Sacred Stories

Sacred Stories

Religion and Spirituality in Modern Russia
Edited by Mark David Steinberg and Heather Coleman
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/24/2007
Format: Paperback 10 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-21850-6
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Sacred Stories brings together the work of leading scholars writing on the history of religion and religiosity in late imperial Russia during the critical decades preceding the 1917 revolutions. Embodying new research and new methodologies, this book reshapes our understanding of the place of religion in modern Russian history. Topics examined include miraculous icons and healing, pilgrim narratives, confessions, women and Orthodox domesticity, marriage and divorce, conversion and tolerance, Jewish folk beliefs, mysticism in Russian art, and philosophical aspects of Orthodox religious thought. Sacred Stories demonstrates that belief, spirituality, and the sacred were powerful and complex cultural expressions central to Russian political, social, economic, and cultural life.

Contributors are Nicholas B. Breyfogle, Heather J. Coleman, Gregory L. Freeze, Nadieszda Kizenko, Alexei A. Kurbanovsky, Roy R. Robson, Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, Gabriella Safran, Vera Shevzov, Sarah Abrevaya Stein, Mark Steinberg, Paul Valliere, William G. Wagner, Paul W. Werth, and Christine D. Worobec.

Author Bio

Mark D. Steinberg is Professor of History at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His books include The Fall of the Romanovs; Voices of Revolution, 1917; and Proletarian Imagination: History, Religion, and the Sacred in Russia.

Heather J. Coleman is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Imperial Russian History in the Department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta. She is author of Russian Baptists and Spiritual Revolution, 1905–1929 (IUP, 2005).


“Embodying new research and new methodologies, Sacred Stories reshapes our understanding of the place of religion in modern Russian history. ”

“. . . certainly recommended for any combination of curious philosopher, cross-disciplinary psychologist, radical feminist, and communication theorist among us.November 6, 2008”
 — Brittany Shoot, Feminist Review

“. . . an important contribution to the history of, mainly, Orthodox popular religiosity and Orthodox Christian spirituality of modern Russian and Ukraine.Vol. 81.1, March 2009”
 — Martin A. Miller, Duke University

“In summary, this is an excellent collection of illuminating essays by noted scholars in their fields, finely written and thoughtfully conceived, which should be read by anyone interested in religious life in late imperial Russia.Vol. 53.3 Fall 2009”
 — Michael Pesenson, University of Texas, Austin

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Rethinking Religion in Modern Russian Culture Mark D. Steinberg and Heather J. Coleman
1. Miraculous Healings Christine D. Worobec
2. Transforming Solovki: Pilgrim Narratives, Modernization, and Late Imperial Monastic Life Roy R. Robson
3. Scripting the Gaze: Liturgy, Homilies, and the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in Late Imperial Russia Vera Shevzov
4. Written Confessions and the Construction of Sacred Narrative Nadieszda Kizenko
5. "Orthodox Domesticity": Creating a Social Role for Women William G. Wagner
6. Profane Narratives about a Holy Sacrament: Marriage and Divorce in Late Imperial Russia Gregory L. Freeze
7. Arbiters of the Free Conscience: State, Religion, and the Problem of Confessional Transfer after 1905 Paul W. Werth
8. Tales of Violence against Religious Dissidents in the Orthodox Village Heather J. Coleman
9. Prayer and the Politics of Place: Molokan Church Building, Tsarist Law, and the Quest for a Public Sphere in Late Imperial Russia Nicholas B. Breyfogle
10. Divining the Secular in the Yiddish Popular Press Sarah Abrevaya Stein
11. Revolutionary Rabbis: Hasidic Legend and the Hero of Words Gabriella Safran
12. "A Path of Thorns": The Spiritual Wounds and Wandering of Worker-Poets Mark D. Steinberg
13. A New Spirituality: The Confluence of Nietzsche and Orthodoxy in Russian Religious Thought Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal
14. Malevich's Mystic Signs: From Iconoclasm to New Theology Alexei Kurbanovsky
15. The Theology of Culture in Late Imperial Russia Paul Valliere

Further Reading
List of Contributors