The “Other” and the “Other”: Christian Origins of Bakhtin’s Dialogism
AbstractOne of the main contributors to the idea of sharing and the creator of the idea of dialogism as a counterweight to monologism has been Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin, the well-known Russian 20th-century theorist. Using the concepts of “I and thou” developed by his predecessors, most notably Martin Buber and Hermann Cohen, he fought against the hegemonic consciousness of his day and age, and established the imperative of dialogue between generations, interlocutors and ideas. This paper takes a look at the Christian aspect of the theory of dialogism, increasingly popular in contemporary Western thought. It opens up with Bakhtin’s relationship with Christian thought and discourse, and then analyses the concepts of perichoresis, embodiment and the word (logos). The work then focuses on the particular Orthodox strain in Bakhtin’s idea of dialogism, the sanctity of the human body, the phenomenon of Fool-for-Christ, and Russian (and Eastern) communality, or sobornost’.
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