Holy Russia, Sacred Israel: Jewish-Christian Encounters in Russian Religious Thought

Holy Russia, Sacred Israel: Jewish-Christian Encounters in Russian Religious Thought

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Dominic Rubin

ISBN: 9781934843796 (hardcover)
Pages: 560 pp.
Publication Date: June 2010

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Holy Russia, Sacred Israel examines how Russian religious thinkers, both Jewish and Christian, conceived of Judaism, Jewry and the ‘Old Testament’ philosophically, theologically, and personally at a time when the Messianic element in Russian consciousness was being stimulated by events ranging from the pogroms of the 1880s through two Revolutions and World Wars to exile in Western Europe. An attempt is made to locate the boundaries between the Jewish and Christian, Russian and Western, Gnostic-pagan and Orthodox elements in Russian thought in this period. The author reflects personally on how the heritage of these thinkers, little analyzed or translated in the West, can help Orthodox (and other) Christians respond to Judaism (including “Messianic Judaism”), Zionism, and Christian antisemitism today.

Dominic Rubin (PhD in Linguistics, London University) is a lecturer in Philosophy, Biblical Hebrew, Old Testament at St. Philaret’s Orthodox Christian Institute and the Moscow Higher School of Economics.

Dominic Rubin’s Holy Russia, Sacred Israel is a formidable and profoundly impressive piece of research, which needed to be done, and I was very glad to see it. It is a major piece of work.
— Most Reverend Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury
Holy Russia, Sacred Israel is without a doubt a very important book and contribution to the field. With a deep and sympathetic understanding for both Judaism and Russian Orthodoxy, Dominic Rubin gives us new readings of some of the canonical figures of Russian thought: Soloviev, Florensky, Rozanov, Gershenzon, Karsavin, and Fedotov, among others. This is an important book for Russian culture because the author has no axe to grind and is unafraid of telling truth to power, facing both past anti-Jewish agitation and propaganda, while at the same time never surrendering hope for a future Russian-Jewish philosophical dialogue. Each figure is judged primarily on the merits of their thinking as theology and as humane expression, in a way which displays erudition, tolerance and a love for both Russian and Jewish culture.
— Brian Horowitz, Professor of Russian and Chair of Jewish Studies, Tulane University
This is a truly exceptional book. I have reread chapters time and again. In these pages, there are so many things of immediate interest, mainly, I think, for Orthodox theologians and Church leaders. The presentation and commentary on landmark figures like Soloviev, Bulgakov, Berdyaev and Florensky will be of great benefit in helping Orthodox Christians in the twenty first century understand in depth the past relationship between Christianity and Judaism in the Orthodox context, during a period that was of crucial importance for both faiths. Very few people are aware of the details of this relationship, and this book is invaluable in assessing how today’s Orthodox Christians can learn from the past.
— Fr. Vasile Mihoc, Professor of New Testament Studies, Lucien Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania