Journal Put',  apr. 1930, No. 21, p. 34-62.
 
 

N. A. BERDYAEV (BERDIAEV)
 
 

STUDIES CONCERNING JACOB BOEHME

Etude II.  The Teaching about Sophia and the Androgyne.
J. Boehme and the Russian Sophiological Current.

(1930 - #351)

I.

       Boehme has a most remarkable teaching about Sophia, essentially the first in the history of Christian thought. His was a completely original intuition. The sophiology of Boehme cannot be explained by influences and borrowings.1  If Boehme in his intuition of the Ungrund tends to see darkness, then in the intuition of Sophia he tends to see light. Boehme's understanding of Sophia has its own theological and cosmological side, but overall it is primarily anthropological. Sophia for him is bound up with the pure, the virginal, the chaste and integrally whole image of man. Sophia is likewise purity and virginity, the integral wholeness and chasteness of man, the image and likeness of God in man. Boehme's teaching about Sophia is inseparable from his teaching about androgyny, i.e. the initial integral wholeness of man. Man possesses an androgynic, bisexual, masculine-feminine nature. Innate to man was Sophia, i.e. a Virgin. The fall through sin is also a loss of his Sophia-Virgin, which has flown off to the heavens. Upon the earth instead has arisen the feminine, Eve. Man grieves with longing for his lost Sophia, his lost virginal state, the wholeness and chasteness. Half a being is a being torn asunder, having lost the integral wholeness. In his teaching about androgyny Boehme stands in the same line, which is to be found in the "Symposium" of Plato, and the Kabbala. "Siehe!  ich gebe dir ein gerecht Gleichniss: du seist ein Juengling oder Jungfrau, wie denn Adam alles beides in einer Person war" {"Behold, I give a correct comparison, for thou art divided into a youth or a maiden, whereas Adam was all both in one person"}.2  The unique aspect of Boehme's teaching about Sophia is in this, that it is first of all a teaching about the Virgin and virginity. The Divine Wisdom within man is a virginity of soul, the Virgin, lost by man in the fall through sin and shining in the heavens. "Die Seele sollte sein der schoene Juengling, der geschaffen war; und die Kraft Gottes die schoene Jungfrau, und das Licht Gottes die schoene Perlen-Krone, damit wollte die Jungfrau den Juengling schmuecken" {"The soul was supposed to be a beautiful youth, as which it was created; and the power of God a beautiful Virgin, and the light of God a beautiful Pearl-Crown, wherewith the Virgin  wanted to adorn the youth"}.3  Adam, who initially was an androgyne, in his fall through sin by his fault lost his Virgin and found the woman. "Adam hat durch seine Lust verloren die Jungfrau, und hat in seiner Lust empfangen das Weib, welche ist eine cagastrische Person; und die Jungfrau wartet seiner noch immerdar, ob er will wieder treten in die neue Geburt so will sie ihn mit grossen Ehren wieder annehmen" {"Adam through his lustful desire has lost the Virgin, and in his desire has come to perceive the womanly, which is a transitory person; and the Virgin yet ever awaits, whether he will again appear in a new birth so that it again can be assumed by him with great honour"}.4  Eve -- is the child of this world and is created for this world: "die Heva ist zu diesem zerbrechlichen Leben geschaffen worden; denn sie ist die Frau dieser Welt" {"Eve is formed for this fragile life; and thus she is the woman of this world"}.5  Androgyny likewise is the image and likeness of God in man: "allein das Bild und Gleichniss Gottes, der Mensch, welcher die zuechtige Jungfrau der Weisheit Gottes in sich hatte: so drang der Geist dieser Welt also hart auf die Bildniss nach der Jungfrau; hiermit seine Wunder zu offenbaren, und besass den Menschen, davon er erst seinen Namen Mensch kriegte, als eine vermischte Person" {"Alone hath man in himself the image and likeness of God, which is the chaste Virgin of the Wisdom of God: thus also strongly impressed upon the spirit of this world is the image still of the Virgin, herewith revealing its miracle in possessing man, because he foremost hath the Name of Man, as a composite Person"}.6  The initial and pure image of man is the image of the virginal-youth. The Sophia aspect is a constitutive sign of man, as an integrally whole being. The Virgin is also the Divine Wisdom. And here is a most lucid definition of Sophia by Boehme: "Die Weisheit Gottes ist eine ewige Jungfrau, nicht ein Weib, sondern die Zucht und Reinigkeit ohne Makel, und stehet als ein Bildniss Gottes, ist ein Ebenbild der Dreizahl" {"The Wisdom of God is an eternal Virgin, not a female, but a chasteness and purity without a blemish, and represents also an image of God, it is a like image in form of the Trinity"}.7  In another place he says: "Und die Jungfrau der Weisheit Gottes, welche Gott der Vater durchs Wort ausspricht, ist der Geist der reinen Elements, und wird darum eine Jungfrau genannt, dass sie also zuechtig ist und nicht gebieret, sondern als der flammende Geist im Menschen-Leibe nichts gebieret" {"And the Virgin of the Wisdom of God, which God the Father hath bespoken through the Word, is the Spirit of the pure element, and is therefore termed a Virgin, being chaste and not giving birth, but rather as a flaming spirit in man -- not birthgiving of body"}.8  And here is a corresponding statement: "Dieses Ausgesprochene ist ein Bildniss der hl. Dreizahl, und eine Jungfrau, aber ohne Wesen, sondern eine Gleichniss Gottes: in dieser Jungfrau eroeffnet der heilige Geist die grossen Wunder Gottes des Vaters, welche sind in seinen verborgenen Siegeln" {"This out-speaking is an image of the Holy Trinity, and a Virgin, but without essence of being, save as a likeness of God: in this Virgin the Holy Spirit makes manifest the great wonder of God the Father, hidden in its  seals"}.9  "Diese Weisheit Gottes, welche ist eine Jungfrau der Zierheit und Ebenbild der Dreizahl, ist in ihrer Figur eine Bildniss gleich den Engeln und Menschen, und nimmt ihren Urstand im Centro auf dem Kreuz, als eine Blume des Gewaechses aus dem Geiste Gottes" {"The Wisdom of God which is a virginal adornment and in likeness of the Holy Trinity, is in its figure an image like unto angels and men, and takes its unique stand centred upon the Cross, as a flowering of the outgrowth from the Spirit of God"}.10  Boehme many a time repeats, that "Die Weisheit Gottes ist eine ewige Jungfrau" {"the Wisdom of God is an eternal Virgin"}. Sophia, the eternal Virgin, the virginalness is an heavenly element within man. Boehme definitively teaches, that Sophia is non-created: "die Jungfrau ist ewig, ungeschaffen und ungeboren: sie ist Gottes Weisheit und ein Ebenbild der Gottheit" {"The Virgin is eternal, uncreated and unborn: it is the Wisdom of God and a likeness of the Godhead"}.11  For Boehme therefore man also is more, than a mere creature, in him there is the eternal, the heavenly, the Divine element, the element of Sophia. The soul was as a virgin, man was created with a virginal and pure soul, i.e. to it corresponded the heavenly and Divine element. It is necessary to seek the Sophia-virgin in man. "Denn er weiss die Jungfrau nun nirgends zu suchen als im Menschen, da er sie zum ersten hat erblicket" {"Thus he knows now to search out the Virgin nowhere but in man, for there he hath first perceived it"}.12  This tends to explain the predominantly anthropological character of his teachings about Sophia. The appearance of man the androgyne, the virginal man, and the appearance of the earthly halves of man, the masculine and the feminine, -- are various moments of an anthropogonic and cosmogonic process, various stages of the world creation. Between these two moments lies catastrophe. Earthly man has heavenly antecedents. "Die Bildniss ist in Gott eine ewige Jungfrau in der Weisheit Gottes gewesen, nicht eine Frau, auch kein Mann, aber sie ist beides gewesen; wie auch Adam beides war vor seiner Heven, welche bedeutet den irdischen Menschen, darzu thierisch: denn nichts bestehet in der Ewigkeit, was nicht ewig gewesen ist" {"The image in God is an eternal Virgin abiding in the Wisdom of God, not feminine, also not masculine, but in both abiding; suchlike was Adam in both before his Eve, which signifies the earthly man, therein animal-like: thereof nothing subsists in eternity, which is not of eternity"}.13  The androgynic, sophian image of Adam is likewise the heavenly and previously existent man. And therefore only he as such inherits eternity. "Adam war vor seiner Eva die zuechtige Jungfrau, kein Mann und kein Weib, er hatte beide Tincturen, die im Feuer und die im Geiste der Sanftmuth, und haette koennen selber auf himmlische Art, ohne Zerreissung gebaeren, waere er nur in der Proba bestanden. Und waere je ein Mensch aus dem andern geboren worden, auf Art, wie Adam in seiner jungfraeulichen Art ein Mensch und Bildniss Gottes ward: denn was aus dem Ewigen ist, das hat auch ewige Art zu gebaeren, sein Wesen muss ganz aus dem Ewigen gehen, sonst bestehet nichts in Ewigkeit" {"Adam was until his Eve a pure virgin, neither male nor female, he had both aspects, as in fire and in the spirit of meekness, and had ability himself of an heavenly sort, unsplit to give birth, were he only to withstand the test. And man otherwise ever would be born of the sort, that Adam was as man in his virginal kind and in the image of God: for that what is of eternity would give birth of an eternal sort, its being must entirely enter into eternity, else it nowise would subsist in eternity"}.14  Man fell asleep in eternity and awoke within time. He initially did not appear within time, he is a child of eternity. The sophian and androgynic aspect, the virginal man is likewise a sign of eternity in man. The losing by man of the Virgin, i.e. the androgynic image, is a losing of Paradise. "Adam war ein Mann und auch ein Weib, und doch der keines, sondern eine Jungfrau, voller Keuschheit, Zucht und Reinigkeit, als das Bild Gottes; er hatte beide Tincturen vom Feuer und Licht in sich, in welcher Conjunction die eigene Liebe, als das jungfraeuliche Centrum stund, als der schoene paradeisische Rosen-  und Lustgarten, darinnen er sich selber liebete" {"Adam was man and also was woman, and was naught other than a virgin, full of chastity, modesty and purity, a being in the image of God; he had moreover aspects of fire and light in himself, in conjunction with which was an unique sort of love, set centred within the virginal, as with the beauty of the paradisical rose garden  and the garden of desire, wherein he would have love for himself"}.15  The image of God is a "maennliche Jungfrau" {"manlike virgin"}, not a woman and not a man.16  Wherefore the fallen soul doth cry out: "Gieb mir zu trinken deines suessen Wassers der ewigen Jungfrauschaft!" {"Give me to drink of thine sweet waters of an eternal virginalness!"}.17

