What will be the final destiny of humanity? At God’s final judgement, will all be saved, or only a few? How does Christian eschatology affect Christian political action in the here and now? And what is the destiny of each individual facing the prospect of earthly death?
In these essays, Sergius Bulgakov brings the resources of scripture and tradition to bear on these vital questions, arguing for the magnificent final restoration of all creatures to union with God in a universal salvation worthy of the infinite scope of Christ’s redemption. Combining practical theology with doctrinal questions, Bulgakov provides on the one hand insight into how Christians can strive to bring God’s kingdom to earth in anticipation of the peace and justice of the heavenly Jerusalem. On the other, he offers profound theological reflections on the nature of human death and Christ’s accompaniment of all humans in their dying, based on his own near-death experience. Although originating firmly within the Russian Orthodox tradition, Bulgakov’s sensitive and incisive writing will shed new light for all on eschatology in all its facets: personal, political, and universal.
About the Author
Sergius Bulgakov (1871-1944), a luminary of twentieth-century theology, was a Russian Orthodox priest, public intellectual, and ecumenist.
Roberto J. De La Noval teaches theology at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to translating Russian religious texts, he writes on theology and culture for journals of public thought.
Endorsements and Reviews
A fascinating collection of brilliant essays-most previously untranslated-by this most remarkable and original of twentieth-century theologians, getting to the heart of the relationship between the created and the uncreated, between death and life. It is an indispensable resource, complementing the reading of Bulgakov’s major works. John Behr, University of Aberdeen and Vrije University
In this judicious selection of Bulgakov’s eschatological essays, which traverse the speculative, political, pastoral, dogmatic, and personal, Roberto De La Noval offers Anglophone readers a true gift. His graceful translation retains throughout the urgency, force, and bright delicacy of Bulgakov’s singular voice as the volume extends an invitation – even an imperative summons – to contemplate together the griefs and consolations of endings in history, time, and death. Jennifer Newsome Martin, University of Notre Dame
A master of multiple sources – philosophical, theological, liturgical, scriptural, and patristic – which he synthesizes in order to leave no theological stone unturned without a response, Sergius Bulgakov is the Aquinas of our time. Roberto J. De La Noval’s masterful translation of these essays further reinforces Bulgakov’s genius and ongoing relevance for our contemporary questions. Aristotle Papanikolaou, Fordham University
Bulgakov’s essays on the Apocatastasis in this volume are not only gorgeous, learned, and stimulating, but very probably, and importantly, correct. His homily on the Dormition, while probably mistaken, is nonetheless essential reading for anyone who wants to think seriously about Mary. It is a delight to have the works collected here available in English: Roberto De La Noval deserves gratitude for his fine work in translating them; and Bulgakov deserves something approaching homage for having written them. Paul J. Griffiths, author of Regret: A Theology and Why Read Pascal
Perhaps no twentieth-century theologian is quite as much in the ascent as Sergei Bulgakov. Not only does he represent a fundamental option for Eastern Orthodox theology, but he represents more broadly a model for a form of theological speculation, disciplined by the theological tradition, marked by a deep reading of Scripture, and with due recognition of the human fragility and failure, a theology grounded in the resurrection of Christ who will be all in all. This new volume of essays, beautifully translated by Roberto De La Noval, will only add to Bulgakov’s high reputation. It will also remind readers that eschatology is not simply a theme in Bulgakov’s writings, but at once its central energy and milieu. The collection shows once again the marvelous conjunction of theological imagination and fidelity to the tradition in the thought of Bulgakov, while sounding an indelible note of existential pathos without ever calling attention to the I. Cyril O’Regan, Huisking University of Notre Dame
There are authors who are not bound to their time. They speak from heart to heart, even from beyond the threshold of death. Father Sergius Bulgakov belongs to these witnesses of divine wisdom. For all those who discover with him the mystery of death, new perspectives of life as ‘fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God’ (Eph 2:19) will open up. Barbara Hallensleben, University of Fribourg