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Philosophical Thought

V. V. Zenkovskys assessment of S. L. Franks attitude to the problem of the beginning of the world

Chzhen Yan

graduate student of the Department History of Philosophy, Peoples' Friendship University of Russia named after P. Lumumba (RUDN University)

117198, Russia, Moscow, Miklukho-Maklaya str., 10/2

Other publications by this author










Abstract: The article deals with the views of S. L. Frank on the problem of the creation of the world, their critical assessment is given, made by V. V. Zenkovsky in his History of Russian Philosophy. The difference in the understanding of this problem by thinkers is stated. S. L. Frank accepted the pantheistic concept of the emanation of the Absolute. Accordingly, he made a conclusion about the essential connection between God and creation, V. V. Zenkovsky fundamentally rejected pantheism, insisting on the essential difference between God and creation. During the study, methods of comparative analysis were used, which involve a reasoned and consistent identification of similarities and differences in the philosophical positions of S. L. Frank and V. V. Zenkovsky. Hermeneutic methods were also used to better understand the semantic content of texts. It is argued that "antinomian panentheism", which S. L. Frank adhered to, is a modification of the pantheistic worldview. Therefore, his ideological position was rightly criticized by V. V. Zenkovsky from a Christian theistic point of view. The author makes an assumption that the reason why the philosopher, realizing the vulnerability of his views, nevertheless did not leave them, was the prevalence of the psychology of the Christian religion over its ontology in his religious experience. For S. L. Frank, the personal connection between God and man was extremely important, but he believed that church authority rejected its necessity. The author of the article considers this opinion of the philosopher to be inadequate, since at the Palamite Councils in Christian dogmatics a definition was developed on the synergistic interaction of God and man. This opened up for the latter the possibility of deification by grace.


S. L. Frank, V. V. Zenkovsky, creation, emanation, ontognoseology, metaphysics of unity, panentheism, theosis, grace, synergy

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.


The relevance of the topic of the article is determined by the importance of conducting historical and philosophical research aimed at clarifying the specifics of Russian philosophical thought, on the one hand, adequately reflecting the realities of Russian socio-historical development, on the other hand, influencing and even largely determining these realities. Russian Russian thinkers S. L. Frank and V. V. Zenkovsky occupy a worthy place in the remarkable galaxy of Russian thinkers, being the authors of original ontognoseological systems, while we have the opportunity to reasonably judge the ideological differences of these thinkers, since V. V. Zenkovsky in his "History of Russian Philosophy" expressed quite definite judgments about them, focusing special attention on the attitude of S. L. Frank to the problem of the beginning of the world. The purpose of the article is to clarify the reasons why S. L. Frank refused to accept the dogmatically stated doctrine of the creation of the world by God "out of nothing", as well as to clarify the question of whether the arguments he gives in favor of the emanation origin of the world are effective.

V. V. Zenkovsky, assessing the work of S. L. Frank, spoke very highly of him: "By the strength of Frank's philosophical point of view, one can without hesitation be called the most outstanding Russian philosopher in general not only among those close to him in ideas" [1, p. 450]; he considered his system "the most significant and profound that we find in the development of Russian philosophy" [1, p. 472]. At the same time, V. V. Zenkovsky was very critical of the central and fundamental concept of unity for this system, in the presentation of which S. L. Frank, in his opinion, was not original, because he found it "in Solovyov, Plotinus, Nikolai Kuzansky"; in addition, "next to him" the metaphysics of unity was developed"Karsavin, O. Florensky, O. Bulgakov". The originality and "philosophical power" of S. L. Frank is "in the justification of this metaphysics, which he developed in his works" [1, pp. 472-473]. The philosophical system created by him "is the highest achievement, the highest point of development of Russian philosophy in general, but it lacks just the clarity in the distinctions of the Absolute and the world that is needed for a system of basic concepts." V. V. Zenkovsky clarified at the same time: philosophers do not always "realize that the idea of creation philosophy needs it no less than theology." The metaphysics of unity may, of course, be harmonious and internally consistent, but its characteristic "bad, hasty monism" still "does not answer the mystery of being"; the combination of the idea of unity with the concept of creation, even very skillfully conducted, remains a "weak spot" in it and "still confuses philosophical thought" [1, p. 474].

