"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).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Russian Orthodox Notions of Human Rights

Given the events in Russia and Ukraine recently, especially the annexation by the former of territory belonging to the latter, and given recent chatter, especially during the Sochi Olympics, about so-called gay rights in Russia, the question of human rights more broadly within Russia has been raised a lot lately.Of even more particular interest is the relationship of ideas about rights to Orthodox theology, which is a new field currently being developed, including in an article in the upcoming spring issue of Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies, as I noted here.

The following book, then, published just this month, is very timely indeed: Kristina Stoeckl, The Russian Orthodox Church and Human Rights (Routledge, 2014), 170p. 

About this book we are told:
This book examines the key 2008 publication of the Russian Orthodox Church on human dignity, freedom, and rights. It considers how the document was formed, charting the development over time of the Russian Orthodox Church’s views on these issues. It analyses the detail of the document, and assesses the practical and political impact inside the Church, at the national level and in the international arena. Overall, it shows how the attitude of the Russian Orthodox Church has shifted from outright hostility towards individual human rights to the advocacy of "traditional values," though often projecting a more moderate face internationally, whilst taking a hard line within Russia itself.

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