Articles

“VseiaSvetnaia Gramota”: Kabbalistic Hermeneutics and Utopian Comparative Studies

The post-Soviet cultural landscape is characterized by the popularity of nationalistic ideas and narratives, which apply conspiratorial explanatory models and suggest various versions of “alternative history.” This is framed, in particular, with amateur concepts of language — a sort of cryptolinguistics. This type of cryptolinguistic discourse is illustrated in this article with the case of the so-called VseiaSvetnaia Gramota (the“WorldWide Charter”), which teaches that an esoteric Slavic alphabet “encodes” the entire universe.

“Vocation in the Flesh”: Gender and Embodiment in the Religious Anthropology of Modern Catholicism

In the early and medieval Christian tradition, the gendered body was understood as an obstacle to the cultivation of virtues on the one hand, and as a potential medium for transgressions on the other. Contemporary Catholic anthropology has another view of the subject’s body and its senses and desires. This article is concerned with the pastoral project of increasing vocations and the way it is realized within Russian Catholic parishes. It also focuses on its rhetoric, placing significant emphasis on gendered embodiment.

Humility in the Economic Ethics of the Russian Orthodox Church

Using a number of concepts from Weber’s sociology of religion (economic ethics/ethos, typology of asceticism/mysticism, Weber’s reception of Nietzsche’s idea of ressentiment), the author addresses the economic ethos of  contemporary Russian Orthodoxy. An analysis of “humility” (smirenie) — one of the key virtues of the contemporary economic ethics of the Russian Orthodox Church — is provided. The author builds a typology of various understandings of humility in Russian Orthodoxy today in connection with the economic practices of Orthodox actors.

Russian «New Theology» in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century: On the Question of the Genesis and Content of the Concept

In this article I consider the genesis and the substantial characteristics of the concept of «New Theology», which has become a commonplace in the Russian theological tradition since the end of the 19th century. Initially this term was applied to lay theologians — particularly, to Khomiakov — but afterward was applied to academic scholars as well, such as metropolitan Antony Khrapovitsky, V.I. Nesmelov, et al.

D.A. Chwolson as an Expert Witness and Student of Abraham Geiger: Three Chapters from a Scholarly Biography

This article is based on unpublished sources from St. Petersburg archives (the Manuscript Department of the Russian National Library, the St. Petersburg Branch of the Archive of the Russian Academy, and the Russian State Historical Archive). It explores the forms and methods of Daniel Chwolson’s (1819–1911) work on academic protection for the Jewish minority. Apart from his well‑known effort to refute blood libel accusations that spanned five decades (1861–1911), Chwolson’s activities on behalf of Jews included less obvious projects and approaches.

Can Religious States and Representations Be Religious and Secular? A Critique of the Psychology of Religion

Since the 1990s, there has been an ongoing discussion in religious studies about the uses of the terms «secular» and «religious». This article applies the methodology of the critical study of religion within the psychology of religion. There are two main strategies to construct a research program in this field: (1) studying how religious senses occur (neurotheology, transpersonal psychology) and (2) studying how religious representations emerge (cognitive religious studies). This paper provides an overview of these two paradigms through the lens of the religious/secular dichotomy.

Whether and How Ecumenism, Anti-Ecumenism, and Conservative Ecumenism Are Politically or Theologically Motivated: A View from the United States

This article discusses the phenomena of ecumenism, anti-ecumenism, and conservative ecumenism. The author sets two goals. The first is to identify the theological foundations of ecumenism and anti-ecumenism, and also to analyze conservative ecumenism in this research perspective. The second is to identify the political component of these phenomena. The author analyzes and criticizes the concept of «ecumenical consciousness» proposed by Andrey Shishkov. He gives his own definition of ecumenism, which includes the hope for the restoration of Christian unity as a fundamental component.

Discussing the Concept of Conservative Ecumenism

This article continues the discussion of the concept of conservative ecumenism proposed by the author in 2017 to describe conservative Christian alliances in defense of traditional values. Debates have mainly revolved around the use of the term «ecumenism» in the case of such alliances. This article proposes what the author calls «ecumenical consciousness» as the minimal criteria for being «ecumenical.» It also considers the question of whether striving for Christian unity is a necessary criterion of ecumenism.

Teaching “The Foundations of Orthodox Culture” in Schools of the Tambov Region: Achievements and Problems

This paper analyzes the conceptual bases for introducing and implementing the course “Foundations of World Religious Cultures and Secular Ethics” in public schools of the Tambov region. It draws upon official data presented by the diocesan administration and the regional department of education. The article also presents the results of independent monitoring of the introduction and teaching of “The Foundations of Orthodox Culture” in the Tambov regional schools that was carried out by the staff of the Center for Religious Studies of Tambov State University.

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