Panentheism as a modification of Pantheism

The problem of the beginning of the world was, perhaps, the most important point that caused ontognoseological disagreements between S. L. Frank and V. V. Zenkovsky, and this is explained by the fact that the type of the thinker's worldview, and therefore his entire philosophical system, depends entirely on the solution of this problem. If V. V. Zenkovsky, always remaining within the framework of the Christian tradition, strictly followed the dogma of the creation of the world by God "out of nothing", then S. L. Frank was not satisfied with this fundamental idea. Although he used the term "creation", and even admitted that the act he meant was committed by God's own will, however, he believed that the idea of creating the world "out of nothing" is dangerous in its consequences, it endows the Creator with the property of omnipotence, therefore, makes problematic theodicy, the justification of God for the presence of evil in the world, in which there is no doubt. A modern researcher of S. L. Frank's creativity, E. S. Kiseleva, rightly remarks: "Abandoning the traditional Christian concept, Frank suggests thinking of the process of creation as the formation of material that God himself posits. To some extent, this resembles the relationship between matter and the One in Neoplatonism, with the only difference that the One does not assume matter" [2, p. 15]. Indeed, such an understanding by S. L. Frank of creation no longer fits into the framework of a monotheistic worldview, being nothing more than pantheism, the fact of adherence to which the philosopher himself has always denied.

S. L. Frank preferred to characterize his own worldview as "antinomian panentheism", by which he understood "the justification of the world and man through the inseparable, but also non-merged duality of the Creator and creation" [3, p. 304]. However, panentheism in its essence is only a modification of the pantheistic worldview, according to it, "the world resides in God, but God does not dissolve in the world (as in pantheism). God is present in all things, includes the universe, but is also outside of it. A certain aspect of God is transcendent in relation to the surrounding world" [4, pp. 136-137]. But after all, the pantheistic Absolute, no matter how it is thought of theologically and philosophically whether as Brahman, Tao, or the One-Good, Absolute Idea does not belong at all to the world that emanates from it, it is the source of everything, and at the same time nothing (for the world). The only significant difference between panentheism and "classical" pantheism is that it gives the Absolute the status of the Supreme Personality, which assumes everything that exists from itself. However, even in pantheism, it is possible to fix the presence of vague ideas "about the non-worldly Creator of our life" due to a peculiar "premonition" of the theistic worldview in him, based on the understanding of the Absolute as a transcendent category [5, p. 228].

If we turn to the "New Philosophical Encyclopedia", we will see that pantheism is characterized in it as "a religious and philosophical doctrine according to which God is immanent in the world, God and the world are one." There are such forms of it as Hylozoistic (Brahmanism, Taoism, pre-Socratics), monistic (Parmenides), absolutist (G. Hegel) and immanent (Heraclitus, B. Spinoza) pantheism. The latter "places God in the world as its "part" as a force or law, eternal and unchangeable, governing the changing world," and the author of the encyclopedic article notes that in some immanent pantheistic teachings, God "can be considered not as a focus of characteristics opposite to the world, but as a unity of opposites (Nikolai Kuzansky, J. Bruno, J. Boehme)" [6, p. 191]. There is no separate article devoted to panentheism in the encyclopedia, and this does not seem to say at all that such a worldview does not exist, but confirms our thesis that panentheism is only a modification of pantheism, and the description given here of immanent pantheism is quite suitable for panentheism. S. L. Frank said about Nikolai Kuzansky as his only teacher of philosophy, and a modern German researcher of the work of the Russian philosopher rightly believes that he was such a teacher "precisely in methodological terms," from him "Frank found an argumentative justification for real-idealistic ontology" [7, p. 262]; from him, as we see, he took and immanent pantheism, which understands the Absolute as a unity of opposites.

