history of religion

The Revolution of the Spirits for the Spiritual Brotherhood: Russian Spiritualist Movement and Its Social Ideals

The article offers a reconstruction of the social ideals of Russian spiritualists. Main sources include texts revealing spiritualists’ ideas about the structure of the spiritual world; structure and characteristics of spiritual circles; and literary works by spiritualists reflecting their social ideals. Although the social and political views of Russian spiritualists were mostly conservative, their ontological views contained elements of social radicalism.

The Map of Religions for the Failed 1937 Census: a Forgotten Page of Religious Studies in the USSR

The author explores the preparations for the Soviet 1937 census. (The results of this census were famously cancelled by the authorities for reasons of alleged falsification, and people involved were subsequently persecuted). In this census, for the first time in Soviet history, the question was included about the respondents’ religious affiliation. In this connection, a special reference book has been created that covered the full list of religions in the USSR.

Roger Bacon’s Classifications of Religions

Although western medieval thinkers in general had a little interest in non-Christian religious traditions, one can find a sort of comparative study of religions already in the 13th century. As a rule, the purpose of such studies was to prove the superiority of Christianity over other religions, and the means used were often the instruments of ‘natural human reason’. Works of Roger Bacon (1214/22–ca. 1292) is the most striking example of this approach.