Like his mentor Pavel Florensky, Bulgakov's grammar moves in graceful -- though complex -- circles, forever turning Back on itself as he discusses the doctrine of the Holy Spirit: ''The creature beseeches in the extremity of sorrow; its yearning is unbearable. The Comforter is near; He is in the world, but not with the world -- within us but not with usaHe is unceasingly accessible and clearly known in His breath, in His mysterious presence.'' The Comforter
is the middle volume of Sergius Bulgakov's trilogy -- On Divine Humanity
-- an historical, theological and philosophical treatment of the Trinity's most elusive person. Bulgakov's concepts of Divine-humanity and Sophia are not as explicitly developed here as they are in his other two volumes, The Lamb of God
and The Bride of the Lamb
, though they implicitly inform his pneumatological thought throughout. Beginning with an historical survey of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in Patristic literature (including Tertullian, Athanasius, the Arians, Origen, the Cappadocians, Augustine and John of Damascus), Bulgakov discusses the Holy Spirit's hypostasis in the Holy Trinity, its presence in both the Old and New Testaments, its progression as affirmed and disputed in the Filioque
controversy, its divine and creaturely natures, and its revelation by inspiration in Christ and the Pentecost. As the centuries testify, the Holy Spirit is the most difficult of doctrines to formulate. Bulgakov may illuminate it best by reminding us the Spirit is essentially a person to whom ''all things turn that need sanctificationaHe is the giver of life'' (St. Basil the Great). 398 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
Sergius Bulgakov is widely considered to be the twentieth century's foremost Orthodox theologian, and his book The Comforter is an utterly comprehensive and profound study of the Holy Spirit.Encyclopedic in scope, The Comforter explores all aspects of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, as they are viewed in the Orthodox tradition and throughout church history. The book has sections on the development of the doctrine of the Spirit in early Christianity and on the development of the doctrine of procession in the patristic and later Byzantine periods. It also touches on the place of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity and explores Old and New Testament notions of the Spirit of God. A concluding chapter deals with the mystical revelation of the Holy Spirit. Made available in English through the work of Boris Jakim, today's premier translator of Russian theology and philosophy into English, Bulgakov's Comforter in this edition is a major publishing event.