S. L. Frank did not even abandon the term emanation (expiration), or radiation (radiation), characteristic of Neoplatonism, this carefully philosophically developed pantheistic doctrine, designed to describe the mechanism of a step-by-step "transition" from the One-Good to the material world: "God," he wrote, "being the primary source and center of reality, simultaneously permeates all reality, as if radiating through its allencompassing completeness" [3, p. 288]. Or directly: "... the deep layer of the human spirit is not his "creation" in relation to God, but his "emanation" that which is "born" or "flows" from him..." [3, p. 335]. The philosopher also resorted to an open polemic with the traditional dogmatic teaching of the Church, contrasting his understanding of the relationship between God and the created world with the "direct experience of consciousness", which speaks "about the presence within myself, in the composition of my soul, of something unconditionally durable, something eternal and therefore "uncreated"" [3, p. 333], rooted in God.

Thus, the replacement of the term (and the concept) in determining the origins of the created world (instead of "from nothing" "from myself") leads to the fact that S. L. Frank "from the concept of "creation" remains, in fact, only the word" [1, p. 462]. As a deep-thinking philosopher, he could not help but realize this. Why, after all, did S. L. Frank persistently continue to adhere to such a borderline mentality between theism and pantheism all his life, subject to criticism from all sides, and he always considered "not abstract theism, but concrete panentheism" to be the "true, adequate" essence of religious faith [8, p. 507]?

Theosis by essence and by grace

Let us assume that the result of S. L. Frank's solution of the problem of the beginning of the world was affected by the clear predominance in his religious experience of the psychology of the Christian religion over its ontology. Born into a devout Jewish family, having passed the stage of fascination with Marxism and atheism in his youth, the philosopher already in his mature years and quite consciously adopted Christianity. Undoubtedly, he was not only "convinced" by his mind of the truth of this confession, but also felt God in the depths of his soul he came to him both logically and psychologically. The protest against the traditional understanding of the essential transcendence of God, who created the world "out of nothing", was based, first of all, on a deeply personal understanding of faith as a mutual relationship between a human person and God, perceived as "such a "you", which at the same time is the basis, the soil and the deepest root of my "I"". Despite the fact that S. L. Frank, of course, recognized the difference, even a certain opposition of personality and God, he at the same time clearly realized his own unity with Him: "This unity is so intimate," he wrote, "that I do not know, I do not see clearly where the last depth of myself and God ends. where does what I call God begin: for meeting is an inseparable connection here" [8, pp. 511-512].

However, according to S. L. Frank, there is often an authority standing in the way of personal communication with God, prescribing what, how and when to do and how to understand one's place in the world and religion. The philosopher, of course, did not oppose church authority in general, because he understood that, firstly, not only certain authorities, not only the Eastern patriarchs and the Pope, but also dogmas, and Holy Tradition, and Holy Scripture, have authority, and, secondly, authority is necessary, and therefore if we we will refute one authority, its place will immediately be taken by another, if we reject one dogma, it will immediately be replaced by another. The philosopher protested against the idea of "infallible religious authority", which should be "fundamentally removed; it contains an internal contradiction, suggesting a rejection of personal judgment, consent to blind faith, whereas faith and sight, faith and inner conviction are essentially the same" [8, p. 545].

Regarding the Christian dogma about the creation of the world, S. L. Frank spoke about its unacceptable distortion, supported by all church authority. More precisely, he was not even talking about the dogma, the validity of the oros (definition) of which is fixed by the Ecumenical Council, but about its later interpretation after all, in the Nicene-Tsaregrad Creed there is not a word about God's creation of the world "out of nothing", it says only: "I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, the Creator heaven and earth, visible to all and invisible..." [9, p. 6]. The philosopher believed that the assertion of the complete "otherworldliness" of God, His fundamental essential difference from the world and the man existing in it leads to the confession of a God distant and unattainable, absolutely transcendent to every creature, and such a confession excludes close communication between God and man. It should be noted that this idea of the tradition of understanding the relationship between God and the world, as if sanctified by the church authority, is generally inadequate, although, we agree, it is quite often allowed in religious practice. On the contrary, it was really dogmatically determined, and at the councils (true, not Ecumenical, but local Constantinople, called "Palamite"), that not only communication between God and man is possible, but also theosis, the formation of the latter as a consequence of such communication, or synergy (co-action, co-cooperation) when uncreated energies (grace) emanating from God are freely perceived by a person, transforming, deifying him. Only here a very important addition was made: a person can become god not by essence, but by grace, while preserving his own human, created essence forever. The transition of the transcendent into the immanent, on which panentheism so insists, from this point of view is a mystery (for the human mind a miracle), and not a natural law.

