Khondzinskii Pavel, archpriest

Laientheologie or Christian Philosophy?

Khondzinskii Pavel (2013) "Laientheologie or Christian Philosophy? ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia, 2013, vol. 47, pp. 42-59 (in Russian).


Although the theology of the layman — Laientheologie — left its mark on the history of the Russian spiritual tradition during the synodal period, no academic work examining the phenomenon as a whole, and the studies in which it played a role, with its characteristic ideas and methodology, has appeared until our time. The fi rst premise of this article is to clarify the following questions: 1) What can be considered the main characteristic trait found in and unifying the works of those who profess to adhere to Laientheologie?; 2)Does there exist a real and characteristic difference between the proponents of laientheologie and those who follow the path of school theology in regard to method?; 3) What is the difference between Laientheologie and religious philosophy? The results of the author’s research have led him to posit the following conclusions: 1) the characteristic trait of those who adhere to Laientheologie is their lack of any academic theological formation; 2) Laientheologie distinguishes itself from academic theology in that it springs from a personal religious experience which tries to make sense theologically of the experience of Church. In other words, it implies the identity of the first and second — that is religious experience and Church; 3) This school of thought also insists that those written studies which follow its method be classified as theology rather than as philosophy. These conclusions are based on a comparison of the differences and similarities between theological and philosophical knowledge and on an examination of those authors who profess to belong to the school of Laientheologie, as well as on the work of more recent Russian religious philosophers and on contemporary research.


Laientheologie, Theology and philosophy, A. Khomyakov, I. Kireyevsky, Yu. Samarin, Holy Tradition, consensuns partum, scholastic theology


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Khondzinskii Pavel, archpriest