Common Ideals Shared by Eastern Orthodoxy and Erich Fromm’s Humanism

Diana Prokofyeva


There are shared humanistic tendencies in Erich Fromm’s views and the ideas of Eastern Orthodoxy. The comparative method of this paper focuses on similarities between Fromm’s humanistic psychoanalysis and Orthodox Christianity, while noting differences between them. In his works Fromm mentioned religious approaches, but he mostly referred to Protestantism (as a development from teachings of Martin Luther and John Calvin) and more rarely to Catholicism. Both streams have differences with Eastern Orthodoxy which is traditional for Russia. The individualism common to the western protestant model is contrasted with the community spirit, which is common to Russian culture and to the view of life of Russian Orthodoxy in particular. First, Fromm wrote about overcoming negative modes of life (such as estrangement or alienation) inherent to the first model, through adopting the second model. Second, humanistic views should be marked in ideas of Erich Fromm and Eastern Orthodoxy. The ideas of Erich Fromm and Eastern Orthodoxy are both based on a perception of a human being as a distinct whole personality, who should perceive as basic the values of self-development, love, creative self-realization, freedom, and responsibility. Also, free and whole personality cannot be formed without being a part of community of other persons, which is a very important point for both.


Erich Fromm, Eastern Orthodoxy, Humanism, Alienation, Estrangement, Personalism.

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