We see that the psychological problems that so deeply affected the soul of S. L. Frank were characteristic of the Christian world in the XIV century, and, presumably, at a much earlier time, and most importantly, they were solved and solved in the plane of the theistic worldview, without the slightest deviation into pantheism. The psychology of religion and the epistemology of S. L. Frank could significantly enrich the concept of "Orthodox energetism" [10] provided that some ontological views are abandoned, and, in particular, the idea of emanation. Did S. L. Frank himself know about St. Gregory Palamas, the main ideologist of the above-mentioned councils, was he familiar with his works? The answer to this question can only be positive: very rarely, but the philosopher mentions svt. Gregory Palamas, for example, when he writes (in a footnote) about him as a "mystical theologian" who distinguished "in God His "energy" permeating the created being from His unapproachable "essence"" [3, p. 414]. However, we must admit that a deep acquaintance with the teachings of svt. Nevertheless, S. L. Frank did not have Gregory Palamas, and his remark (again in a footnote) indirectly testifies to this that the "quite orthodox doctrine of cooperation (synergism) of freedom and grace as two independent instances" can be included in the installation of "Pelagianism" (in a broad sense) [3, p. 331]. Attention is drawn to the fundamentally incorrect "definition" of synergy contained here: cooperation occurs precisely between free God and man, and freedom and grace are not "instances" at all, but rather essential manifestations (the first is both God and man, the second is only God, therefore it is uncreated). The attribution of synergism to Pelagianism is beyond any criticism at all, if only because the Pelagian heresy attached very little importance to Divine grace, which cannot be said about Palamism, which places the acquisition of grace in Hesychast practice at the forefront.

It should be noted that in the pre-revolutionary years, especially in emigration, the works of svt. Gregory's Palamas were difficult to access, they were not widely distributed, and the Hesychastic part of his theological heritage was apparently almost unknown to Russian metaphysicians. And although the Orthodox collection "Dobrotolubie", compiled at the end of the XVIII century and periodically supplemented, contained many ascetic texts set forth in the Hesychast tradition, there are also some works of St. Peter in it. Gregory Palamas, but, for example, his "Triads in Defense of the Sacred and Silent", which contain the most important provisions of the theologian regarding synergetic practice, were published in Russian only at the very end of the XX century, already during the period of "perestroika" [11]. At the beginning of the XX century, however, there was a certain increase in the interest of the educated public in the works of svt. Grigory Palama in connection with the dispute of the "name Slavs", but it was very limited, without causing translations and publications of his main works related to the essence of this dispute. It can be assumed that a more detailed acquaintance with the Palamite doctrine would make its own adjustments to the worldview systems of Russian religious philosophers. Russian Russian philosopher Y. V. Bondareva notes that the first steps towards the reception of Palamism "have already been made in the Russian philosophy of the "post-Solovyov" era, however, fascination and even blindness with the methodology of unity did not allow Russian philosophers to develop independent philosophical systems based on energetism" [12, p. 84].


So, we see that V. V. Zenkovsky had every reason, despite the general highest assessment of S. L. Frank's creativity, to criticize at the same time his metaphysics of unity, which logically inevitably leads to the assertion of a pantheistic worldview with its characteristic concept of the "outflow" of God into the world. As A. P. Glazkov accurately notes: "God in Frank's teaching is organically included in the unity" [13, p. 257], and this is the natural result of independent research of the truth, the maximum to which deep and sincere philosophical reflection based on individual religious experience can lead. But the path of knowledge can be continued further if we accept as indisputable dogmas of the theology of Revelation, which S. L. Frank did not fully do, and as a result he never went beyond the pantheistic thinking. As for V. V. Zenkovsky, he, like svt. Grigory Palama, in his philosophical and theological work, tried to strictly adhere to the Orthodox monotheistic worldview, realizing the task of his whole life the creation of a fundamental work "Fundamentals of Christian Philosophy", unfortunately, not finished (the first volume was published in 1961, the second in 1964, the third volume, anthropological, was never completed written), in which he sought to develop an integral religious and philosophical system, distancing itself from any modifications of pantheism and characterized by modern researchers as "Orthodox universalism" [14, p. 442]. The leitmotif of this work was the assertion of the "basic and central" idea of the creation of the world for Christian metaphysics, according to which "the world has no roots in itself" [15, p. 148].

