This article examines Irina Bogatyreva’s novella Off the Beaten Track (2008) through the prism of postcolonial theory, highlighting the specific ways in which an author can use religious elements, such as pilgrimage, to resist the totalizing ethnic or socioeconomic narratives imposed from the cultural and political centers of the Russian Federation.
This article draws on analysis of interviews with Jews of Ukraine and Moldova who lived the first part of their lives following traditional Jewish ways, while the latter part occurred during the period of strong anti-religious pressure in the Soviet Union. As a result, several variations of what we can call “folk Judaism” emerged. One form consists of a coerced nonobservance of the laws of Judaism and entails the elaboration of various ways to observe Jewish traditions in the absence of the ability to follow the letter of the law.
This article focuses on the concept of monarchy with an emphasis on the traditional Russian “autocratic” model. Mikhail Suslov inquires into the ways this concept is being used in today’s Russian Orthodox Church and in the circles of religiously motivated intellectuals.
From a secular perspective, certain religious techniques of self-transformation, such as the complete subordination of an individual to a spiritual leader, appear to violate fundamental human rights and are hence unacceptable. Conversely, religious traditions offer a different view of the subject and their welfare and the means by which this welfare can be achieved. Nowadays, however, the secular environment in which they operate affects religious groups.
An especially important concept with which religion has been linked in the public consciousness, and on which it directly depends, remains the concept of tradition. “Traditionalism” is a quality directly related to the characteristics implicitly ascribed to “real” religion: invariability, orderliness, the ability to provide a model of stability to a changing society, which is subject to rapid, painful transformations, and is thus in need of ideal paradigms of guaranteed stability and historical rootedness.