       The virginity of man does not mean the tearing away and isolation of the masculine nature from the feminine and the feminine from the masculine, but rather on the contrary -- their unification. The virginal man is not half a man, not man chopped apart in half. Both the masculine and the feminine -- are halves, i.e. beings sundered in half. Asceticism and renunciation by each of their half, be it the masculine or the feminine, is still not the wholeness nor virginalness, is still not the returning to man of his lost Virgin. Suchlike are the inferences from Boehme's teaching about Sophia and the androgyne. In this Boehme is unique. The mystical intuition of Boehme about the androgyne can be substantiated by modern science, which is compelled to admit the bisexuality of human nature. The mere half differentiation into the masculine or the feminine nature does not possess an absolute character.18  Man is a being of twofold sexuality, but with a variable degree of the presence of the masculine and the feminine principle. A being, such as would be absolutely masculine or absolutely feminine, i.e. absolutely half, would not be human. A woman, having nowise in herself any of the masculine element, would not be human, but rather a cosmic element, in which would lack for personness.19  A man, nowise having included within himself any of the feminine element, would be an abstract being, bereft of any cosmic basis and any connection with cosmic life. The nature of the person is androgynic, it is constituted as a combination of the masculine and the feminine principle. But the masculine principle is predominantly anthropological and creative, whereas the feminine principle is predominantly cosmic and birth-giving. And in this context can be developed the intuitive insights of Boehme. The mystical meaning of love involves also a seeking of the androgynic image, i.e. an integral wholeness, which is unattainable within the confines of the psycho-physical arrangement in the makeup of man, it presupposes an egress beyond it.20  The androgynic image of man does not possess an adequate physical image upon the earth, within our natural conditions. Hermaphroditism is a distorted and sick caricature of it. The myth concerning the androgyne belongs to the very profoundly old myths of mankind. This myth finds its justification upon a quite deep and esoteric interpretation of the book of Genesis, though it be not characteristic to any prevailing theological teachings. However, a teaching about the androgyne can be found in the Kabbala. Those theological teachings which are afraid of any teaching about the androgyne hence deny it, and in consequence of their exoteric character deny also the Heavenly Man, Adam Kadmon, and teach only about the earthly, the natural and empirical man, i.e. they admit of only an Old testament like anthropology, set retrospectively from the perspective of sin. Boehme however discerned a celestial and seraphic anthropology, the heavenly origin of man. The anthropology of Boehme is bound up with Christology. His Christology and Mariology are bound up with the teaching about Sophia and the androgyne.

