Gothic High: Meditations on the Construction of Gothic Cathedrals

Goldian VandenBroeck

Poetic ode, in sonnet form, to the vault, the arch and the flying buttress. “Ever since they were first built, the great medieval cathedrals of Europe have inspired successive generations of pilgrims, worshipers and casual visitors. Everyone who steps into these monuments of wisdom is touched and taught by their presence… Reading these words—laid down like stones—in light of their matching images, we are able to enter not only the spirit of the builders but the very process whereby the buildings, stone by stone, erect their meaning and philosophy.” GR

Publisher: Lindisfarne
Paperback: 128 pages

The Meaning of Love

Vladimir Solovyov

For a philosopher intent on illuminating the godliness inherent in each of us, Solovyov sure spends a lot of time talking about sex. “There is only one power which can from within undermine egoism at the root, and really does undermine it, namely love, and chiefly sexual love.” Arguing that, at least in lower forms, sexual love is not necessary to reproduction, and, in any case, that sexual love between humans does not necessarily result in procreation, Solovyov determines that sexual love exists primarily as a touchstone for cosmic integration.
His approach is scientific. Observing that the whole of biological evolution is toward more individualized organisms, he likewise notes the tendency toward the increasing association of romantic passion with sexual union. He theorizes that since neither “romance” nor “passion” is necessary for successful reproduction, perhaps they are to be seen as an end in themselves. Perhaps they are expressions of the divine in the human sphere. Recognizing our failure to achieve “unity of the all” consciousness, he nonetheless views sexual love as an avenue toward this ideal. “The meaning and worth of love, as a feeling, is that it really forces us, with all our being, to acknowledge for another the same absolute central significance which, because of the power of our egoism, we are conscious of only in our own selves.” Solovyov’s ideal is the transformation of the world through love, starting with sexual love and continuing outward and resulting in syzygy, the correlation of the individual with the all. JTW

Publisher: Lindisfarne
Paperback: 121 pages

War, Progress and the End of History: Three Conversations, Including a Short Tale of the Antichrist

Vladimir Solovyov

“Is evil only a natural defect, an imperfection disappearing by itself with the growth of good, or is it a real power, ruling our world by means of temptations, so that to fight it successfully assistance must be found in another sphere of being?” So begins Solovyov’s preface, written shortly before his death on July 30, 1900. Prophet, mystic, poet-philosopher and the prototype for Dostoevsky’s Alyosha Karamazov, Solovyov offers an examination of evil which proves chillingly prophetic, especially in his parable of a European Antichrist: he envisions Israel reunified, Islam emerging as a world power, and eerily asserts that “the imitative Japanese, who showed such wonderful speed and success in copying the external forms of European culture… proclaimed to the world the great idea of Pan-Mongolism… with the aim of conducting a decisive war against foreign intruders.” HS

Publisher: Lindisfarne
Paperback: 206 pages

The Russian Idea

Nikolai Berdyaev

Written during World War II from exile in Paris by a disillusioned Marxist turned Christian anarchist philosopher, The Russian Idea is a revealing exploration of the continuity of utopianism in Russian history, literature and philosophy. Berdyaev’s discussion includes Moscow as the “Third Rome”; the rise of the Russian intelligentsia; the metaphysical theme in Russian literature; nationalism and Slav messianism; the anarchist element in Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Slavophilism; the philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov; socialism and nihilism; Russians and the Apocalypse; and Communism as a distortion of the Russian messianic idea. SS

Publisher: Lindisfarne
Paperback: 287 pages