The main reason identified in the article, why S. L. Frank could not accept the Christian doctrine of God's creation of the world "out of nothing", in our opinion, has a pronounced psychological character. The philosopher, giving a clear preference in religious experience to the personal relationship between God and man, believed that the church authority, if not completely rejects them, then does not pay due attention to them when organizing religious practice. While agreeing that the latter often takes place in church life, it should still be noted that this is not caused by the peculiarities of the Christian doctrine, but by its misinterpretation, since synergy, the interaction of God and man, are fixed in it by dogmatic definitions that unequivocally affirm the possibility of deification of a person, performed not by essence, but by grace. Consequently, S. L. Frank's arguments in favor of the essential "affinity" of God and man lose their credibility, which means that the grounds for a "panentheistic" solution to the problem of the beginning of the world disappear.

1. Zen'kovskij, V. V. (1999). [History of Russian philosophy], vol. 2. Rostov-on-Don: Feniks.
2. Kiseleva, E. S. (2013). European origins of the philosophy of S. L. Frank. Moscow: Rossijskij universitet druzhby narodov.
3. Frank, S. L. (2003). . [Reality and man. Metaphysics of human existence]. S nami Bog: sbornik trudov (pp. 133-438). Moscow: AST.
4. Chernus', V. K. (2020). "Ontologization of consciousness" in the philosophy of S. L. Frank and N. A. Berdyaev. Moscow: Nacional'nyj issledovatel'skij universitet «Vysshaja shkola jekonomiki».
5. Lagunov, A. A. (2018). Philosophical discourse on worldview metamorphoses. Hristianskoe chtenie, 3, 224-235. doi: 10.24411/1814-5574-2018-10069
6. Vyshegorodceva, O. V. (2010). [Pantheism]. Novaja filosofskaja jenciklopedija, 3, 191-192. Moscow: Mysl'.
7. Jelen, P. (2012). . : [Semyon L. Frank: Philosopher of Christian Humanism]. Moscow: Ideja-Press.
8. Frank, S. L. (2003). . [God is with us. Three Reflections]. S nami Bog: sbornik trudov (pp. 439-748). Moscow: AST.
9 [Orthodox Prayer Book and Psalter] (1988). Moscow: Izdanie Moskovskoj Patriarhii.
10. Horuzhij, S. S. (1994). . [After the break. Ways of Russian philosophy]. Saint Petersburg: Aletejja.
11. Palama, Grigorij. - [Triads in Defense of the Sacred Silencers]. Retrieved from https://www.xpa-spb.ru/libr/_Grigorij-Palama/triady-celikom.html
12. Glazkov, A. P. (2009). . . . [The problem of historicity in M. Heidegger and S. L. Frank]. Idejnoe nasledie S. L. Franka v kontekste sovremennoj kul'tury (pp. 248-257). Moscow: BBI.
13. Bondareva, Ja. V. (2011). Russian religious philosophy between transcendentism and pantheism (on the question of the methodological foundations of Russian religious philosophy). Vestnik Moskovskogo gosudarstvennogo oblastnogo universiteta. Serija: Filosofskie nauki, 2, 78-85.
14. Nizhnikov, S. A., & Grebeshev, I. V. (2016). Genesis and development of metaphysical thought in Russia. Moscow: Runivers.
15. Zen'kovskij, V. V. (1997). [Fundamentals of Christian Philosophy]. Moscow: Kanon+.