      Boehme definitely teaches about the androgynic aspect of Christ: "er weder Mann noch Weib war, sondern eine maennliche Jungfrau" {"He was neither man nor woman but rather a manlike Virgin"}.21  Boehme taught, that God became incarnate as Person only in Christ, in the Second Hypostasis of the Trinity, and therefore already Christ had to be an androgyne, a virginal-youth, i.e. the image of the perfect Person.22  Christ Himself was not only neither masculine nor feminine in our earthly sense, but He likewise freed us from the griphold of the masculine and the feminine. "Und als Christus am Kreuz unser jungfraeulich Bild wieder erloesete vom Manne und Weibe, und mit seinem himmlischen Blute in goettlicher Liebe tingirte; als er diess vollbracht hatte, so sprach er: Es ist vollbracht!" {"And as Christ on the Cross hath redeemed anew our virginal image from being man and woman, and with His heavenly Blood in Godly Love hath it blotted; He this did consummate, as He said: It is consummated!"}.23 Christ has transfigured the evil-wrought nature of Adam.24 In following the Apostle Paul, Boehme all the time teaches about Adam and Christ, about the Old and the New Adam. "Christus wurde ein Gottmensch, und Adam und Abraham in Christo ein Menschgott" {"Christ became the God-Man and Adam and Abraham in Christ a man-god"}.25  This means also, that God was incarnated, became man, so that man might become divinised, become deified. In Boehme can be found elements of that teaching about God-manhood, which in Russian thought chiefly was developed by Vl. Solov'ev. Christ in His human self died in the wrath of God and was resurrected in eternity in the will of God.26  The human nature, however, had to remain, had to abide. "Verstehet, dass die Natur des Menschen soll bleiben, und ist nicht ganz von Gott verstossen, dass also ein ganz fremder neuer Mensch sollte aus dem Alten entstehen; sondern aus Adams Natur und Eigenschaft, und aus Gottes in Christi Natur und Eigenschaft, dass der Mensch sei ein Adam-Christus; und Christus ein Christus-Adam; ein Menschgott, und ein Gottmensch" {"Understand, that the nature of man has to remain, and is not entirely obliterated by God, and that also an entirely different new man should result from the old; for from Adam would be the nature and the unique aspect, and from God in Christ would be the nature and the unique aspect, so that man would be an Adam-Christ; and Christ a Christ-Adam; a Man-God, and a God-Man"}.27  Here, certainly, the words Man-God and God-Man possess different a meaning, than in Dostoevsky. Boehme boldly takes to its conclusion the Christian teaching concerning Adam and Christ. "Nun ist aber doch Adam in seiner Natur, und Christus in der goettlichen Natur Eine Person worden, nur ein einiger Baum" {"Yet still above Adam in his nature, Christ in His Divine nature would be One Person, only as it were but one single tree"}.28 This is also what I would term a Christology of man.29  In Christ, man is conveyed up to Heaven, to the Holy Trinity. Man-Adam through the dying of the evil will is transformed into Christ.30 But this does not mean, that according to Boehme, Christ was merely a divinised man. Christ -- is the Second Hypostasis of the Holy Trinity, but in the Second Hypostasis is existent an heavenly humanness. In traditional theology there was never taken to its final point the teaching, that Christ was the Second Adam. The exoteric character of theology was determined by the stifling of man by sin. Boehme attempted to see farther and more profoundly, but he expresses what he sees antinomically, with contradictions, and sometimes even confusedly. He initially sensed, that man lives in three worlds, in the dark, in the light and in the external world.31  Hence arises the difficulty of the contemplation and cognition of man, the light is distorted by the dark and the external world. But Christ, according to Boehme, took his humanness not only from Heaven, but also from earth, otherwise He would have remained foreign to us and would not have been able to set us free.32  Boehme was not a monophysite. He says about Christ: "Also verstehest du, dass dieser Engel groesser ist als ein Engel in Himmel; denn er hatte (1) einen himmlischen Menschenleib, und hat (2) eine menschliche Seele, und (3) hat er die ewige Himmelsbraut, die Jungfrau der Weisheit, und hat (4) die heilige Trinitaet, und koennen wir recht sagen: Eine Person in der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit im Himmel, und ein wahrer Mensch im Himmel, und in dieser Welt ein ewiger Koenig, ein Herr Himmels und der Erden" {Understand also, that this Angel is greater than an Angel in Heaven for He hath (1) an Heavenly human body, and hath (2) an human soul, and (3) He hath the Heavenly-Bride, the Virgin of Wisdom, and hath (4) the Holy Trinity; and correctly do we say Virgin: a Person of the Holy Trinity in Heaven, and a true Man in Heaven, and in this world an eternal King, the Lord of both Heaven and earth"}.33  The incarnation of Christ leads to this, that His humanity is present everywhere. "Nun so er denn Mensch ist worden, so ist ja seine Menschheit ueberall gewesen, wo seine Gottheit war; denn du kannst nicht sagen, dass ein Ort im Himmel und in dieser Welt sei, da nicht Gott sei; wo nun der Vater ist, da ist auch sein Herz in ihm, da ist auch der heilige Geist in ihm. Nun ist sein Herz Mensch worden, und ist in der Menschheit Christi" {"So now thus as He is become Man, so indeed in His humanness extended throughout all, where His Divinity was; for thou canst not say, that there be a place in Heaven or in this world, where God is not: where now the Father is, there is His Heart in Him, there also is the Holy Spirit in Him. Now is His Heart become Man, and is in the humanness of Christ"}.34  This thought about the presence of Christ everywhere and as Man pervading all life is very close in Russian religious thought to that of Bukharev. The teaching of Boehme concerning the dying off of the Old Adam and about rebirth in Christ is fully in accordance with the traditional Christian teaching. He teaches about being reborn again, and about this, that Christ lives already within man, as taught also the Christian mystics. This represents a developing of the thought of the Apostle Paul. He often says, that "wohnet denn Christus in Adam, und Adam in Christo" {"for Christ abides in Adam, and Adam in Christ"}. The proximity and closeness between God and man, between Heaven and earth, represents for Boehme the very essence of Christianity. "Gott muss Mensch werden, Mensch muss Gott werden, der Himmel muss mit der Erde Ein Ding werden, die Erde muss zum Himmel werden" {"God had to become Man, Man had to become God, Heaven had to become one thing with the earth, the earth to Heaven must become"}.35  From this is apparent how off target would be any accusation against Boehme of an inclination towards a Manichaean dualism. Characteristic for Boehme is that he always sought salvation from evil in the heart of Jesus Christ and found in Him the power of the liberation and transfiguration of the world. But the most original thing in the Christology of Boehme -- is in its connection with the teaching about virginity, i.e. the sophianic, and the Mariology deriving from it. The intuition of Sophia and the androgynic image of man remains a fundamental intuition of light in Boehme, just as the intuition of the Ungrund is a fundamental intuition of darkness.

II.

