Russia's Lost Reformation
Peasants, Millennialism, and Radical Sects in Southern Russia and Ukraine, 1830-1917
Radical Protestant Christianity became widespread in rural parts of southern Russia and Ukraine in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Russia's Lost Reformation: Peasants, Millennialism, and Radical Sects in Southern Russia and Ukraine, 1830-1917, studies the origins and evolution of the theology and practices of these radicals and their contribution to an alternative culture in the region.
Arising from a confluence of immigrant Anabaptists from central Europe and native Russian religious dissident movements, the new sects shared characteristics with both their antecedents in Europe and their contemporaries in the Shaker and Quaker movements on the American frontier. The radicals' lives showed energy and initiative reminiscent of Max Weber's famous paradigm in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. And women participated in congregations no less than men and often led them.
The radicals criticized the existing social and political order, created their own educational system, and in some cases engaged in radical politics. Their contributions, argues Zhuk, help explain the receptiveness of peasants in this region to the revolutions of 1905 and 1917.
About the Author
Sergei I. Zhuk is an assistant professor of history at Ball State University. Formerly a professor of American history specializing in American religious movements at Dnieperpetrovsk University in Ukraine, he recently completed a Ph.D. in Russian history at the Johns Hopkins University. Zhuk's work has been published in English, French, Russian, and Ukrainian.
"Extremely well-written work that contributes to a neglected aspect of Russian religious history. Zhuk displays a clear mastery of the material and presents the details of the reformation without losing the thread fo the narrative."
"A valuable book on radical Protestantism in rural Russia and Ukraine... provocatively shows how Christian radicalism prepared the peasantry to accept and approve the revolution."
"A vivid study of Protestant sectarianism in the multiethnic regions of southern Russia and Ukraine."
"Stimulating study... For anyone interested in gaining a sense of the religious ferment in Ukraine where Mennonites were centered and Mennonite Brethren had their beginning."
"A very valuable contribution to Russian and especially Ukrainian religious history."
"This study will help to open the way for further research and cooperation between Russian, Ukrainian and Mennonite scholars."
"Zhuk displays a clear understanding of the ethos of peasant life as he explores the ethnic and demographic situation."
"Zhuk offers a bold vision of religious movements that grew out of and never strayed very far from the dominant Orthodox creed."
"Through exhaustive archival research and wonderfully chosen photographs, Zhuk has succeed in bringing back to life forgotten sectarians and their complicated relation with Orthodox Christianity."
"Adds to the growing body of work that shows how large, variegated, and peculiar these people were."
"Readers will find Zhuk's interpretation of south Russian or Ukrainian peasant culture to be worth consideration and his careful description of popular beliefs and religious syncretism of compelling interest."
"A thickly detailed study of religious radicalism in the southern Russian Empire from 1830 to 1914."
"This is a study that not only makes a very important contribution to Russian religious, cultural, and social history, but will stimulate controversy about Russia's place in world history."
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