Zenkovsky, Vasilii

Zenkovsky, Vasilii [Зеньковский, Василий; Zen'kovskij, Vasilij], b 16 July 1881 in Proskuriv, Podilia gubernia, d 5 August 1962 in Paris. Russian philosopher and theologian of Ukrainian descent. After graduating from Kyiv University (MA, 1912) he taught philosophy there (1912–19) and directed the Institute for Preschool Education. In the 1918 Hetman government he served as minister of religious affairs in Fedir Lyzohub’s cabinet. A White émigré from 1920, he lived in Belgrade (to 1923); in Prague, where he founded the Russian Pedagogical Institute; and in Paris, where he served as a professor and dean at the Russian Theological Institute. Suspected of pro-German sympathies, in 1939–40 he was imprisoned in a French concentration camp. In 1942 he was ordained an Orthodox priest. Early in his career he wrote on the mind-body problem and defended the theory of interactionism. In the interwar period he contributed to the Russian émigré press and published several monographs in educational psychology. His chief contribution lies in his studies in the history of Russian philosophy, which encompassed many Ukrainian thinkers: Istoriia russkoi filosofii (A History of Russian Philosophy, 2 vols, 1948, 1950; English trans 1953), Russkie mysliteli i Evropa (Russian Thinkers and Europe, 1926; 2nd edn 1955; English trans 1953), and Aus der Geschichte der ästhetischen Ideen in Russland im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (1958). He also wrote a book on Nikolai Gogol (1961).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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