Original Research

Nicolas Berdyaev – The philosophical and political relevance of a spiritual autobiography

Iuliu-Marius Morariu
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 1 | a5933 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i1.5933 | © 2020 Iuliu-Marius Morariu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 January 2020 | Published: 11 August 2020

About the author(s)

Iuliu-Marius Morariu, Faculty of Orthodox Theology, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania; and, Department of Dogmatics and Christian Ethics, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Nicolas Berdyaev’s spiritual autobiography was, unfortunately, the least well-known of his publications. Therefore, we will try to shed light on it, emphasising its philosophical and political value. We will describe the manner in which the author speaks in order to deepen our understanding of it. We will also consider the genesis of some of his works, noting the influence his spiritual experiences had on them. We will emphasise some of the main political aspects his spiritual autobiography contains, showing its usefulness in areas like political theology. Therefore, we will present the interdisciplinary value of this autobiography, together with its potential for building bridges between spirituality and different areas of science (theology, psychology, philosophy, politics, history, philology and possibly sociology) in an analysis dedicated to providing a holistic understanding of his work. We will observe how his spiritual experiences informed his way of thinking, allowing him to critique topics like modernity, a system based on freedom, love and human dignity and a profound understanding of eschatology as the accomplishment of the world and its mission.

Contribution: The research investigates Berdyaev’s memorial work showing why it can be considered a spiritual autobiography and it emphasises also its relevance for the philosophical area.


political theology; philosophy; theology; Russian culture; Communism


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