Javorskiy D.R. Attitude to Heresy in the Light of Understanding the Church as an Anti-Polis

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2023.3.9

Dmitriy R. Javorskiy
Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Professor, Department of Philosophy and Theory of Law, Volgograd State University
Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation
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Abstract. The article attempts to theoretically resolve the contradiction between negative and positive attitudes towards persecution in Christianity, a particular case of which is the persecution of heretics. The New Testament texts that constitute Christianity reveal grounds for both condemning and justifying persecution. Two ways of getting out of the indicated contradiction are critically considered. The first way is to distinguish between just and unjust persecution. It is shown that the Gospel contains a strong anti-persecution potential associated with the activities of Jesus Christ and, first of all, with his violent death. The asocial, escapist position of the supporters of the individualistic understanding of religious salvation is also criticized. As an alternative to both solutions, the author proposes an understanding of the Church as an anti-polis, that is, a social order that is not based on violence and ideological manipulation. The foundations of such an understanding are found in the "political philosophy" of the canonical gospels, where "magistrates and authorities" are associated with the figure of the "prince of this world" and, in turn, with the Devil or Satan, "murderer" and "father of lies". The gospel "political philosophy" opposes the power of the "prince of this world" with the ideal of the Kingdom of God, where people can coexist in love, that is, without violence and lies. This ideal was given to Christians not as a ready-made model along with an implementation algorithm but as a creative task. In this case, the social history of Christianity can be presented, on the one hand, as a search for the historical form of the Church as an anti-polis, and on the other hand, as a deviation from this ideal and the politicization of the Church. As a result, it is shown that in modern Christian thought, the question of the place of persecution in church life again becomes open, just as the question of attitude toward heresies turns out to be open: to perceive them as "waste products of dogmatic production" or as a valuable theological and philosophical heritage of the Christian tradition.
Key words: heresy, Christianity, persecution, politics, church.

Citation. Javorskiy D.R. Attitude to Heresy in the Light of Understanding the Church as an Anti-Polis. Logos et Praxis, 2023, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 73-83. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2023.3.9

Attitude to Heresy in the Light of Understanding the Church as an Anti-Polis by Javorskiy D.R. is licensed under Attribution 4.0 International

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