      Boehme sensed profoundly, that the very essence of Christianity is bound up with this, that Christ was born of the Virgin and of the Holy Spirit, and in this he is profoundly distinct from the later Protestantism, which lost faith in the virginity of the Mother of God, and distinct also from Luther himself, for whom the cult of the Mother of God was foreign. When Boehme first hearkened to the word "Idea", he exclaimed: "I behold an heavenly pure Virgin". This also was an intuition of Sophia. God became Man in virginity: "und in dieser lebendigen Jungfrauschaft, als in Adams himmlischer Matrice, ward Gott Mensch" {" And in this vitally living virginity, as in Adam the Heavenly Mother, God became Man"}.36  In order that God should enter into our world, within the race of Adam and Eve there had to appear a pure Virgin. "Sollte uns armen Hevae Kindern nun gerathen werden, so musste eine andere Jungfrau kommen, und uns einen Sohn gebaeren, der da waere Gott mit uns, und Gott in uns" {"It was now needful for us children of poor Eve, that there had to come an other Virgin, and give birth a Son for us, that therein should be God with us, and God in us"}.37  The Sophiology of Boehme becomes concrete within the Mariology. After man's downfall through sin the Virgin Sophia flies off from him to Heaven, while upon the earth becomes the spousal Eve. The Virgin of Adam is transferred into the wife of Adam and in woman remains only the element of virginity.38  The Virgin-Sophia returns to earth in Mary, the Mother of God. Mary receives Her immaculate virginity not from Her racial inheritance, not from Her birth from the proto-mother Eve, but from the Heavenly Virgin. Descending upon Her and becoming flesh of Her is Sophia. "Also auch sagen wir von Maria: sie hat ergriffen die heilige, himmlische, ewige Jungfrau Gottes, und angezogen das reine und heilige Element mit dem Paradeis, und ist doch wahrhaftig eine Jungfrau in dieser Welt, von Joachim und Anna gewesen. Nun aber wird sie nicht eine heilige, reine Jungfrau genannt nach ihrer irdischen Geburt: das Fleisch, das sie von Joachim und Anna hatte, war nicht rein ohne Makel; sondern nach der himmlischen Jungfrau ist ihre Heiligkeit und Reinigkeit" {"Moreover we say about Mary: She hath taken on the holy, heavenly, eternal Virgin of God, and is wrought the pure and holy element with that of Paradise, and is yet truly still a Virgin in this world, begotten of Joachim and Anna. But now She is not called an heavenly and pure Virgin in accord with Her earthly birth: the flesh, that She hath from Joachim and Anna, was not pure without blemish; but rather in accord with the heavenly Virgin is Her holiness and purity"}.39  And further on: "die Seele Mariae hat die himmlische Jungfrau ergriffen, und die himmlische Jungfrau hat der Seele Mariae das himmlische neue, reine Kleid des heligen Elements, aus der zuechtigen Jungfrauen Gottes als aus Gottes Barmherzigkeit, angezogen, als einen neuen wiedergebornen Menschen" {"The soul of Mary hath taken on and become the heavenly Virgin, and thereby the heavenly Virgin hath of the soul of Mary a new and pure garment of the holy element, from the chaste Virgin of God as from the mercy of God, and is wrought as an again-born Man"}.40  The Virgin for Boehme abides in Heaven: "Die Jungfrau aber, als die goettliche Kraft, stehet im Himmel" {"The Virgin however, as a Godly power, is in Heaven"}.41  Within the Mariology of Boehme are to be sensed very strong Catholic elements. With Boehme there is a genuine cult of the Mother of God, quite foreign to the Protestant world. In certain of his formulations, Boehme comes very close to the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. He admits of the workings of a special act of God's grace upon the Virgin Mary, as it were excluding Her from the sinful race of Eve. Certainly, Boehme's formulation does not correspond to the demands of the rational piety of the Catholic theology, but in essence he is very close to the Catholic cult of the Virgin Mary. Boehme admits of two elements in Mary -- the heavenly, from Sophia, from the eternal Virginity, and the earthly -- from Adam and Eve. The heavenly and virginal element in Her was victorious.42  The difference in Boehme's point of view from that of the Catholic dogma is in this, that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception looks upon the Virgin Mary instrumentally, as a tool of God's Providence for salvation, whereas Boehme sees here the struggle of contrary elements. The descent of the Heavenly Virgin unto Mary is a working of the Holy Spirit, "Himmlische Jungfrau ist ein Glast [Glanz] und Spiegel des hl. Geistes" ["The Heavenly Virgin is a reflection and mirroring of the Holy Spirit"}.43  The image of Mary for Boehme is likewise an androgynic image, as is every virginal, integrally whole image. With Boehme it was not the cult of the Eternal Feminine, but rather the cult of Eternal Virginity. The cult of the Virgin is likewise the cult of Sophia, the Wisdom of God, since the Wisdom of God is likewise an eternal and heavenly Virgin. The feminine nature of Eve cannot be a subject of veneration and it is not ascribable to wisdom, is not sophianic, but in it is an element of the sophianic, i.e. of virginity.

       The sophiology of Boehme does not bear a natal character, it is not bound up with sexual birth. It is only that the birth from the Virgin and the Holy Spirit is holy and saving for the world. But the birth of Christ from the Virgin transforms and sanctifies feminine nature, liberates it from the harsh aspects of femininity. "Darum ward Christus von einer Jungfrau geboren, dass er die weibliche Tinctur wieder heiligte, und in die maennliche Tinctur wandelte, auf dass der Mann und das Weib wieder ein Bild Gottes wuerden, und nicht mehr Mann und Weib waeren sondern maennliche Jungfrauen, wie Christus war" {"Therefore was Christ born of a Virgin, so that He again should sanctify the womanly aspect and make change in the manly aspect, from the man and the woman again be rendered an image of God, and be no more man and woman, save as man-like virgins, as was Christ"}.44  The transfiguration and deification of human nature, of both man and of woman, is always a transformation into a virginal and androgynic nature. "Und als Christus am Kreuz unser jungfraeulich Bild wieder erloesete vom Manne und Weibe, und mit seinem himmlischen Blute in goettlicher Liebe tingirte; als er diess vollbracht hatte, so sprach er: Es ist vollbracht!" {"And as Christ on the Cross hath redeemed again our virginal image from being man and woman, and hath extirpated it with His heavenly Blood in Godly Love; as did He this, so spake He: It is consummated!"}45  Boehme was one of the few with an understanding of the metaphysical depths of sex. What is said about sex in theological tracts generally bears a pathetic and superficial character, and runs but along moralistic-pedagogical lines. The whole metaphysics of Boehme, all his teachings about the fall through sin and salvation is bound up at depth with sex, with the loss of the Virgin-Sophia and the finding of it again. The human soul mustneeds be co-united with its Virgin: "die Jungfrau soll sein unsere Braut und werthe Krone, die wird uns geben ihre Perle und schoene Krone und kleiden mit ihrem Schmuck: darauf wollen wir's wagen um der Lilie willen, ob wir gleich werden grossen Sturm erwecken, und ob der Antichrist von uns hinrisse die Frau, so muss uns doch die Jungfrau bleiben; denn wir sind mit ihr vermaehlet. Ein jedes nehme nur das seine, so bleibet mir das meine" {"The Virgin should our bride and worthy crown be, which on us bestow its pearl and beauteous crown and cloth and jewel whereof for the lily will rouse our desire, if well we weather the great storm, and if from us the Anti-Christ carry off the wife, so mustneeds still the Virgin remain to us; then shall we with her be wed. Each one takes only his own, and thus remains to me mine"}.46  The rebirth of the soul is bound up in the encounter with the Virgin: "so wird dir entgegnen die zuechtige Jungfrau hoch und tief in deinem Gemuethe; die wird dich fuehren zu deinem Braeutigam, der den Schluessel hat zu den Thoren der Tiefe. Vor dem musst du stehen, der wird dir geben von dem himmlischen Manna zu essen: das wird dich erquicken, und wird stark werden und ringen mit den Thoren der Tiefe. Du wirst durchbrechen als die Morgenroethe: und ob du gleich allhier in der Nacht gefangen liegest, so werden dir doch die Strahlen der Morgenroethe des Tages im Paradeise erscheinen, in welchem Orte deine zuechtige Jungfrau stehet, und deiner mit der freudenreichen Engelschaar wartet; die wird dich in deinem neuen wiedergebornen Gemuethe und Geiste gar freundlich annehmen" {"Thus will respond the chaste Virgin high and low in thine tenderness; which should lead thee to thine Bridegroom, and which hathe the key to the gates of the deep. Before this must thou stand, and be given of the heavenly manna to eat: to quicken thee, that thou be strong to wrestle with the gates of the deep. Thou wilt break forth like the dawn: and if as such throughout all the night thou be caught up in prison, so for thee will the gleams of the dawn of day shine forth in paradise, in which place doth thine chaste Virgin abide, to await thee amidst the rejoicing of the pure angelic hosts; so as to uplift thee in thine anew reborn tenderness in spirit fully rejoicing"}.47  Boehme is remarkable in this, that although the metaphysical profundity of sex stands at the centre of his contemplation, his teaching about Sophia is distinct by its heavenly purity and detachment, fully free from any vileness. Sex becomes fully sublimated. And amidst this in him there is not that clipped-wing aridity, which results in sexlessness of thought. Boehme strives not towards the negative sexlessness, characteristic to arid ascetic teachings, but to a positive virginal integral-wholeness, i.e. to a transfiguration of sex, to a transfiguration of man, as a sexually sundered being. Virginity is not sexlessness, but deific sex. Integral wholeness and fullness is connected not with a negation of sex, but the rather by a transfiguration of sex, with the alleviation of the yearning of sex as regards integrality. In this is the mystical meaning of love, which Boehme himself did not adequately reveal.