First Peer Review

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The reviewed article is devoted to the chamber, but very interesting topic of V.V. Zenkovsky's assessment of S.L. Frank's teaching on Creation, as well as his entire religious and philosophical concept. We should immediately note that the title of the article in this regard should be adjusted in accordance with its content, because it is not about comparing two concepts of thinkers on this theological issue, but rather about evaluating the views of one philosopher by another. It seems that an adequate title of the article could look like this: "V.V. Zenkovsky's assessment of S.L. Frank's solution to the problem of Creation." The term "emanation" seems to be inappropriate in the name, since it is unambiguously associated in the history of philosophy with pagan philosophical teachings and is incompatible with Christian creationism. Despite all the confusion in S.L. Frank, which the author of the article also points out, nominally he still remained (at least, he aspired to be) a Christian thinker, although, of course, it is impossible to talk about any faithful reproduction of the Christian dogma about Creation in him. (In this connection, a more general remark should be made regarding the fact that every experience of religious philosophy must be consciously delineated by its author with certain boundaries, and the thinker inevitably falls into heresy if he tries "to the last foundations" with the help of reason as the only instrument of philosophical knowledge to understand those points of theology that the Holy Fathers protected from reflection Having formulated precisely the "dogmas" about them, the unquestionable provisions sanctified by the authority of the Orthodox Church; S.L. Frank did not bind himself with such "conventions", therefore it is unnecessary to raise the question of the "measure of Orthodoxy" of his ideas.) The article as a whole leaves a favorable impression, it gives a definite idea of an important feature of S.L. Frank's concept, and its author shows undoubted erudition in the matter under consideration. At the same time, some paragraphs of the presentation need to be supplemented (which will not be difficult to do, since the total volume of the text is extremely small only 0.35 a.l.), in particular, it is necessary to give the reader clear definitions of the terms "pantheism" and "panentheism", which the author uses (referring, for example, to the encyclopedic dictionary "Religious studies"), to present the context of the emergence of the topic under consideration as precisely the "internal problem" of S.L. Frank's worldview, to formulate a meaningful conclusion of the article, to expand the range of critical literature used (there is also some foreign literature about Frank's philosophical teaching, which the author completely ignored). The reviewed article has good prospects for publication in a scientific journal, however, it should be finalized in accordance with the comments made.

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The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

Review of the article "V. V. Zenkovsky's assessment of S. L. Frank's attitude to the problem of the beginning of the world" In an article submitted to the journal Philosophical Thought, the author aims to analyze V. V. Zenkovsky's position regarding S.L. Frank's philosophical concept, which actually grows into the problem of the Christian interpretation of creation and bordering on pantheism (panentheism) of the ideas of unity. The tasks of the research are not specifically defined by the author, but they can be identified from the proposed structure of the article, so in the work it is proposed to focus on the definition of panentheism as a modification of pantheism, and then move on to the question, which the author designated as "Theosis by essence and by grace." The relevance of the topic has not been indicated by the author at all, therefore, it seems that there is no such introduction in the presented article. It is especially alarming that the author does not show other serious studies on this topic in the water part, although the stated problem has been actively investigated in the national history of philosophy for many decades. The subject of the study, based on the title of the work, refers us to Frank's works and actually to metaphysical issues that reveal ontological problems. The title of the article generally corresponds to the content. The methodology of the research is not specifically indicated by the author, but the text is clearly based on a historical and philosophical analysis. As a positive point, we can note really important issues that the author of the article draws attention to, namely the ontological disputes around the problem of the beginning of the world (which form the basis of the entire philosophical system), shown by the author on the example of different positions of S. L. Frank and V. V. Zenkovsky. The novelty of the study is poorly represented. Controversial points and remarks that I would like to draw the author's attention to: 1. It is not always clear from the text whether the author expresses his thoughts or this interpretation of other authors? Russian Russian religious philosophy. For example, there are statements of this kind: "However, panentheism is essentially only a modification of the pantheistic worldview ..." 2. It is important to note the work of Ya. V. Bondareva "Russian religious philosophy between transcendentism and pantheism (on the question of the methodological foundations of Russian religious philosophy)", to which the author, for some reason, does not refer. Although, in my opinion, it is in this work that the essence of the problem of "creation" or "the beginning of the world" is shown on the basis of detailed historical and philosophical material, the very philosophical dispute that gave rise to the idea of panentheism in Russian philosophy, in its desire to overcome pantheistic motives in the philosophy of unity. The problem, as the author of the article emphasizes, really exists and it has no scholastic solution, since it is important for theism to preserve the possibility of theodicy, and any dissolution of the Divine Absolute and the world (no matter how it is carried out) only leads us away from the main question: "What is a person as a person? Can he find himself in God? The problem of the immanent and the transcendent is essentially a problem of personal freedom! Thus, it is not entirely clear to me why the author of the article does not thoroughly address the topic of freedom, personality and evil? (this is given one sentence in the second part of the article). Could this be due to a reluctance to define your own position? The author only cites Zenkovsky's critical reflection on the ambiguous views of the philosophers of the unity on this issue (in particular, he does this using the example of Frank). Perhaps that's why the conclusion lacks conclusions? This confrontation has a broader scale and is not only related to Frank's personality and ontological constructions, it is a matter of searching for the mystery of human existence, which escapes any logical schemes. Is this the age-old debate about how deterministic our reality is? And what is the point for a person to choose between good and evil? Going into this plane might have made it possible to revive this text and would have allowed the author to make a number of interesting points in his conclusions. The conclusions formulated in the conclusion are quite concise and end with a link, which is not entirely correct with regard to the structure of the scientific article. The nature and style of presentation of the material meet the basic requirements for scientific publications of this kind. The article as a whole is logically structured, structured, stylistically sustained. The necessary links have been made in the text. The bibliography reflects the research material and is designed in accordance with the requirements. The comments made in general do not negate the importance of this work, if only because reflection on Russian philosophy is vital for us today in order not to completely lose the roots of our culture. In my opinion, this topic has good prospects, is relevant and may be of interest to specialists in the field of Russian philosophical and religious thought. As a result, acquaintance with the article left an ambiguous impression, there are many questions that are more of a debatable nature, but in general the work is interesting, written in good scientific language. Thus, the article "V. V. Zenkovsky's assessment of S. L. Frank's attitude to the problem of the beginning of the world", in my opinion, can be recommended for publication, provided that the author supplements the introduction, indicates the purpose, novelty and methodology of the study, and makes a full-fledged conclusion.

