Translated by Thomas Allan Smith
With its scholarly discussions of myth, German idealist philosophy, negative theology, and mysticism, shot through with reflections on personal religious experiences, Unfading Light
documents what a life in Orthodoxy came to mean for Sergius Bulgakov on the tumultuous eve of the 1917 October Revolution. Written in the final decade of the Russian Silver Age, the book is a typical product of that era of experimentation in all fields of culture and life. Bulgakov referred to the book as miscellanies, a patchwork of chapters articulating in symphonic form the ideas and personal experiences that he and his entire generation struggled to comprehend. Readers may be reminded of St. Augustine's Confessions
and City of God
as they follow Bulgakov through the challenges and opportunities presented to Orthodoxy by modernity.
"In Unfading Light Bulgakov masterfully expounds human religious consciousness using an astonishingly varied tool kit, including Bible and Church fathers, Kabbalah and other mystical texts, ancient and modern philosophy, and modern economic thought. Despite Bulgakov's eclecticism, however, his book is remarkably lucid, and thanks to Thomas Allan Smith's impressive translation, the work loses none of its clarity in English. This volume belongs in the library of anyone interested in Russian religious thought."
"One of the greatest works of philosophy of the twentieth century, Unfading Light is full of a radiance that penetrates the reader's mind and heart. . . . We see Bulgakov's mind growing to encompass great sophiological truths and his heart expanding to absorb the Divine light as he prepares to begin work on his two unparalleled theological trilogies. With his superb translation, Thomas Allan Smith has given the twenty-first century a luminous gift."
"For the English-language reader who wishes to understand the mature Bulgakov, Smith's translation of Unfading Light — probably Bulgakov's most challenging volume — will be indispensable."
Johannes M. Oravecz
"Thanks to Thomas A. Smith's attentive editing and sensitive translation, this rich work of intellectual and spiritual quest is available for the first time in English. It will undoubtedly be a source of inspiration to many on their own spiritual-intellectual quest for God."
Robert F. Slesinski
"This pellucid translation sheds important light on Bulgakov's highly personal and philosophical life journey."
Theological Book Review
"This important translation of Bulgakov's semi-genealogical treatise on the shape and trajectory of divine wisdom (Sophia) offers English students of twentieth-century philosophical theology insight into a profound neo-Chalcedonian constructive system. . . . The translator-editor and publisher have done English-speaking students of modern theology a service by producing a usable volume that includes details of both the author, and his sources."