"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"HIV Is God's Blessing"

Jarrett Zizon, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, has just published a book with the provocative title

"HIV is God's Blessing:" Rehabilitating Morality in Neoliberal Russia (University of California Press, 2010), viii+258pp.

This study attempts to examine the relationship between the Russian Orthodox Church and a society still reeling from the unspeakable moral and spiritual damage of communism. Though the Russian Church has been expanding its infrastructure enormously in the last two decades, there is still a great deal of work to be done in renewing the conscience of a people devastated by the great and greatly numerous lies of the evil empire. One clear example of this is in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Russia has one of the fastest-growing rates of HIV infection in the world, and one of the weakest social systems for dealing with it. Most of the burden therefore falls to the Church. In this book, Zigon takes us into a Church-run treatment center both to see what is being done and also to see what larger questions--of morality, of what constitutes a "normal" life, and who defines it--are raised.

We will be reviewing this book in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies in 2011.

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