III.

        The thoughts of J. Boehme concerning man are akin to those of the Kabbala. Boehme admits the existence of Adam Kadmon -- the heavenly man. But the thought of Boehme, in contrast, is deeply pervaded by Christianity. In the Kabbala was a teaching about Sophia-Wisdom. In 2 Sephiroth -- Hokhmah is Wisdom. But Wisdom in the Kabbala -- is the theoretical reason -- and is the masculine element. The feminine element however is revealed as Binah -- the practical reason.48  Boehme's teaching about the Virgin-Sophia is foreign to the Kabbala and is not derived from it. It appears instead as the fruit of his profound Christian meditations and ponderings. In the gnostics of old there was likewise Sophia. The feminine principle, rather subdued in Judaism, was taken by them from Greece, from the pagan world.49  But it would be difficult to find anything in common between the Hellene Simon Magus and the Sophia-Virgin of Boehme. Moreover, in the Helene it is hidden as a profound symbolism and presentiment. And it mustneeds likewise be mentioned, that the mystical gnosis of Boehme bears a supra-confessional character. Even as a Lutheran Protestant, Boehme had within him strong Catholic elements, and likewise elements akin to the Orthodox East. As a theosophist in the noblest and profound sense of this word -- he by a path of mystery imbibed within him the whole of worldly wisdom. But all the same, he always directly strove after the Biblical revelation. The "Mysterium magnum", the greatest of his works, represents a Biblical esotericism. Characteristic to Boehme was his lofty outlook on man, and in this I see his greatest significance. He derived this lofty idea of man through a process of understanding such as it deeply immersed in Biblical Christian revelation. From Christianity he reached anthropological conclusions, which are impossible to be found in the teachers of the Church. He surmounts the limitedness of the Old Testament anthropology and cosmology. In him is to be sensed the breathing of a new spirit, a new world epoch. He belongs to the epoch of the Reformation and the Renaissance, yet amidst this he transcends their boundaries. His perspective simultaneously is oriented both to the depths of spirit, and to cosmic life, to nature. The first strong impact of Boehme was in England. He had an influence upon George Fox, the founder of Quakerism. And he was early translated into the English language. Both Newton and Milton read him. But the first consequential representative of Boehmism, one who further developed Boehme's ideas, was the English mystic and theosophist of the XVII Century, Pordage. And Pordage teaches also about the eye of the Ungrund. Pordage wrote a book, likewise bearing the title "Sophia". In it, in the tradition of Boehme, was expressed the teachings of a Christian theosophy concerning Sophia. And for him also Sophia-Wisdom is an eternal Virgin. The teaching of Pordage concerning Sophia does not possess the freshness and originality of Boehme's contemplations, but it is interesting and worthy of attention, as a developing of Boehme's ideas. Pordage says, that Sophia heals the wounds, quenches the thirst situated in darkness.50  Within the deep abyss awakens a wise spirit. Wisdom operates likewise also within man. The Virgin-Wisdom (Sophia) appears in man as the source of strength.51  Pordage in particular stresses, that within man it is Sophia-Wisdom that makes everything happen. "Wisdom is my inward rouser, my guide, my strength, my initiator, it pervades and orders my life".52  For Pordage, Sophia is an all-pervasive Divine energy and its activity is very similar to the activity of the Holy Spirit. He says, that the wine of Sophia is the bracing draught of life.53  His teaching about Sophia can be termed vitalistic. "And the spirit of virginal Wisdom is mother of the soul, just like as the spirit of eternity is father of the eternal spirit."54  Pordage very clearly distinguishes between spirit and soul and he sees the eternal person of man in the co-uniting of spirit and soul. The pure will for him is a virginal will. And the virginal will loves Wisdom.55  God's heart is alive within the human heart and paradise mustneeds be sought within the human heart. God lives in man and man lives in God. Here is an especially important definition for Sophia. Sophia says concerning itself: "I am the virginal Wisdom of my Father, Who without me could do nothing, just as I could do nothing without the Father, Son and Holy Spirit".56  "One with the Holy Trinity, that which I do, the Father Son and Holy Spirit do, I do nothing of Myself, but within Me doth act the Holy Trinity".57  Clearly, for Pordage Sophia is not created, not a creature. He is particularly insistent upon this, that Sophia is rooted within the Holy Trinity. All the feminine figures of the Bible appear as figures and images of Sophia, right on up to the Virgin Mary".58  Pordage comes to identify Sophia with the Holy Trinity and in this he goes farther than Boehme. -- "I Wisdom by my essence am the pure Divinity and one with the Holy Trinity; and that, which I do, the Holy Trinity doeth in me".59  The service rendered of Wisdom and renewal is accomplished through fire. Sophia also acts, like fire. The new Heaven and the new earth are not outside man, but within him.60  But in Pordage it is very difficult to find a separately distinct definition of Sophia. Sophia is likewise the spirit of Christ. "The spirit of Wisdom and the spirit of Christ are one and the selfsame spirit... The Spirit of Wisdom is the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of Wisdom".61  Man through Sophia becomes a new creature and Sophia creates a new earth. Sophia leads man into a new world. The new earth through Sophia is created for the eternal man. Only for spiritual man will it be knowable. For Pordage, Sophia is the power transfiguring the creature. The teaching about Sophia assumes an all-encompassing character, it has a broad sweep in comparison with Boehme and loses its more subtly pious character, of being first of all a teaching about the virginalness of man. The sophiology of Pordage has an affinity with the sophiology of Fr. S. Bulgakov. "The MostHoly Trinity neither acts nor creates anything without its eternal Wisdom, just as Wisdom can do nothing without the eternal MostHoly Trinity... The MostHoly Trinity acts in Wisdom and through Wisdom and Wisdom acts in the MostHoly Trinity, through it and with it".62  I certainly do not think, that Pordage had any sort of a direct influence upon the sophiology of Fr. S. Bulgakov. Fr. S. Bulgakov derived his teaching about Sophia from other sources, but as regards the all-encompassing character in the understanding of Sophia, there is between them an affinity. Pordage associates closely the teaching about Sophia with the teaching about the Holy Trinity. Boehme's first influence was in England, first of all upon Pordage. Then in France upon Saint-Martin, a very remarkable and influential Christian theosophist.63  However, in Germany as Boehmists mustneeds be reckoned Oetinger64  and Fr. Baader, especially Fr. Baader, the greatest and most remarkable of the Boehmists and the most churchly in his world-outlook. But even still quite earlier Boehme had inspired the great Catholic mystic and poet, Angelus Silesius. Boehme likewise had influence upon wide circles of occultists, theosophists, and mystical-masons, but often therein poorly understood and vulgarised.65

IV.

