following excerpt, Nucho explicates the significance of such concepts as freedom, necessity, and personality in Berdyaev's thought.]


(The Paradox)


Berdyaev's entire thinking is anthropocentric. The structure of his existential philosophy is erected on the foundation of his philosophical anthropology. His preoccupation with the problem of freedom arises out of his deep interest and...

(The entire section is 11245 words.)

Douglas K. Wood (essay date 1982)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Twentieth-Century Revolt against Time: Belief and Becoming in the Thought of Berdyaev, Eliot, Huxley, and Jung," in The Secular Mind: Transformations of Faith in Modern Europe, edited by W. Warren Wagar, Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc., 1982, pp. 197-219.

[In the following essay, Wood considers Berdyaev along with T. S. Eliot, Aldous Huxley, and C. G. Jung as representative of modern thinkers whose works express a "revolt against time. "]

Time the leech; time the destroyer; time the bloody tyrant; portrayed in a thousand forms, hypostatized in a thousand metaphors, described in a thousand symbols. From the dawn of civilization to the present, the same...

(The entire section is 9276 words.)

Robert M. Randolph (essay date 1988)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Possibilities of Creativity: Nicholas Berdyaev and Robert Bly," in The Midwest Quarterly, Vol. XXIX, No. 3, Spring, 1988, pp. 321-32.

[In the following essay, Randolph examines the spiritual significance that Berdyaev attached to human creativity, using the work of American poet Robert Bly to exemplify Berdyaev's criteria for genuine creativity in works of art.]

In D. H. Lawrence: Novelist, F. R. Leavis writes of Lawrence:

It is plain from the letters and other sources that he went forward rapidly once he had started on an enterprise, writing long stretches in remarkably little time as the creative flow carried...

(The entire section is 3625 words.)

Brian Horowitz (essay date 1994)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Jewish-Christian Rift in Twentieth-Century Russian Philosophy: N. A. Berdiaev and M. O. Gershenzon," in The Russian Review, Vol. 53, No. 4, October, 1994, pp. 497-514.

[In the following essay, Horowitz details the reasons for the ideological conflict between Berdyaev and his long-time friend M. O. Gershenzon.]

My philosophy has always been a philosophy of conflict.

(Nikolai Berdiaev about himself)

The erudite "Kulturtrèger" several times showed me the power of the elemental forces living within him.

(Andrei Belyi about Mikhail...

(The entire section is 7740 words.)