"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).

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Russian Time of Troubles

Northern Illinois University Press, as I have noted before, continues to publish fascinating books in their welcome and acclaimed series on Eastern Orthodoxy. The latest offering is Isaiah Gruber, Orthodox Russia in Crisis: Church and Nation in the Time of Troubles (NILP, 2012), 300pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:

A pivotal period in Russian history, the Time of Troubles in the early seventeenth century has taken on new resonance in the country’s post-Soviet search for new national narratives. The historical role of the Orthodox Church has emerged as a key theme in contemporary remembrances of this time—but what precisely was that role?
The first comprehensive study of the Church during the Troubles, Orthodox Russia in Crisis reconstructs this tumultuous time, offering new interpretations of familiar episodes while delving deep into the archives to uncover a much fuller picture of the era. Analyzing these sources, Isaiah Gruber argues that the business activity of monasteries played a significant role in the origins and course of the Troubles and that frequent changes in power forced Church ideologues to innovate politically, for example inventing new justifications for power to be granted to the people and to royal women. These new ideas, Gruber contends, ultimately helped bring about a new age in Russian spiritual life and a crystallization of the national mentality.
In the coming weeks I hope to interview the author. And I look forward to seeing this book reviewed in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies, the oldest academic revue of its kind in North America, to which you will want to subscribe here.  

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