       In Russia the influence of Boehme can be found upon our homegrown theosophist Skovoroda, although the influence of Weigel upon him evidently was stronger than that of Boehme. Boehme was very highly esteemed, although very poorly known and poorly understood, by the representatives of the mystical and masonic currents of the late XVIII and early XIX Centuries -- Novikov, Schwarz, Lopuchin, Labzin et al. More direct upon us was the influence of such second-rate Christian theosophists, as Jung-Stilling and Eckartshausen.66  During the XIX Century the Russian romantic and Schellingite Odoevsky imbibed within him elements of Boehme's Christian theosophy, yet in this moreso of Pordage and Saint-Martin, than of Boehme himself.67  With Vl. Solov'ev begins the sophiological current in Russian religious philosophy and theology. Does this current rest upon the spirit of J. Boehme? Imperceptibly and unconsciously Boehme's spirit has acted here, since Boehme is the source of the teaching about Sophia. But on the conscious level Fr. P. Florensky and Fr. S. Bulgakov are repulsed by Boehme, and Vl. Solov'ev is quite hesitant to allude to him. But essentially between the teachings of J. Boehme about Sophia and the Russian teaching about Sophia, as it was formulated among us, there is a difference. If there be compared the sophianism of Boehme and the sophianism of Vl. Solov'ev, then the clear preference ought to be given to J. Boehme. The teaching of Boehme, as it relates to him, is distinguished by a greater purity and abnegation. If he is not always distinct for a logical clarity, he is always however distinct with an ethical clarity, and in him there is no sort of anything murky. All the sophiology of Boehme arose out of his vision of heavenly purity and virginalness, it was bound up with the intuition of the Divine light. The Divine Sophia is not for a single instant blurred by the earthly Aphrodite. The earthly Sophia for him thus is the Virgin Mary. Boehme's teaching concerning Sophia is profoundly and completely Christian, in it there are no pagan elements. As regards Vl. Solov'ev, amidst all his enormous merits in the setting of the problem, it is regretably impossible to say, that his teaching concerning Sophia was entirely chaste and renunciatory. He allowed of a great murkiness in his sophianic settings. His poetry witness to this. At the meeting in Egypt he has journeyed not to that Sophia -- the Heavenly Virgin, the Wisdom of God. With Vl. Solov'ev there was a cult of eternal femininity, i.e. a cosmic cult. In Sophia what allured him were the features of feminine charm. In feminine beauty there is indisputably a glint of the Divine world. In St John of the Ladder (Climacus) there is a remarkable statement: "One may have caught sight of an extraordinary feminine beauty, and have glorified exceedingly the Creator in it, and from this single such sight have become ablaze with love for God and shedding tears abundant. An amazing spectacle indeed! What might be a pitfall of perdition to some, for him instead would supernaturally serve to the receiving of eternal glory. If such a man in like instances have always such indeed an awareness and action, then he is resurrected, incorrupt even before the universal Resurrection".68  Thus wrote a very austere ascetic. But the woeful problem is in this, that with Vl. Solov'ev the image of Sophia becomes twofold, and deceptive images of Sophia appear for him. He tormentively sought out his Virgin in the nocturnal and subconscious element, and often got it confused with the cosmic allure. Vl. Solov'ev was tormented with the new religious thirst, so that "in light undimmed by a new goddess the heavens should merge with the watery deeps".

                       "All, wherein worldly Aphrodite be beauteous,
                        The joy of homes, and forests, and seas, --
                        All has in common the beauty transcendent,
                        More pure, more powerful, and alive more, more fully".

       There was a right thirsting for the religious transformation of all creatures, of all the cosmos within beauty. At a moment of insight he saw everywhere "one but image of feminine beauty" and then it was the beauty of the cosmos. The cosmos thus is a feminine nature and the cosmos transfigured is beauty. The Sophia of Vl. Solov'ev is totally and exclusively cosmic, it was not through a contemplation of the Divine Wisdom and it does not possess, as with Boehme and Pordage, a direct relation to the Holy Trinity. The "image of feminine beauty" within the cosmos, within the created world, can shoe forth not only from an upward abyss, but also from the lower abyss, and can be a deceptive and false allure, it can seem as a Sophia sundered off from the Logos and not receptive of the Logos, i.e. a non-wise femininity. The tragic encounter of Vl. Solov'ev with Anna Schmidt, a gifted mystic of genius, witnesses to a great inauspiciousness in Solov'ev's sophianic formulations and searchings.69  He was repulsed and fled the unattractive and not pretty image of A. Schmidt, the most remarkable woman, whom he was to happen to meet in life, since he was searching for a sophianic charm and beauty, he was seeking the features of an earthly Aphrodite. And moreover, in the capacity of being a romantic, Vl. Solov'ev was afraid of its realisation and was incapable for it. Vl. Solov'ev's cult of Sophia was something totally romantic, and in it was not a religious realism. The very conceiving of Anna Schmidt herself as Sophia, as the Church and Bride of Vl. Solov'ev was defined by the duplicity and murkiness of Solov'ev's sophianic outlook and searchings. Vl. Solov'ev attains to a quite great abnegation and loftiness only in his remarkable article, "The Meaning of Love".

       Vl. Solov'ev had quite great an influence upon the Russian poetry of the beginning XX Century, as regards its sophianic theme. We see this with A. Blok, with A. Bely, and partially with Vyacheslav Ivanov. The greatest of our poets at the beginning of the century, A. Blok, picked up on all the murkiness of Solov'ev's sophianic mindset. Vl. Solov'ev himself believed in Christ and remained faithful to Christianity. But the Russian sophianic-poets for the most part believed in Sophia, while not believing in Christ. This Sophia altogether was already lacking for wisdom and was foreign to the Logos. The Beauteous Lady of A. Blok is this unknowable Sophia. It eternally tempts and it eternally deceives, its image is twofold. Herein we find ourselves at a very great distance from Boehme. I do not regard it proper to subject the Russian poetry of the beginning XX Century to any sort of theological judgement. It would make no sense to do this. We experienced at the beginning of the century a remarkable poetic renaissance. But into our poetry entered murky and distorted sophianic moods. Poets have the right to sing of the Beautiful Woman and can make the claim, that "Das Ewig-Weibliche zieht uns hinan" {"The Eternal Feminine impels us wherever"}. But this is an altogether different plane and a different area, than the religio-philosophic, theosophic and theological teaching of Sophia the Wisdom of God. The Russian theological sophianism is certainly very distinct from the poetic sophianism. Fr. S. Bulgakov in his recent books makes the greatest efforts to attain a purified theological teaching about Sophia, in accord with tradition. He is far removed from the sophianism of Vl. Solov'ev, and foreign to him is the sophianism of J. Boehme.70  Fr. S. Bulgakov desires to be a theologian, and not a theosophist. In this is the difficulty of his position. But his sophiology can have reproaches made against it only quite otherwise, than those made in vulgar and ignorant accusations of a sophianic "heresy". The Russian sophianic current can weaken the awareness of the freedom of the human spirit and its creative vocation in the world. Man gets wrapped up in the divinely-cosmic sophianic energy and therein his lot can become but a passive swooning. The cosmic element, just like the feminine, begins to predominate over the elements anthropological, the masculine. And this impedes the strengthening of the consciousness of the person, of the person's activity and responsibility. As for Boehme's teaching about Sophia, primarily anthropological in character, and positing at its centre the virginal integral wholeness of man, it is impossible to say, that it would lead to such results. We have already seen, that Boehme was totally lacking in any Monophysite and Pantheistic tendency. He did not betray man over into the grip of cosmic forces, as theosophists tend to do. The world-concept of Boehme -- is personalistic. Boehme himself did not draw any anthropological deductions from his teachings. But in him are given the foundations for a Christian anthropology.

