Modernity and the Theologico-Political Problem in the Thought of Joseph de Maistre and Fyodor Dostoyevsky: A Comprehensive Comparison

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Title: Modernity and the Theologico-Political Problem in the Thought of Joseph de Maistre and Fyodor Dostoyevsky: A Comprehensive Comparison
Authors: Racu, Alexandru
Date: 2013
Abstract: In this thesis I compare the views of Joseph de Maistre and Fyodor Dostoyevsky with regard to the relation between modernity and the theologico-political problem. I integrate this comparison within the general context of the reflection concerning modernity and the theologico-political problem, as well as within the context of two Christian theological traditions, Catholic and Orthodox, on the basis of which the two authors develop their religious and political thought. In particular, I analyze the views of the two authors with regard to the origins and the defining traits of modernity. Likewise, I present their opinions concerning the consequences which are inherent in the modern project. Viewing modernity first and foremost as an attempt to build a secular world that would define itself by its opposition to what both authors regard as authentic Christianity, Maistre and Dostoyevsky emphasize the fact that, having theological origins that mark the totality of its becoming, modernity should be understood on the basis of a theologico-political reflection. Associating the modern ambition to build a secular world with the fate of the biblical Tower of Babel, both authors adopt a prophetic posture, announcing the collapse of the modern project as well as the ultimate eschatological resolution of the modern crisis. Yet, the two authors are differentiated by their interpretations of the relation between modernity and the theologico-political problem, identifying differently the theological origins of the modern crisis. In this sense, while according to Maistre modernity originates in the Protestant Reformation, for Dostoyevsky, modernity’s origins must be located in the transformations of Western Christianity that have finally lead to the latter’s separation from Eastern Orthodoxy. These differences of interpretation lead to the articulation of two different responses to the modern crisis, which are rooted in two different Christian theological traditions. Consequently, if in reaction to the modern crisis Maistre affirms the Catholic principle of authority, whose highest expression is the concept of papal infallibility, Dostoyevsky opposes to this crisis the Orthodox principle of brotherhood in Christ. The critique of modernity culminates in the thought of the two authors with an approach of the complex and troubling problem of theodicy, which, Maistre and Dostoyevsky believe, stands at the origin of the modern opposition to Christianity and its traditional institutions.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/24358
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-3127
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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