By Victoria Frede
The autocratic rule of either tsar and church in imperial Russia gave upward thrust not just to a innovative move within the 19th century but in addition to a concern of which means between participants of the intelligentsia. own religion turned the topic of extreme scrutiny as members debated the lifestyles of God and the immortality of the soul, debates mirrored within the best-known novels of the day. Friendships have been shaped and damaged in exchanges over the prestige of the everlasting. The salvation of the full kingdom, not only of every person, looked as if it would rely on the solutions to questions about belief.
Victoria Frede seems at how and why atheism took on such significance between a number of generations of Russian intellectuals from the 1820s to the 1860s, drawing on meticulous and huge study of either released and archival records, together with letters, poetry, philosophical tracts, police records, fiction, and literary feedback. She argues that younger Russians have been much less inquisitive about theology and the Bible than they have been concerning the ethical, political, and social prestige of the person individual. They sought to take care of their integrity opposed to the pressures exerted through an autocratic nation and rigidly hierarchical society. As contributors sought to form their very own destinies and looked for truths that will provide aspiring to their lives, they got here to query the legitimacy either one of the tsar and of Russia’s maximum authority, God.
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Extra info for Doubt, Atheism, and the Nineteenth-Century Russian Intelligentsia
While the idea of mutability was standard among western European romantics, it was widely repudiated by the Wisdom Lovers’ more conservative contemporaries in Russia. An article published by Ivan Davydov, their former teacher, in 1822, titled “Aphorisms from the Contemporary Love of Wisdom” makes for a telling point of contrast. Davydov had recently come under attack by officials in St. Petersburg and was backing away from some of the more radical implications of idealist philosophy. In his article, Davydov emphasized that reason and morality must always accord with the “unchanging laws of religion” and theology.
To treat atheism as a doctrine is, in some way, to miss its most salient feature. In Russia, it was less a statement about the status of God than it was a commentary on the status of educated people in an authoritarian state that sought ever more forcefully to regulate the opinions and beliefs of its subjects. The state’s promotion of Russian Orthodox piety and insistence on intellectual conformity made adherence to the faith of the church appear hypocritical, an abdication of the individual’s duty to pursue knowledge and truth.
35 As children, Kireevsky and Koshelev, at least, are unlikely to have been aware that there was any fundamental discrepancy between Orthodoxy and these other forms of piety. Some prelates of the church had expressed alarm at the spread of heterodox thought among the nobility in the eighteenth century. In the early 1820s, however, Russia’s metropolitans began to condemn with increasing urgency the spirit of independent-mindedness that had possessed their flocks. These included the most influential clergymen of the day, such as Metropolitan Filaret of Moscow, and Metropolitan Evgenii of Kiev and Galicia.
Doubt, Atheism, and the Nineteenth-Century Russian Intelligentsia by Victoria Frede