       With Boehme there was a certain annoyance to his contemplations, its getting all mixed up with astrological and alchemist teachings and terminology. But in him also was a pure vision of truth. He caught sight clearly of darkness, evil, struggle, the contradictions of being, and he saw also Divine Wisdom, virginal purity, light. He was a man intoxicated with God and the Divine Wisdom. All his being was oriented to the heart of Jesus Christ and his theosophy was imbued with Christology. Western Christian thought has tended to neutralise and secularise the cosmos. This occurred alike in both Thomas Aquinas and in Luther. God's cosmos, bearing upon itself the imprint of God the Creator and transfused with Divine energies, tended to wither and die in the consciousness of the Christian West. It was replaced by a neutralised nature, the object of scientific nature-knowledge and technology. In the Christian theosophy and cosmology of Boehme, spirit is revealed within nature, God is revealed within the cosmos, the whole of world life is comprehended, as a symbol of the Divinity. For Boehme what stood at the centre was justification, as it did for Luther, as it did for the Catholic theology, but rather the transfiguration of the creature. And the theme of Sophia is a theme about the possibility of such a transfiguration. Boehme was not a pantheist, but he denied that a transcendent chasm exists between God and the creation, between God and the world. He did not think the world process to be something completely external to God and having no sort of relation to the inner life of the Divine Trinity. The gist of the whole teaching about Sophia consists in this, that it brings in a triadic and immediate principle between the Creator and the creature, a co-unifying principle. In context of the categories alone of God-Creator and world-creature it is impossible to overcome the hopeless dualism and the transcendent chasm. But Christianity puts to rest the transcendence-immanence aspect and simultaneously it does not permit of any identicalness between God and the world nor of any chasm between them. God's creation bears upon itself the imprint and seal of God the Creator, the imprint of God's Wisdom, which conveys the sophianic aspect. For otherwise, in the life of the world, in the cosmos and man there would not be any beauty, nor meaning, nor harmony. The sophianic aspect is also the beauty of the creature. The sophianic aspect in man is his purity, his wholeness, chasteness, virginalness. This purity, wholeness, chasteness, virginalness is also in all the creation, as the possibility of its transfiguration. The Virgin-Sophia has flown off to Heaven, but its image is reflected also upon the earth and the earth to itself. The transfiguration of the earth is possible only through the sophianic aspect. the total denial of any sophiology leads to a deadened dualistic theism, and ultimately to deism. God will have in the final end departed the world. The tremendous significance of J. Boehme and of Christian theosophy in the West is in this, that they rose up against the process of godlessness and neutralisation of the creaturely world, the cosmos. And moreover, Boehme is not given to a non-tragic cosmic optimism. Within the world acts not only the Divine Wisdom, but also dark and irrational freedom.

        I have said already in my prior Etude, that the influence of Boehme upon German philosophy was enormous. But apart from Fr. Baader, it must be pointed out, that least of all has German philosophy developed the teaching about Sophia. Even in Fichte can be found the hidden influence of Boehme. But the forcefully-masculine spirit of Fichte is directly contrary to the sophianic spirit, and he is the most anti-sophianic of philosophers, with him the cosmos is transformed into the material resisting the activity of the I. Likewise anti-sophianic is the philosophy of Hegel and even moreso that of Schopenhauer. Within German Idealist philosophy the greatest success was had instead by Boehme's intuition concerning the dark irrational will and concerning the struggle of opposing principles within being. The teaching about Sophia became the lot not so much of philosophy, as rather theosophy. Philosophy in its literal meaning is the love for Sophia, but it tends readily to forget this its nature. Husserl wants even to forbid philosophy to love wisdom. Still, the teaching about Sophia is about God's Wisdom (theosophy), and not the love of wisdom (philosophy). Yet even here the academic theologians of the schools have failed to develope the teaching about Sophia. It is almost impossible to find it with the teachers of the Church. With St. Athanasias the Great and others, Sophia becomes identified with the Logos and subsumed under the Second Hypostasis. This is explained by the fact, that within the traditional theological consciousness, both the Eastern Patristic and the Western Scholastic, there were yet not only not clearly resolved, as rather not even clearly posited the problems of a religious cosmology and a religious anthropology. The whole cosmology and anthropology of traditional theology was subordinated to the soteriological problem and bound up exclusively with the teaching about sin and salvation. The mystery of God's creation, the creative mystery of the creature involves not only the being saved from sin, but also of bearing within it the imprint of the Creator and being pervaded with Divine energies, this has remained hidden over time. Upon this mystery have touched only a few Christian mystics and genuine theosophists, gnostics, ahead of their time. The greatest of them was J. Boehme. But the thought of modern times has tended to naturalise Boehme's intuition about the mystery of the world-creation, the mystery of the creature, and it has become bereft, of what Boehme revealed.

      The Russian religious thought of the late XIX and early XX Centuries has posited very acutely the problems of religious cosmology and religious anthropology, the problems of the relationship of Christianity to the creaturely world. In this is its enormous and as yet unacknowledged significance. The problematics underlying this, as yet lacking in any generally obtaining resolution, have assumed various forms. At one point it became, whether a new revelation of the Holy Spirit be possible, amidst a new world epoch within Christianity, at another point it intensified over the problem of man and his creative vocation, and of the existence of an ab-eternal humanness within the bosom of the Holy Trinity, and then it was over the problem of Sophia and the sophianic aspect of the creature. This problem became vital on the concrete level in the new understanding of the relationship of Christianity to culture and to society. There opened up herein several currents. They waged between them a struggle, but all were tormented by one and the same theme. Among the thinkers of the century past who anticipated the problematics of the XX Century and who influenced it -- were Bukharev, Dostoevsky, Vl. Solov'ev, V. Rozanov, N. Fedorov. This is also that current of Russian religio-philosophic and religio-social thought, which at one time we tended to call the "New Religious Consciousness", an expression since become trite, vulgarised and disparaged, but essentially preserving its own significance and its own truth. The problematics of the new religious consciousness cannot be extinguished and abolished by any sort of reaction of the times involving a theological and churchly-social conservatism, for with it is connected the future of Christianity. Fr. P. Florensky, who sometimes speaks with hostility and scorn about "the new religious consciousness", is himself one of its representatives. everything, that he says about the possibility of a new out-pouring of the Holy Spirit and about the sophianic aspect of the creature in his book, "The Pillar and the Ground of Truth", signifies the setting of all these selfsame themes, of the "new religious consciousness", which is subject to cleansing and deepening, but not annulling. J. Boehme, to whom Russian theologians of a sophianic bent tend to react negatively, was nonetheless one of those geniuses, who have anticipated the settings of the problem in dealing with the mystery of God's creation. The academic school theology of all the faith-confessions is totally impotent in contending against these problematics and quelling the agitation evoked by them. We ought spiritually to imbibe the great clear-sighted seers of the past, whilst freeing their contemplation of certain tangles and murkiness, and bring them into accord with the basic truth of the Church of Christ. The sources for the insights and ponderings of Boehme remain for us enigmatic, as is everything primal in origin. In Boehme was a philosophic dialectics, but the sources of his cognition were not dialectical, but rather purely intuitive and of clear vision. The attempts to develope sophiology in Boehme's direction ought not to cause yet greater suspicion against this current of godly-wisdom, but on the contrary, to lessen and remove this suspicion. If there be disregarded the suspicions, connected with the mindsets of the ignorant and of obscurantism, with the hostility towards every creative thought in theology and religious philosophy, then still there remains the suspicion of an insufficient cleansing of the teaching about Sophia, in a muddling together of the heavenly with the earthly, of the Virgin Mary with Aphrodite. Yet least of all does this obtain in regards to Boehme's teaching about Sophia. Sophia for Boehme is likewise purity, virginity, chastity. Boehme's teachings present the challenging tasks of a new Christian anthropology, of the surmounting of the slavery subjection of man under the Old Testament consciousness, in a bold attempt at discerning the mysteries of the creation within the light of Christ. Boehme is not a theologian, he is -- a theosophist in the finest sense of the word, and his contemplations are not easily to be carried over into the traditional theological language. Least of all was Boehme an "heretic" as regards the condition of his heart, as regards his spiritual disposition, and the final resolution of this question does not belong to the academic school theological teachings. Boehme was indeed not fully free of naturalism. And upon the teachings of Boehme, certainly, lies the imprint of a certain limitedness of his epoch, the epoch of the Reformation and the Renaissance, and that too of his faith-confession and his people, -- he thought like a typical German. But he indeed more than others broke out of the thickets of this limitedness. Many of us, as Orthodox Russians of the XX Century, think otherwise, than might a German craftsman of genius from the late XVI and early XVII Centuries. but we can sense in him a brother after the spirit, his thought resonates for us, and we can find common issue with it beyond all the separate faith-confessions and nationalities, beyond all the separate times and places, just as we ought to find common cause with everything spiritually genuine that is lofty and high, even though it appear a foreign world for us.

