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Afanasii Nikitin: An Orthodox Russian's Spiritual Voyage in the Dar al-Islam, 1468-1475

From: Journal of World History
Volume 17, Number 3, September 2006
pp. 243-266 | 10.1353/jwh.2006.0049


Recent scholarship on premodern religious conversion emphasizes the political, social, and economic incentives for the mass conversion of whole societies. Such investigations tend to neglect individual accounts that typically offer a personal and spiritual explanation for conversion. The travel account of Afanasii Nikitin, a Russian merchant who ventured through Persia and India from 1468 to 1475, presents an opportunity to examine the spiritual considerations that influenced one individual's experience. Nikitin's narrative is significant because it brings focus to secular and spiritual motivations for conversion.