A Revolution of the Spirit: Crisis of Value in Russia, by Bernice Glatzer-Rosenthal, Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak

By Bernice Glatzer-Rosenthal, Martha Bohachevsky-Chomiak

The non secular revival that's sweeping the Soviet Union this day had its genesis within the non secular renaissance of the early twentieth century. In either situations, it used to be lay intellectuals, disillusioned with simplistic positivism and materialism, who tailored Russian orthodoxy to trendy existence. Their principles reverberated, not just in faith and philosophy, yet in artwork, literature, portray, theater and picture. Banned via the Soviet executive in 1922, the writings of the spiritual renaissance have been rediscovered within the Brezhnev period through a brand new new release of Soviet intellectuals dissatisfied with Marxism. Circulating from hand handy in unlawful typewritten variations (samizdat), they exerted an evergrowing impression on Soviet society, from the very most sensible all the way down to usual humans. below the recent coverage of glasnost, the govt. itself is presently reprinting their works. the decisions incorporated during this quantity mirror the profundity and breadth in their idea and are provided in English for the 1st time. the popularity of the common want and importance of religious values and beliefs united this another way heterogeneous crew and bears witness to the variety in their method of the elemental problems with the human situation. The centrality of those lay intellectuals' issues transcends the specifics of the historic state of affairs in early twentieth century Russia and makes their writings suitable to the common human situation. so as of visual appeal, the choices are: VLADIMIR SOLOVYOV, The Enemy from the East, The Russian nationwide perfect; NIKOLAI GROT, at the actual projects of Philosophy; SERGEI DIAGHILEV, advanced Questions; VASILLY V. ROZANOV, On Sweetest Jesus and the sour culmination of the realm; NIKOLAI BERDIAEV, Socialism as faith; SERGEI BULGAKOV, An pressing job; VIACHISLAV IVANOV, problem of Individualism, GEORGII CHULKOV, On Mystical Anarchism; DMITRI S. MEREZHKOVSKY, Revolution and faith, The Jewish query As a Russian query; GEORGII FLOROVSKY, on the planet of Quests and Wanderings; PAVEL NOVGORODTSEV, The Essence of the Russian Orthodox cognizance; PETR STRUVE, The Intelligentsia and the nationwide Face; ANDREI BELY, Revolution and tradition; ALEKSANDR BLOK, Catiline; EVGENY TRUBETSKOI, The Bolshevist Utopia and the non secular flow.

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This ostensibly rational stance was combined with a quasi-religious maximalism and a sense of urgency that became the hallmarks of the Russian intelligentsia. This is not the place to discuss the turbulent role of the university and its students in the development of public opinion in the Russian Empire, but it is important to emphasize that Russian universities were not ivory towers. Political considerations often influenced a student's choice of courses. Study of the natural sciences, for example, could signal a student's preference for a scientific/materialistic rather than Christian world view, while enrollment in chemistry courses could be motivated by a desire to learn how to make bombs!

New studies of Tolstoi, Gogol, and even Chernyshevsky have disclosed the religious underpinnings of their respective world views. A decade ago this book of readings focused on writers and issues that were considered marginal to the course of development of Russian history. Today we see that many of the ideas articulated by these writers and philosophers had a direct bearing on the disillusionment with positivism and Marxism that is a major characteristic of contemporary Russia. Our heresy has become accepted dogma.

Disillusion with the results of the Revolution of 1905 rendered political activists more receptive to existential and philosophical questions as, after 1907, economic growth opened new career possibilities for educated youth. A new middle class developed that was appreciative of art and culture and affected by a new sensibility and a new consciousness of self. At the same time, otherworldly symbolist writers acknowledged the need to feed the hungry, to shape political and social trends, to end their withdrawal from society and try to reach the people.

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