A Russian Version of Christian Realism: Spiritual Wisdom and Politics in the Thought of S.L.Frank (1877-1950)

Boobbyer, Philip (2015) A Russian Version of Christian Realism: Spiritual Wisdom and Politics in the Thought of S.L.Frank (1877-1950). International History Review, 38 (1). pp. 45-65. ISSN 0707-5332. E-ISSN 1949-6540. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1080/07075332.2015.1005114) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07075332.2015.1005114

Abstract

Christian realism is a concept normally associated with the US theologian and ethicist Reinhold Niebuhr. However, Niebuhr was not alone in warning Christians of the dangers of utopianism and trying to promote a religiously inspired political realism; thinkers from a number of countries had similar aspirations. In this context, the Russian philosopher Semyon Liudvigovich Frank (1877–1950) deserves particular attention. A Marxist in his youth, Frank became disillusioned with revolutionary ideas before and after the 1905 revolution, and was drawn away from politics to philosophy. However, he remained interested in political questions, both while he was in Russia and after he was forced into exile in 1922. This found expression in the 1940s in a form of Christian realism. Frank rejected the doctrine ‘the end justifies the means.’ But he was a gradualist in his approach to social change, believing that politicians needed to have a pragmatic attitude of mind. A distinctive feature of Frank's approach was the connection he made between spiritual inwardness on the one hand and effective decision-making on the other, although he also saw spirituality as arising in a social context. Ultimately, there was a mystical dimension to Frank's Christian realism that was absent in Niebuhr's doctrine.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Christian realism, Russian philosophy, Russian political thought, S. L. Frank, Reinhold Niebuhr
Subjects: D History General and Old World
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: M.R.L. Hurst
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2016 09:26 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2016 15:47 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/53774 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Boobbyer, Philip: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0534-3251
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