discovery ofthe so-called 'magical/superstitious' beliefs of commoners.46 She posited that practices and beliefs of communities aimed at explaining how the uneducated and powerless members of society integrated the 'symbols and discourse of the Church Universal for local votive use', in just the same way as rational thinkers who mixed, matched and excluded elements of different types of Christian experience.47 When these theoretical frameworks were applied to Russia in the late 1980s and 1990s, scholars found striking similarities in the way peasants in Russia and Europe conceptualised the world around them just prior to and during their transformation into modern industrial nations.48 While much less attention has been given to religious change among the elites in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, new research suggests that the Russian church hierarchy was anything but monolithic in its response to issues of the day such as urbanisation, mobility and revolutionary solutions to social and economic problems. Moreover, Russia's cultural elites and philosophers were equally diverse and together represented points across the religious and political spectra, from ultra-nationalist to atheist, from staunch monarchist to communist.
Nation-building and national identity, two ideas that set Europe on fire after the Congress of Vienna in 1815, did not bypass Russia despite certain peculiarities. Language, literature, religion and myth helped to unite the diverse ethnic populations of the European part of the Russian Empire, as they did in the west. As Geoffrey Hosking has seen, what distinguished Russia was the creation of a sense of state rather than a sense of nationhood. A political focal point for this identity was the imperial family, its histories and its ceremonies. As the nineteenth century drew to a close, public ceremonies and celebrations focused
46 N. Z. Davis, 'Some tasks and themes in the study of popular religion', in The pursuit of holiness in late medieval and renaissance religion (Papers from the University of Michigan Conference), ed. C. Trinkaus and H. A. Oberman [Studies in Medieval and Reformational Thought 10] (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1974), 307-36.
47 W Christian, Local religion in sixteenth-century Spain (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), 181. Cf.T. Kselman, Belief in history: innovative approaches to European and American religion (Notre Dame: University ofNotre Dame Press, 1991), Introduction.
48 J. E. Clay, 'Russian peasant religion and its repression: the Christ-Faith (khris-tovshchina) and the origins of the 'Flagellant' myth, 1666-1837', PhD dissertation, University of Chicago, 1989; Chulos, 'Pious or pagan peasant', 181-216; C. J. Chulos, 'Peasant perspectives of clerical debauchery in post-empancipation Russia', StudiaSlavica Finlandensia 12 (1995), 33-53; Chulos, Converging worlds; V Shevzov, 'Popular Orthodox in late imperial Russia', PhD dissertation, Yale University, 1994; C. Worobec, Possessed: women, witches and demons in imperial Russia (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2001); M. M. Gromyko, Pravoslaviei russkaianarodnaiakul'tura, 4 vols. (Moscow: Koordinatsionno-metodicheskiitsentrprikladnoi etnografiiIn-taetnologiiiantropologii RAN, 1993-1994). Cf. E.Weber, Peasants into Frenchmen: the modernization ofmodernFrance, 1870-1914 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1976).
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