Slavophile religious thought and the dilemma of Russian modernity, 1830–1860*: Patrick Lally Michelson

Modern Intellectual History 7 (2):239-267 (2010)
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Russian public opinion in the first half of the nineteenth century was buffeted by a complex of cultural, psychological, and historiosophical dilemmas that destabilized many conventions about Russia's place in universal history. This article examines one response to these dilemmas: the Slavophile reconfiguration of Eastern Christianity as a modern religion of theocentric freedom and moral progress. Drawing upon methods of contextual analysis, the article challenges the usual scholarly treatment of Slavophile religious thought as a vehicle to address extrahistorical concerns by placing the writings of A. S. Khomiakov and I. V. Kireevskii in the discursive and ideological framework in which they originated and operated. As such, the article considers the atheistic revolution in consciousness advocated by Russian Hegelians, the Schellingian proposition that human freedom and moral advancement were dependent upon the living God, P. Ia. Chaadaev's contention that a people's religious orientation determined its historical potential, and the Slavophile appropriation of Russia's dominant confession to resolve the problem of having attained historical consciousness in an age of historical stasis.



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