There are very few published works from Sergius Bulgakov that achieve the eloquent mastery of Jacob's Ladder. Originally published in 1929, Jacob's Ladder discusses the doctrine of angels and their importance for contemporary humanity. Furthermore, Bulgakov reflects upon the meaning of love, the sexes, death, and the Christian hope of resurrection, while meditating on the Wisdom of God in the creation.
Few of Sergius Bulgakovs professional writings achieve the lyrical heights of Jacobs Ladder. In it he discusses the doctrine of angels and their importance for contemporary humanity. He includes reflections on the meaning of love, the sexes, death, and the Christian hope of resurrection, meditating on the Wisdom of God in the creation.
This work completes the word picture of divinized and Sophianic creation begun in The Burning Bush and The Friend of the Bridegroom, which together constitute what scholars call Bulgakovs major, or first, trilogy.
Sergius Bulgakov (1871-1944) is widely regarded as the twentieth century's leading Orthodox theologian.
Thomas Allan Smith is associate professor of the history and theology of Eastern Christianity at the University of St. Michaels College, Toronto.
"Written by Bulgakov after a near-death encounter with an angelic being who led him back to life, Jacob's Ladder possesses a mystical intensity almost beyond words. Using doctrinal, scriptural, liturgical, iconographic, and personal experiential data, Bulgakov provides a theological interpretation of the doctrine of angels. Its lyrical beauty and its profound speculative reflections make this book very difficult to translate, but Thomas Allan Smith has more than met the challenge, offering English-speaking readers what is undoubtedly the greatest work of angelology in the modern Orthodox literature."
"Bulgakov masterfully intertwines the multistranded Christian tradition into not simply a tract on angels but, more importantly, a profound and beautiful rhapsody on divine love as manifested in both the angelic and the human realm. This is not a simple book about angels but, rather, a radiant and hope-filled symphony beginning with words of love -- 'God-Love created human beings for love' -- and culminating in joy: 'How great is the joy bestowed on humankind knowing this!' No small recognition is owed Thomas Allan Smith for working a difficult Russian text into a flowing and enjoyably readable English translation."