Kantian Journal

2015 Issue №4(54)

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Donelaitis and Kant: to the issue of the hermeneutic of survival in the era of the “mystery of iniquity”



This article analyses the so-called chornosoteriology as viewed by Kristijonas Donelaitis and Kant. Special attention is paid to the differences between the ontological foundations of these soteriologies stemming from differences in the hermeneutic circles. The influence of pietism on the development of the hermeneutic principles is analysed in the works of both authors. An attempt is made at a partial revision of Donetlaitis’s and Kant’s chronosoteriological concepts in the context of modern global threats. Both Donelaitis — rightfully considered the founder of Lithuanian culture — and Kant studied at Albertina: Donelaitis from 1736 and Kant from 1740. This was the era of pietism. However, in Königsberg of the first half of the 18th century, pietism was not determined solely by the dogmatics of orthodox Lutheranism. Adherents of pietism demonstrate soteriological will to improve the world through enlightenment, which contradicts the predestination dogma. This will is found not only in Kant’s philosophical and pedagogical endeavours, but also in Donelaitis’s pedagogy, which deserves serious attention. Despite his deeply pietistic education, Donelaitis expressed keen interest in physicotheology and alternatives to pietism as early as his university years. Donelaitis and Kant never met; they had different worldviews. However, they also had something in common relating to the problem of time. They shared the idea that time is not only a form of material existence connected to space but, primarily, a hermeneutic category. It means that, in its very essence, time is not only objective and absolute, but also relative in a hermeneutic rather than Einstein’s sense — time is a function of understanding. In this respect, Donelaitis’s and Kant’s temporologies are similar in terms of personal responsibility for time, which both authors associate with the possibility of freedom. The ‘mystery of freedom’ is a means to combat the ‘mystery of inequity’.


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