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Enemies from the East?

V. S. Soloviev on Paganism, Asian Civilizations, and Islam

Wozniuk, Vladimir

Publication Year: 2007

As cultural conflicts roil the world, the idea of a “clash of civilizations” has lately taken hold, with commentators from both East and West weighing the religious and political disparities that affect global unity. For all its present currency and urgency, the idea is nothing new.  In various contexts V. S. Soloviev (1853–1900), the most distinguished representative of nineteenth century Russian religious philosophy, anticipated our current global dilemma by more than a hundred years. These essays, presented together for the first time in English, consider from a number of perspectives how a future clash of cultures between East and West threatens human progress toward the harmonic unity that, for Soloviev, represented the ultimate human telos.

Published by: Northwestern University Press

Series: Studies in Russian Literature and Theory

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pp. vii

I accomplished much of the work on this project while in residence as a research fellow at the Yale University Divinity School and as an associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. The resources of both institutions proved invaluable in many ways, and it is difficult to imagine completing the volume without these affiliations or the ...

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Editor's Introduction: When East Meets West

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pp. ix-xx

Writing in the journal Foreign Affairs in the last decade of the twentieth century, the American scholar Samuel Huntington cautioned against overly optimistic assessments of globalization’s progress, asserting in his now famous article “The Clash of Civilizations” that the political and cultural distinctions appearing most prominently at a number of “fault lines” between historical Western, Middle Eastern, African, and Sinic civilizations ...

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The Mythological Process in Ancient Paganism

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pp. 3-23

A MOST IMPORTANT TASK of historical study consists in the explanation of humanity’s primitive pagan life, which constitutes the material basis of all later development, and since this life was wholly determined by one principle—religious belief—then its understanding, the understanding of paganism, is fully conditional on an understanding of pagan religion. In fact, the multiplicity of principles that define life as we see it in our time is a comparatively recent phenomenon. ...

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Three Forces

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pp. 24-33

THREE FUNDAMENTAL FORCES have governed human development from the beginning of history. The first strives to subject humanity in all spheres and at all points of its life to a single supreme principle; in its exclusive unity it strives to lump together and merge all the diversity of individual forms, to suppress the independence of the individual, the freedom of individual life. The final realization of this force is—a single master and a dead mass of slaves. If it obtained exclusive predominance, ...

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China and Europe

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pp. 34-79

AT THE TIME THAT the hundredth anniversary of the “Great Revolution” was being celebrated so magnificently and with so much ado in Paris, a little-noticed event took place at the other end of the Old World, but one that in its consequences was no less important than the convocation of the Estates-General by Louis XVI. The Chinese government resolutely decided to acquire for its country the material instruments of European civilization. ...

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Japan: A Historical Sketch

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pp. 80-96

APART FROM THE INTEREST that Japan can present in and of itself, there are also important indications in its people’s fortunes for an overall look at universal history. If the opinion of Heinrich Ruckert (who has become so popular among us today) regarding a completely independent native development of particular cultures can be cited in favor of China, the historical formation of which apparently corresponds to such an opinion, then an attempt to elevate this single instance to a universal ...

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Primitive Paganism: Its Living and Dead Remnants

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pp. 97-145

IN CONTEMPORARY SCHOLARSHIP, the general question about the origin and the primary character of pagan religions is reduced to a dispute between two mythological theories: animism and naturism.* In accordance with the first of them (its major representatives being Herbert Spencer and Tylor), religion came out of dreams.1 Awakening from sleep, the primitive remembers that he saw himself in action in a different place, that ...

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Muhammad: His Life and Religious Teaching

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pp. 146-211

The year 570 a.d. was equally ominous for the two rulers who, in irreconcilable enmity amongst themselves, had partitioned the historical world of that time. The “autocrat of the Greek-Romans,” Justin II in Byzantium, and the [Persian] “king of kings,” Khosrow [I] Anushirvan in Ctesiphon, both received a harsh rebuke but in different forms. ...

Appendix: List of Relevant Writings by Soloviev

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pp. 213

Editor's Notes

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pp. 215-221

General Index

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pp. 223-225

Index of Biblical References

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pp. 227

E-ISBN-13: 9780810165922
Print-ISBN-13: 9780810124172

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: 1
Series Title: Studies in Russian Literature and Theory