"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Early Pavel Florensky

Eerdmans yesterday put into my hands a book so new Amazon lists its official release only later this month: Pavel Florensky, Early Religious Writings 1903-1909, trans. Boris Jakim, 240pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:

Profound writings by one of the twentieth century's greatest polymaths

"Perhaps the most remarkable person devoured by the Gulag" is how Alexandr Solzhenitsyn described Pavel Florensky, a Russian Orthodox mathematician, scientist, linguist, art historian, philosopher, theologian, and priest who was martyred during the Bolshevik purges of the 1930s.
This volume contains eight important religious works written by Florensky in the first decade of the twentieth century, now translated into English—most of them for the first time. Splendidly interweaving religious, scientific, and literary themes, these essays showcase the diversity of Florensky's broad learning and interests. Including reflections on the sacraments and explorations of Russian monastic culture, the volume concludes with "The Salt of the Earth," arguably Florensky's most spiritually moving work.
For those new to the genius that was Florensky, you could do well to start with Pavel Florensky: A Quiet Genius: The Tragic and Extraordinary Life of Russia's Unknown da Vinci by Avril Pyman (Bloomsbury, 2010).

One of the earliest studies in English by one of the most perceptive scholars of the Slavophile and Silver Age scene in Russia remains Robert Slesinski's Pavel Florensky: A Metaphysics of Love, published in 1984 by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, and still widely available.

Jakim has translated several other works of Florensky, some of which you may find here.

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