Beyond rational consciousness: On Lev Shestov's Angel of Death. philosophical revelation and created truth

Ogden, Marina Gennadjevna (2020) Beyond rational consciousness: On Lev Shestov's Angel of Death. philosophical revelation and created truth. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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At the beginning of the twentieth century the thought of the Russian émigré philosopher Lev Shestov (1866–1938) challenged traditional philosophical norms and brought the individual experience of the anxiety of death to the forefront of philosophical investigation. Based on my research in the Lev Shestov Archives at the Sorbonne, the Library Archives and the Special Collections of the British Psychoanalytical Society at the Institute of Psychoanalysis and my translations of Lev Shestov’s unpublished manuscripts and correspondence, the thesis represents a new interpretation of the philosopher’s work. Considering the development of Shestov’s worldview within the context of a historical and biographical narrative, I have carried my inquiry into the roots of Shestov’s philosophical position, looking through the conceptual prism of the parable of the Angel of Death. The comparative and hermeneutical analysis of the key notions in Shestov’s philosophy – the problems of truth, revelation and death was attained by way of examining the key concepts of his philosophy in relation to the ideas of some of the most influential figures of his time, such as William James, Edmund Husserl, Karl Jaspers, and Sigmund Freud, and with reference to major thinkers in the Western tradition from Plato, Plotinus, and Tertullian to Arthur Schopenhauer, and from Søren Kierkegaard and Fyodor Dostoevsky to Friedrich Nietzsche, Leo Tolstoy, Martin Heidegger, and Martin Buber. The construction of a network of hermeneutical interactions (philosophical, psychoanalytic, religious) thereby aims to bring Shestov’s philosophy into a meaningful and mutually informative dialogue with other disciplines. The main conclusion of this work is that the parable of the Angel of Death constituted a key element in Shestov’s methodology and played a synthesizing role in the development of his philosophical vision. Another important conclusion is that the discourse of the parable of the Angel of Death conveyed the notion of death as the awakening to life (the rebirth of the individual), which is a central theme in Shestov’s philosophy. This finding not only placed the Russian thinker’s ideas in the context of the Judeo–Christian theological tradition, but it also provided a connection to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, the philosophy of Jacques Derrida, and the current revival of apophatic theology.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the electronic version of this thesis is not available for viewing.
Keywords: Lev Shestov, existential philosophy, psychoanalysis, apophatic theology, Angel of Death, Russian religious thought, Russian literature, continental philosophy.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BM Judaism
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
P Language and Literature > PB Modern European Languages
P Language and Literature > PG Slavic, Baltic, Albanian languages and literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > French
Supervisor's Name: Fotiade, Dr. Ramona
Date of Award: 2020
Embargo Date: 15 April 2023
Depositing User: Dr Marina Gennadjevna Ogden
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81288
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2020 09:48
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2020 09:48

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