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Acknowledgments The impetus behind this project emerged from conversations I had with a former Catholic priest about the relationship between the quest for the historical Jesus and the Christ of faith in Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel, The Master and Margarita, which I was teaching for the first time in my Soviet literature class. Though the historical critical method of biblical scholarship and aspects of Western and Eastern Christology occupied many of our conversations, our dialogue began with one of the first questions Woland asks his two atheist interlocutors on that park bench at Patriarch’s Ponds: the question about the five proofs of God.Curiously,neither of the two most recent and well-regarded translations of the novel had any annotations explaining what these proofs were, though presumably many readers might not know who authored them or be able to recall them. My interlocutor could, and without any prompting elaborated on them at length. That priest was my stepfather, and in listening to him recount Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways and in talking with him about what Bulgakov was up to having the devil not only insist on God’s existence but that of Jesus as well, I realized I had found an endlessly fascinating subject. Calvin Schwenk, a priest forever in the line of Melchizedek, is thus this study’s most important inspiration and guiding light, though he did not live to see its completion. I offer this book in his memory and that of my mother. I have many other debts to acknowledge,large and small.My colleague,Anna Maslennikova, formerly of Saint Petersburg State University, carefully read every page of my manuscript and offered innumerable insights and suggestions as well as constant support throughout the writing process. Her comments and those of my anonymous readers were crucial in honing my arguments and saving me from missteps and I thank them all for their valuable critical interventions . Other important readers of this manuscript include Gary Saul Morson and Kathleen Parthé, who provided many helpful and insightful comments at different stages of writing and revision. My book is better for the contributions of all of these thoughtful commentators, though any mistakes that persist are strictly my own responsibility. A cknowledgments x All of the case studies in my book were presented in one form or another at annual meetings of the Midwest Slavic Conference or the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and I thank those organizations for providing such stimulating environments for the airing of scholarly ideas. I thank as well everyone at these conferences who engaged with my ideas and helped me develop them. An early and fruitful forum for my work in this area was a one-day symposium at the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester on the authority of the image in Russian and Soviet culture in November 2008. I thank Marlene Hamann-Whitmore, McPherson Director of Academic Programs, and Nancy Norwood, curator of European art, for inviting me to participate. My former PhD student and present colleague in the field, Elena Rakhimova-Sommers of the Rochester Institute of Technology, also organized a one-day symposium on Russian culture where I presented on portions of my book in April 2013 in the most supportive and convivial of academic settings, and I thank her as well. My thanks also to Peter Lennie,dean of faculty at the University of Rochester, who supported a leave request in the spring of 2009 that got the book off to a good start, and to my research assistant, Katharina Schander, for her thorough and professional help in my final year of work on the manuscript. My literature students at UR, especially those in my image of Christ class, were generous interlocutors on many of the questions I treat in this book and I am grateful for their enthusiasm and interest. One of these students in particular, Meaghan DeWaters, deserves special mention. Meaghan wrote an impressive 187-page honors thesis in 2011 on“the pathological believer” in Dostoevsky’s fiction. Her interestintherelationshipbetweenillnessandapophaticisminthewriter’smetaphysical inquiries was the basis for a fruitful dialogue between us on the riches of the apophatic approach to spirituality, a key element in my own approach to my subject. Ryan Prendergast in my home department at the University of Rochester and Michael Ruhling at the Rochester Institute of Technology provided both support and intellectual dialogue throughout the writing process and I thank them for their insights, collegiality and friendship. At Northern Illinois University...


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