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Subject of the research: ideological differences between the Russian philosophers V. V. Zenkovsky and S. L. Frank in understanding the problem of the beginning of the world. The purpose of the article is to clarify the reasons why Zenkovsky criticized S. L. Frank and his concept of panentheism, in which he refused to accept the doctrine of God's creation of the world "out of nothing". The author also finds out whether the arguments given by Frank in favor of the emanation origin of the world are valid. Research methodology the author applies general methods of analysis without formulating any specific methods. Relevance: the chosen problem seems to be rather narrow in the context of historical and philosophical research, more relevant to the theosophical discourse, but it certainly has significance for the study of certain aspects of Russian philosophical thought. Scientific novelty: the author examines the formation of S. Frank's philosophical concept from the point of view of his biography, linking his doctrine with psychological characteristics. Such an approach to identifying the causes of certain philosophical worldview features, in this case, the interpretation of the metaphysics of unity, may be perceived as something new, but the psychoanalytic method could be applied here in this case more consistently. In this case, it is recommended to reflect the methodological perspective of the study in the title or for purposes. The style of presentation corresponds to the required scientific style, the structure of the article is clearly structured, but the volume of the text is not quite sufficient, the content fully corresponds to the title and reflects the stated goals and objectives of the study. The problem that the article is devoted to is fully covered and worked out by the author, but since this is only one aspect in the concept of Frank's unity, therefore, an artificial increase in volume would not contribute to deepening the issue. However, to expand the problem, it would be worthwhile to consider the position of panentheism in the general context of the entire Russian philosophy of unity, correlate it in more detail with the concept of V. Solovyov, for example, thus adding another paragraph. In addition, in the introduction and in conclusion, it is necessary to show the significance of the conclusions obtained for the development of modern philosophical knowledge. Bibliography: the author used 15 sources, among which there are modern articles, but for a small amount of text such a number looks excessive, given the need to cite them. Appeal to opponents: the article considers only one critical position in relation to the Frank-Zenkovsky concept, but there is no general philosophical context. The conclusions are formulated and correspond to the tasks set, but they do not imply an understanding of the overall significance of the research for theory and practice. It is recommended to expand the range of the problem posed by analyzing the overall picture of the development of the philosophy of unity in the national tradition. The article may arouse the interest of the readership studying Russian philosophy. In addition, if we expand the analysis of psychological characteristics, it could arouse the interest of a mass audience.
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