The project aims to delve into the historical and theoretical background of the concept of “new Middle Ages” developed by N.A. Berdyaev. Through a thorough examination of materials from various European and Russian archives, the project seeks to reconstruct the emergence of this concept and its reception in the pan-European cultural context of the 20th and early 21st centuries.
In his treatise “The New Middle Ages” published in 1924, Berdyaev reevaluated several ideas from Russian and European philosophy. These included the German romanticism of Novalis, the notion of the “Satanic” nature of the revolution by J. de Maistre, the concept of “free theocracy” by V.S. Solovyov and its development in the works of Russian thinkers in the early 20th century (such as P.A. Florensky, S.N. Bulgakov, and D.S. Merezhkovsky), and the idea of O. Spengler’s “Sunset of Europe”, among others. Berdyaev’s treatise gave way to discussions and involvement of his contemporaries, including J. Maritain, F. Lieb, O. Huxley, J. Bernanos, R. Vacca, U. Eco, and U. Beck.
Berdyaev’s ideas concerning the advent of a “dark” or “night” era in Russian history, as well as the role of intelligentsia on both sides of the Russian political arena, are still relevant even a hundred years later. These ideas require a renewed understanding in light of the significant changes that have occurred in the world history following Russia's military invasion of Ukraine.