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Russian Bible Wars

Russian Bible Wars
Modern Scriptural Translation and Cultural Authority


  • Date Published: January 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316600924

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About the Authors
  • Although biblical texts were known in Church Slavonic as early as the ninth century, translation of the Bible into Russian came about only in the nineteenth century. Modern scriptural translation generated major religious and cultural conflict within the Russian Orthodox church. The resulting divisions left church authority particularly vulnerable to political pressures exerted upon it in the twentieth century. Russian Bible Wars illuminates the fundamental issues of authority that have divided modern Russian religious culture. Set within the theoretical debate over secularization, the volume clarifies why the Russian Bible was issued relatively late and amidst great controversy. Stephen Batalden's study traces the development of biblical translation into Russian and of the 'Bible wars' that then occurred in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Russia. The annotated bibliography of the Russian Bible identifies the different editions and their publication history.

    • Offers the first comprehensive history of the modern Russian Bible
    • Provides an annotated bibliography of the Russian Bible allowing scholars and librarians to identify editions
    • Integrates Russian Jewish history into the history of the modern Russian Bible
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'In Russian Bible Wars, Stephen Batalden has made a splendid contribution - or, rather, two splendid contributions - to the study of modern Russian Orthodoxy. In the English-speaking world, this book will be the starting point for discussions of the Russian Bible for a long time to come.' Modern Greek Studies Yearbook

    'Batalden has produced a rich and thought-provoking book that succeeds in bridging the gap between religious intellectual history, which often loses sight of human actors and social forces on the ground, and the history of lived religion.' Robert H. Greene, Slavic Review

    'This is a rich, exhaustive, and fascinating examination of the conflict over Russian translations of the scriptures in the early nineteenth century … Very seldom does a rigorous scholarly investigation seethe with intrigue, mystery, astonishing turns, and unanticipated attacks, but Batalden's masterful study has all of this and more … a truly gripping description and insightful assessment of a most significant stream of events in modern Russian history.' Michael Plekon, The Russian Review

    '… this book is a valuable contribution to studies of religion in the Russian Empire, providing as it does a clear and accessible narrative on a thorny but vital question.' James M. White, European History Quarterly

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316600924
    • length: 398 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Origins of the Russian Bible Society
    2. Technology and textology
    3. Foreign and clandestine publishing in Nikolaevan Russia
    4. The Synodal Bible
    5. Russian Biblical translation and the Jewish Question
    6. Colportage, Sectarianism and Russian Bible publication
    Afterword: Russian Biblical translations in the twentieth century
    Appendix: annotated bibliography of the Russian Bible, 1794–1991

  • Author

    Stephen K. Batalden, Arizona State University
    Stephen K. Batalden is Professor of History and Director of the Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies at Arizona State University.

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