Wisdom as Sophia: An Analysis of the Sophiologies of Three 19th-20th Century Russian Philosopher-Theologians--Vladimir Solovyov, Pavel Florensky, and Sergius Bulgakov--Implications for Adult Learning
Giragosian, James Gerard
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This study examined the concept of "wisdom" from the perspective of "sophiology"--a current in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Russian religious philosophy--particularly as it was used in the writings of Vladimir Solovyov, Pavel Florensky, and Sergius Bulgakov. The purpose of the study was to examine how the sophiological perspective as developed in these authors could inform an understanding of "wisdom" in the field of adult learning. The nature of "wisdom" has been one of the major themes in both Eastern and Western traditions of philosophical and theological thought for thousands of years. In the mid-nineteenth century, however, the epistemological tendency to approach the world exclusively from the standpoint of observation and experiment reduced "wisdom" to nothing more than technical knowledge verified by experience. The concept/construct of wisdom, however, has been experiencing resurgence in the social sciences, including the field of adult learning. My research did not, however, find an instance in which the sophiological perspective had informed the field's understanding of wisdom. For this reason, the perspective of sophiology and its potential contribution to adult learning offered a unique research opportunity. In this study, I sought to add another dimension to the already multi-faceted nature of wisdom in the field of adult learning. I also hoped to enhance the value of sophiological thought by demonstrating its application to a field with which it had not been previously associated. I sought to accomplish these objectives using the method of hermeneutics, an interpretive mode of inquiry with both reproductive and productive aspects. The reproductive aspect established the historical and philosophical context of the three thinkers and discussed how their sophiological texts aided an understanding of their thought as a whole, and vice versa. The productive aspect explored applications of sophiological thought to the field of adult learning. Since I was the "research instrument" for the study, I also introduced the reader to aspects of my own background and experience that prepared me for this interpretive inquiry.
- Doctoral Dissertations