                                                                           Nikolai Berdyaev

                                                                                    1930
 

  2002  by translator Fr. S. Janos  -- with the great and gracious assist of Fr Michael Knechten in correction of the German portions of the original Put' text, and his intensive review with the translation from German.

(1930 - 351 -en)

IZ ETIUDOV O YAK. BEME.  ETIUD II.  UCHENIE O SOPHII I ANDROGINE.  Journal Put', apr. 1930, No. 21, p. 34-62.
 


1 Koyre could not find any sort of source, from which Boehme had taken his teachings about Sophia.

2 Vol. III, "Die drei Principien goettlichen Wesens" {"The Three Principles of the Godly essence"}, p. 112.

3 Vol. III, p. 115.

4 Vol. III, p. 117.

5 Vol. III, p. 187.

6 Vol. III, p. 188.

7 Vide Vol. IV, "Vom dreifachen Leben des Menschen" {"Of the Threefold Life of Man"}, p. 70.

8 Vol. III, p. 295.

9 Vol. IV, p. 69.

10 Vol. IV, p. 71. [not p. 21; Correction of Berdiaev's or printer's error. MK].

11  Vol. IV, p. 156.

12 Vol. III, p. 141 [not Vol. II; Correction of Berdiaev's or printer's error. MK].

13 Vol. IV, p. 96.

14 Vol. IV, p. 261.

15 Vide Vol. V, "Mysterium magnum", p. 94.

16 Vol. V, p. 140.

17 Vol. V, p. 409.

18 The school of Freud is conducive to such an understanding of the relative aspect of the half differentiation. Freud claims, that sex floods through all the organism of man.

  19 Quite with genius did Bachofen express his idea concerning the feminine and masculine principle. In the correlation of the masculine and feminine principle he sees a symbolic correlation between the sun and the earth, between spirit and flesh. Vide the fine exposition of Bachofen in the book of Georg Schmidt, "Bachofens Geschichtsphilosophie" {"Bachofen's Philosophy of History"}, 1929.

20  In this vein is the very remarkable article of Vl. Solov'ev, "The Meaning of Love".

21  Vol. V, "Mysterium magnum", p. 463 [not p. 464; Correction of Berdiaev's or printer's error. MK].

22  Vol. V, p. 32.

23  Vol. V, p. 101.

24  Vol. V, p. 133.

25 Vol. V, p. 287.

26 Vol. V, p. 316.

27  Vol. V, p. 420.

28  Vol. V, p. 421.

29  Vide my book, "The Meaning of Creativity. Attempt at a Justification of Man" (in English published under title, "The Meaning of the Creative Act").

30  Vol. V, p. 528.

31 Vide Vol. I, "Der Weg zu Christo" ("The Way to Christ"), p. 104.

32 Vol. III, p. 302.

33  Vol. III, p. 307.

34  Vol. III, p. 316.

35  Vol. IV, "De Signatura Rerum", p. 374.

36  Vol. V, p. 465.

37  Vol. III, p. 296.

38  Vol. V, p. 327.

39  Vol. III, "Die drei Principien goettlichen Wesens", p. 298.

40 Vol. III, p. 298-299.

41 Vol. III, p. 119.

42 Vide Vol. VI, p. 206.

43  Vol. VI, p. 697.

44  Vol. V, p. 482.

45  Vol. V, p. 101.

46  Vide Vol. III, p. 117-118.

47  Vide Vol. III, p. 184-185.

48  Vide "Die Elemente der Kabbalah", Erster Theil, Theoretische Kabbalah; Uebersetzungen, Erlaeuterungen und Abhandlungen von Dr. Erich Bischoff, 1920.

49  Vide Hans Leisegang, "Die Gnosis", Leipzig, 1924.

50 I shall quote from Pordage using the 1699 edition of the German translation (written in 1675): "Sophia, das ist Die hold-seelige ewige Jungfrau der Goettlichen Weisheit". The citations in Russian translation are from me, N.B.

51 Vide "Sophia", p. 17.

52  Vide "Sophia", p. 21.

53  Ibid., p. 26.

54  Ibid., p. 38.

55  Ibid., p. 86.

56 Ibid., p. 123.

57 Ibid., p. 126.

58  Ibid., p. 146.

59 Ibid., p. 161.

60 p. 162.

61  p. 193.

62  p. 193.

63 Vide A. Franck, "La philosophie mystique en France a la fin du XVIII Siecle. Saint-Martin et son maitre Martinez Pasqualis.

64 Vide August Auberlen, "Die Theosophie Fr. Chr. Oetigers nach ihren Grundzuegen", 1859.

65 Vide the still interesting book of Viatte, "Les sources occultes du Romantisme".

66  Vide the book of Bogoliubov, "Novikov".

67  Vide the detailed and scrupulous, though also lacking in dogmatic understanding, explanation of the mystico-theosophic influences upon Odoevsky in the book of Sakulin, "Iz istorii russkago idealisma".

68 Vide "Prepodobnago otsa nashego Ioanna Igumena Sinaiskoi gory Lestvitsa" ("Our Monastic Father, Hegumen of Mount Sinai, John of the Ladder"), 1909, p. 122.

69 Vide the book, "Iz rukopisei A. N. Schmidt" ("From the Manuscripts of A. N. Schmidt"), one of the most remarkable mystical books in the Russian language, but nigh close to madness.

70 Fr. S. Bulgakov in his book, "Svet Nevechernii" ("Light Unfading"), provides a quite inaccurate explanation of the teachings of Boehme, especially the part concerning Boehme's teaching about Sophia, and is very unjust to him. Boehme falls victim to the struggle against modern currents, against the influences of German Immanentism and Spiritualism.



German text (Knechten translation)...

Jacob Boehme Website..

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