Marey Alexander

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  • № 2, 2019

    • About God and His Vicars: Christian Concept of Power

      The article examines the concept of power, developed in the framework of the Christian theology of the late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Having analyzed the peculiarities of the modern discourse on power, the author comes to the conclusion that representatives of all branches of the Russian humanitarian knowledge consider power only within the framework of volitional theory. He sees an alternative to this theory in the concept of power as a force that brings order developed in the Christian theology. For Christians, beginning at least with the Apostle Paul, power has a transcendental nature, since it is established by God and comes directly from him, and for the same reason it is always a blessing. The unpredictable transfer of power from God to a ruler and unpredictability of God’s decision make power a burden that one cannot refuse to assume rather than a desirable prize. The duty of a ruler is to take care of the soul of his people and lead his people step by step towards salvation. The reward for this is the eternal blessing that the monarch who rules righteously gains after death. The final part of the article gives a brief overview of the theological discourse on power in modern Russia. On the basis of the analysis of the Patriarch’s messages to the World Russian People’s Council, “A Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans”, written by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev), as well as a number of other sources, the author shows that over the past eight years, the hierarchs of the Church completely abandoned the topic of “power” so that the very term “power” almost disappeared from their speeches, and if any, it is used as a synonym for the concepts of “state” or “state power”. The anticlerical authors, on the contrary, try to appropriate and distort the apostolic statements about power, attributing to the Church wrong intentions and narratives.

      DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2019-93-2-85-107

      Pages: 85-107

  • № 3, 2018

    • About Princes and Sovereigns

      The article deals with a seminal problem of the meaning of political terms, in particular, an adequate translation into Russian of the political language of the European Middle Ages. On the example of the term princeps, the author demonstrates that, in contrast to the texts of the Modern and Contemporary History, to which techniques developed by various translation theorists are applicable, medieval texts need a different approach. It should include not only clarification of the conceptual framework of the translated text, but also clarification of the conceptual apparatus of a translator herself.

      On the basis of the analysis of the political and theological discourse of Thomas Aquinas and Ptolemy da Lucca, the author comes to the conclusion that the medieval language model was dominated by the language of the Holy Scripture, where the term princeps usually referred to a direct subordinate to a dominus. In those rare cases, when that concept was used to describe an absolute ruler, God was placed above the ruler, and princeps appeared only as one of its subordinates. The situation was similar within the Russian political language, where they started to use the term sovereign (gosudar in Russian) to translate Latin princeps only in the XVIII—XIX centuries. According to the author, such translation became first choice because it was consonant with the establishment of the tradition that implied unity between the political subject and political authority, which allowed for only one form of government — the state (gosudarstvo in Russian) — and only one image of the political leader — sovereign (gosudar).

      In the final part of the article the author examines the evolution of the term princeps in the modern Russian political language, where this term is often used to describe the incumbent president of the Russian Federation. The author shows how the inadequate use of the term leads to the formation of an absurd concept: a wise and fair ruler who builds his rule upon lies and hypocrisy.

      DOI: 10.30570/2078-5089-2018-90-3-50-73

      Pages: 50-73