Studies in East European Thought

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 183-204

First online:

Different concepts of personality: Nikolaj Berdjaev and Sergej Bulgakov

  • Regula M. ZwahlenAffiliated withInstitut für Ökumenische Studien, Forschungsstelle Sergij Bulgakov, Universität Freiburg Schweiz Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The main concern of both Berdjaev’s and Bulgakov’s philosophical strivings consists in developing a concept of the person as the foundation of human dignity and creativity within a Christian worldview. Once attracted by Marxism with its emphasis on human dignity and social justice, they started to struggle against Marxism’s atheist materialism because of its lack of a concept of person. However, the same concern will lead both thinkers down very different paths with different consequences. This paper argues that, even though Berdjaev has become famous as a philosopher of the person and a herald of creative ethics, Bulgakov developed a more solid Christian justification of the same claims. Both systems are presented by means of comparing some crucial notions within their concepts of personality—potentiality, trinity and autonomy.


Personality Autonomy Godmanhood Creativity Trinity Sergej Bulgakov Nikolaj Berdjaev Potentiality Sophiology Human Dignity Kant Feuerbach Solov’ëv Jacob Boehme Ungrund Meontology