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The Noetics of NatureEnvironmental Philosophy and the Holy Beauty of the Visible$
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Bruce V. Foltz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254644

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254644.001.0001

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The Glory of God Hidden in Creation

The Glory of God Hidden in Creation

Eastern Views of Nature in Fyodor Dostoevsky and St. Isaac the Syrian

(p.187) Chapter 9 The Glory of God Hidden in Creation
The Noetics of Nature

Bruce V. Foltz

Fordham University Press

The same bias that allows Lynn White Jr. to posit Western Christianity as normative for the Christian tradition as such allows Western interpreters of Dostoevsky to regard the affirmation of nature’s holiness in his writings, deeply resonant of Russian Orthodoxy, as nevertheless somehow pagan and aberrant. In fact, Dostoevsky’s characterization of nature draws upon central features of Orthodox spirituality as a whole: its emphasis upon divine energies at work in the world; its teachings concerning divine logoi uniquely inherent in each thing; its belief that creation represents the first icon of God, albeit obscured through human fallenness; its view of nature as cosmic liturgy, and redemption as cosmic in scope; and its claim that these truths can be apprehended through the ascetic purification of the heart. These insights are articulated eloquently in the writings of St Isaac of Syria, who in fact exerted a strong influence on Dostoevsky’s own thinking.

Keywords:   Lynn White Jr, Fyodor Dostoevsky, St. Isaac the Syrian, Icon, Divine Energies, Logoi, Creation, Cosmic Liturgy, Russian Orthodoxy, Orthodox Spirituality

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