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Deification in Russian Religious ThoughtBetween the Revolutions, 1905-1917$
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Ruth Coates

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198836230

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198836230.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Deification in Russian Religious Thought

Ruth Coates

Oxford University Press

The Introduction sets out the immediate historical and cultural context in which twentieth-century Russian religious philosophers began to write about deification. The inter-revolutionary period (1905–17), characterized by unprecedented political instability and violence, created an atmosphere of apocalyptic foreboding and prompted religious philosophers creatively to assimilate the Orthodox concept of deification in their attempts to conceptualize human overcoming of the end, of mortality itself. These attempts are presented as fundamentally modernist: more or less free interpretations of the deification theme that arise out of the engagement of the authors under consideration with the modernist discourses of Marxism, Symbolism, and Nietzsche. It is argued that the primary leitmotifs, common to these three, that shape the way deification was received in the early twentieth century, are praxis and transformation, specifically the transformation of matter. The four works to be analysed present a spectrum of deification reception, from least to most Orthodox.

Keywords:   deification, immortality, revolution, modernism, praxis, transformation, Marxism, God-building, Symbolism, Nietzsche

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