Nikolai Berdyaev’s Dialectics of Freedom: In Search for Spiritual Freedom

Abstract

In Berdyaev’s notion of freedom the borders between theology and philosophy seem to fall down. The same existential concern for spiritual freedom is at the heart of both theology and philosophy. From the point of view of existential philosophy as Berdyaev understands it, only a theologically informed account of freedom, could do justice to the concept of freedom. But a freedom determined by God is not what Berdyaev had in mind as representing authentic freedom. It was necessary for him to reinterpret Jakob Boehme’s concept of Ungrund to arrive at a notion of uncreated freedom that both God and man share. But the articulation of this freedom, and an account of it within our fallen world could only be done as a philosophical pursuit. To arrive at the authentic understanding of spiritual freedom, that is theologically informed, Berdyaev believes that a philosophical rejection of erroneous views of freedom should take place. The articulation of the notion of freedom that does justice to the complexity of the existential situation of both God and man is not for Berdyaev a purpose in itself. The purpose is the arrival at a non-objectified knowledge of freedom that would inform a theologically committed existential attitude.

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Open Theology is an international Open Access, peer-reviewed academic journal that welcomes contributions written in English addressing religion in its various forms and aspects: historical, theological, sociological, psychological, and other.

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