Category Archives: Russian Orthodoxy

Theology as Science in Russia and the German Model

by Anna Briskina-Müller  |  ελληνικά  |  ру́сский

“The Moscow University was founded on the same principles as all German universities” – so says a Russian report from the early 1770s. Because no Russian professors were available, “no theological faculty was established […] That said, it would be beneficial to establish such a faculty for the training of the clergy” – so states the report.

Both the statement that theological faculties are necessary and the reference to “German universities” are still relevant today. Nowadays, we observe controversial discussions around this question in Russia.

There is a wide spectrum of positions here: “hard positivists” (“all the humanities are basically not science”), “moderate positivists” (“theology is, in contrast to the other humanities, not a science because of its denominational limitation”), “religiously-interested positivists” and “religious scholars” (who deny the scientific nature of theology because of its subjective character), neutral to benevolent “observers” and theological autodidacts (representatives of humanities dealing in theological issues), and lastly, the representatives of the Church (the “positivists” call them “clericalists”). Continue Reading…

The Russian “Matilda” Controversy: The Politics of Religious Feelings

by Kristina Stoeckl  |  ελληνικά   |  ру́сский

Karl Marx famously said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. The truth of this statement can be witnessed these days in Russia when looking at the controversies surrounding the film Matilda, due to show in Russian cinemas on October 26th, 2017. The street protests of groups of Orthodox believers, the charges launched against its director Aleksej Uchitel by conservative politicians, two cars set on fire by a group that calls itself “Christian State – Holy Russia,” and a parliamentary commission that hastens to “examine” the film only to find it harmless…

Matilda is public upheaval over “offense of religious feelings” as a farce. The tragedy dates back to 2012 and revolved around the Pussy Riot incident. Continue Reading…