Behold, The Man: A Transhistorical, Tripartite Meditation on the Phenomenology of Suffering in Eastern Orthodox Soteriology

Date

2022

Authors

Haubert, Courtney

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Worldwide access

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Abstract

To experience the life, death, and Resurrection of the Incarnate Christ as salvific and life-giving, Eastern Orthodox soteriology maintains that love and suffering must be understood as a cooperative synergy, rather than an existential conflict. The current project is a meditation on this seemingly paradoxical claim, integrating ancient Patristic and postmodern phenomenological theories of personhood (the "powers of the soul" and "modes of existence," respectively) to analyze how suffering can be experienced as either destructive or as salvific in three domains: the will (Umwelt), the heart (Mitwelt), and the mind (Eigenwelt). Each of these domains is illustrated by one of the three protagonists in Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. Their stories, albeit fictional, serve to anchor the abstract theory in the lived experience of Orthodox Christians, inviting the reader into the Orthodox perspective of everyday life as sacramental. The limits of this project are such that it should not be approached as a remedy for an individual instance of suffering, but rather as a broad reconstruction of what suffering is and can be from an Orthodox perspective, in light of divine love (agape).

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Keywords

Theology., Philosophy., Religion.

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