Thinking Orthodox in Modern Russia
Culture, History, Context
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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The idea for this volume arose during a conversation between the two editors, one of whom was looking toward the end of her career, the other just beginning his. Both had wondered independently what had become—nearly two decades hence—of the ambition to found a new field of study within the American academy as stated in the landmark volume...
Patrick Lally Michelson, Judith Deutsch Kornblatt
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It would be of little exaggeration to say that much of Russian discourse in the imperial and early émigré periods (circa 1721–1927) was informed by the lexicon, liturgy, and theology of Russian Orthodoxy. The Church’s extensive educational system, whatever its many failings, trained thousands of clergy and hundreds of theologians who spoke to the faithful in various Russian Orthodox...
Part I: Thinking Orthodox in the Church
1. Orthodoxy and Enlightenment in Catherinian Russia: The Tsarevich Dimitrii Sermons of Metropolitan Platon
Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter
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The reforms of Tsar Peter I (ruled 1682/1689–1725) marked the onset not only of modern Russian history but also of the modern history of the Russian Church. Already in the late seventeenth century, and with greater intensity in the early eighteenth, Russia began to confront the challenge and allure of European civilization. Through a series of social, institutional, and cultural reforms, Peter...
2. Theology on the Ground: Dmitrii Bogoliubov, the Orthodox Anti-Sectarian Mission, and the Russian Soul
Heather J. Coleman
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In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, no one would have thought of the Russian Orthodox Church’s “internal” mission as a site for “religious thought.” Certainly, missionaries would seem by nature unlikely to be theologically adventurous types. This was particularly the case for members of the Church’s internal mission, whose task was defined not so much in terms of...
3. Archbishop Nikon (Rozhdestvenskii) and Pavel Florenskii on Spiritual Experience, Theology, and the Name-Glorifiers Dispute
Scott M. Kenworthy
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A favorite maxim for modern Orthodox theologians is the statement by Evagrius Ponticus that “[i]f you are a theologian, you will pray truly; if you pray truly, you will be a theologian.”1 This statement is frequently appealed to by such theologians to claim that Orthodox theology is rooted in direct personal experience of God, which they contrast to Western theology as primarily an...
Part II: Thinking Orthodox in the Academy
4. V. D. Kudriavtsev-Platonov and the Making of Russian Orthodox Theism
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With the exception of Metropolitan Filaret (Drozdov) (1782–1867), perhaps no churchman’s career shaped Russian Orthodox institutions and thought more than that of Viktor Dmitrievich Kudriavtsev-Platonov (1828–91) (hereafter Kudriavtsev). The son of a regimental priest, Viktor Dmitrievich led an itinerant early life. He was born in the province of Pskov and was educated in various...
5. The Struggle for the Sacred: Russian Orthodox Thinking about Miracles in a Modern Age
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In 1912, a group of parishioners from the church of Saint Nicholas in the Siberian diocese of Eniseisk embarked on a year-long campaign against local diocesan and central Church authorities in Saint Petersburg to prevent the removal of an icon of the Mother of God named “The Joy of All Who Sorrow” from their parish church. That year, a young peasant girl and her uncle had found...
6. “The Light of the Truth": Russia’s Two Enlightenments, with Reference to Pavel Florenskii
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The essays in this collection bear witness to a fundamental tension within Russian Orthodoxy of the modern period. Indeed this tension arises from Russia’s engagement with modernity from the late seventeenth century onward, and is fundamentally about Orthodoxy’s response to modernity. In the broadest terms it can be characterized as the tension between reason and faith, but this alone...
Part III: Thinking Orthodox in Society and Culture
7. Written Confession and Religious Thought in Early Nineteenth-Century Russia
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The development of written confession in Russia breaks down a number of conventions. The boundaries between speaking and writing, reading and listening, theology and devotion, autobiography and literature, absolver and penitent, rarely seem as porous as they do in the written exchanges between elite Russian women and their confessors from the mid-1820s to the mid-1850s. These texts...
8. Anagogical Exegesis: The Theological Roots of Russian Hermeneutics
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This chapter examines the conceptual and emotional apparatus with which Russians approached the reading of texts during an era in which a secular literary culture began to challenge the dominance of religiously enculturated interpretative paradigms. It looks, firstly, at the interpretation of Holy Scripture in the school of Metropolitan Platon (Levshin, 1737–1812) and, secondly, at...
9. Kant and the Kingdom of Ends in Russian Religious Thought (Vladimir Solov’ev)
Randall A. Poole
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Perhaps more than most of the world’s great religious philosophers, Vladimir Solov’ev was concerned to reconcile faith and reason. As he put it in one of his better-known statements, his aim was “to justify the faith of our fathers by raising it to a new level of rational consciousness.”1 His first major effort to construct a synthesis of faith and reason was...
10. Religious Thought and Russian Liberal Institutions: The Case of Pavel Novgorodtsev
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In imperial Russia, liberal preoccupations and Orthodox faith did not cluster naturally together. What Paul Valliere has called “the culture of wholeness” associated with the Orthodox Christian concern for moral unity within society, and individual self-realization within a community of believers, was often in direct tension with certain liberal predispositions toward the...
11. What Is Beauty? Pasternak’s Adaptations of Russian Religious Thought
Martha M. F. Kelly
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In a central scene in Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago (Doktor Zhivago, 1956), we witness through the eyes of the eponymous protagonist a folk healer healing a sick cow named “Beauty” (Krasava). Zhivago is surprised to find himself captivated by the “nonsensical” spell the healer Kubarikha improvises from ancient chronicles, “transformed through layer upon layer of distortion into apocrypha.” Despite...
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The scholarly study of Russian religious thought did not begin in the Englishspeaking world before the middle of the twentieth century. If a starting point is wanted, the best choice would be the publication of George L. Kline’s translation of V. V. Zen’kovskii’s History of Russian Philosophy, which appeared in 1953.1 Although the title makes no reference to...
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Ruth Coates is a senior lecturer in Russian studies at the University of Bristol, UK. She is the author of Christianity in Bakhtin: God and the Exiled Author (1998), as well as numerous articles on the Russian intellectual tradition, and is coeditor of Landmarks Revisited: The Vekhi Symposium 100 Years On (2013). She is currently working on the reception of the doctrine of deification...
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Page Count: 300
Publication Year: 2014