"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).

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Mythology of the Third Rome

I yield nothing to nobody in my respect for Russian Orthodox Christian traditions--the staggering architectural beauty of her churches, the philosophers of her so-called Silver Age, the long-suffering influence of Trinity-Sergius Lavra and her other monastic centres, and many of her liturgical and musical celebrations, inter alia. But neither respect nor affection are increased by conniving at nonsense used to advance a nationalist and neo-imperialistic agenda. Thus one can only dissent from, if not openly disdain, the notion of Russia as a "Third Rome," a notion that has a long history but has come in for fresh criticism in a new book released just this month from a Norwegian scholar: Jardar Østbø, The New Third Rome: Readings of a Russian Nationalist Myth Ibidem Press, 2016), 270pp.

Ibidem Press is a Hanoverian publisher whose North American works in English are made available by Columbia University Press in New York. From them we learn the following about this book:
Drawing on theories of political myth and concepts of nationalism, Jardar Østbø analyzes the content and ideological function of the myth of Russia as a Third Rome. Through case studies of four prominent nationalist intellectuals, Østbø shows how this messianic myth was used to reinvent Russia and its allegedly rightful place in the world after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Though it exists in many radically different versions, the Third Rome myth in general embodies particularism and rabid anti-Westernism. At best, it portrays Russia as an essentially isolationist country. At worst, it casts the country as superior to all other nations, divinely elected to rule the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments are never approved. Use your real name and say something intelligent.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...