|Vasilii Vasil’evich Rozanov|
Vasilii Vasil’evich Rozanov, the Russian critic and philosopher, was born in Vetluga, Russia, and attended secondary schools in Simbirsk and Novgorod before entering Moscow University as a student in the faculty of history and philology.
After his graduation from the university in 1881, he taught history and geography in a succession of secondary schools in provincial towns and began the writing on religious and philosophical themes that was to gain him a reputation as a brilliant if erratic critic of contemporary culture, both secular and religious. In 1893 a minor government post in St. Petersburg brought him to the center of Russian literary life, and in 1899 he retired to devote full time to writing.
He published numerous books and contributed many articles to the Russian reviews of the day, particularly the reactionary Novoe vremia (New times). During the Russian Revolution he took refuge with the religious philosopher Father Pavel Florenskii in Sergiev Posad, near Moscow, where Vasilii Vasil’evich Rozanov died.
Vasilii Vasil’evich Rozanov’s first major writing and his only strictly philosophical work was an elaborate scholarly treatise titled O ponimanii (On the understanding), in which he developed a conception of understanding as a unifying mode of cognition that reconciles science and philosophy. He first won public acclaim with his critical study of Fëdor Dostoevsky, Legenda o Velikom Inkvizitore (The legend of the grand inquisitor).
In a number of impressionistic, aphoristic works written from 1911 to 1918 he developed most fully the critique of Christianity and the “metaphysics of sex” for which he is best remembered. Chief among these later works are Opavshie list’ia (Fallen leaves), Uedinennoe (Solitaria), and Apokalipsis nashego vremeni (The apocalypse of our time).
Rozanov’s mature worldview was a mystical theism based on the sanctification of sex. Emphasizing the generative power of sexuality, Rozanov saw in it the aspect of man that relates him most intimately to God. Sexuality is man’s “noumenal aspect,” of which his other qualities and capacities are manifestations.
|sanctification of sex|
Vasilii Vasil’evich Rozanov vigorously attacked Christianity for its denial of the flesh in preaching celibacy and fasting and for its failure to recognize the holiness of elementary animal processes. He preferred the religion of the Old Testament because of what he regarded as its greater acceptance of life and greater humanitarianism, and he called for renewed worship of the vital biological forces enfeebled by Christianity.