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The Individual in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition / L'Individu dans la tradition orthodoxe orientale

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  • Buss Andreas. The Individual in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition / L'Individu dans la tradition orthodoxe orientale. In: Archives de sciences sociales des religions, n°91, 1995. pp. 41-65.

    DOI : https://doi.org/10.3406/assr.1995.994

    www.persee.fr/doc/assr_0335-5985_1995_num_91_1_994

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    Arch de Sc soc des Rel. 1995 97 juillet-septembre 41-65 Andreas BUSS THE INDIVIDUAL IN THE EASTERN ORTHODOX TRADITION

    Introduction

    Among the characteristics of modernity individualism surely stands out as one of the most fundamental Scholars have described its rise in the modern Occident and even its transplantation to the other great civilizations of the world as the characteristic feature of modern development They have also speculated about its origin and have found it sometimes in the Renaissance as did Burckhardt sometimes in the rise of the merchant class or the modern city Others again believe that individualism is in one way or another deeply entwined with the classical tradition of ancient Greece as well as with the Judéo-Christian heritage and that perhaps the history of the Occident may be interpreted as its gradual disentanglement and coming to prominence Certainly there are those with nominalistic or empiricist scientific out look for whom individuals and individualism exist everywhere in all cultures and at all times They do not distinguish analytically the empirical human being the individual sample of mankind which is indeed found in all cultures and societies from the independent and autonomous individual to whom paramount value is attached in modern society because of its individualistic ideology Louis Dumont has insisted on this distinction and this led him to oppose two kinds of societies where the individual is autonomous and paramount value he spoke of individualism in the opposite case where the society as whole is the paramount value and englobes the empirical in dividuals or particular human beings he spoke of holism 1) Dumont has also suggested that in the search for the origins of modern individualism one should follow Max example and attach prominence to religion With this in mind he has advanced the thesis that in early Chris tianity the individual as value was conceived as apart from the given social and political organization outside and beyond it an outworldly individual as opposed to the inworldly individual in modern society In traditional holistic societies as for instance also in the Indian instance where the individual as value developed only outside of the hierarchical caste system among the renouncers samnyasin and in the sects Dumont has argued the individual 41

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