Lexicographical Issues of the Book of Isaiah in the Septuagint
The article examines several groups of non-trivial vocabulary in the Book of Isaiah in the Septuagint: transliterations (Hebrew names written in Greek characters, religious terms and words obscure to the translator as well as Aramaic loanwords); neologisms (words appearing only in the Septuagint and related texts, primarily semantic calques based on morphemic translation from Hebrew) and semantic neologisms (words used with meanings different from their most frequent use in classical and Hellenistic texts and dependent on their Jewish equivalents); vocabulary typical of papyruses and inscriptions; literary vocabulary and rhetorical
techniques characteristic of “high” classical literature.
With reference to each group, the author summarises the issues most discussed in the academic literature on the book, namely basic approaches to describing the Greek language of the Septuagint; the issue of how the Greek Pentateuch’s influence on the lexical choice of the translator on the Book of Isaiah; the reflection of the colloquial norms of Alexandrian Jews and the proximity of the Septuagint language to the language of documentary sources of the same period; possible Aramaic influence; discussions about who the translator was.
Keywords: Bible, Old Testament, Septuagint, the Book of Isaiah, ancient Greek, Koine.
Jesus as an apocalyptic Prophet (The Weiss-Schweitzer Hypothesis): Critical Evaluation and Prospects
According to the Weiss-Schweitzer hypothesis, Jesus was an apocalyptic pro phet. The hypothesis remained relatively uncontested till the end of the XX century, when it met serious challenges (largely, in the Jesus Seminar). However, the attempt to create a new paradigm does not hold up to a close scrutiny. (1) The Gospel of Thomasis no be discounted as evidence for a non-apocalyptic Jesus, since its Jesus is far removed from any plausible Jewish context. (2) Kloppenborg’s attempts to stratify Q are not convincing. (3) Coexistence of apocalyptic and sapiential interests is natural for an apocalypticist. (4) Sayings about the future Son of Man can be partly authentic. Importantly, sayings about the precise time of the eschaton (Matt 10:23;
Mark 9:1; 13:30) reflect the ipsissima vox of Jesus, though hardly his ipsissima verba.
Keywords: Jesus, Quest for the Historical Jesus, New Testament, Gospels.
Individual Resurrection of the Righteous in the New Testament: Matt 27:52–53
At least three types of resurrection are found in early Jewish literature. Two of them represent resurrection as an eschatological event: the resurrection of the righteous and the general resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked before the last judgment starts. The third type of resurrection does not emphasize the eschatological aspect. It can be called the individual resurrection of the righteous, because it deals with individual martyrs or a small group of those who were martyred for their faithfulness to the Lord. The most salient account of such a belief is found in 2 Maccabees 7, where this resurrection is described as a bodily one and is explicitly connected with resurrection.
Three examples of individual resurrection can be found in the New Testament: the resurrection of Jesus, the resurrection of certain saints in Matt 27:52–53, and that of the two witnesses of Christ in Rev 11:3–12. This article focuses on the analysis of Matt 27:52–53, which has so far not been discussed in the context of individual resurrection.
The article suggests that Matthew takes both the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of the saints as a case of individual resurrection. These two events are related to each other as a fulfillment of God’s promise about the resurrection of martyrs. Since it was important for Matthew to present the story of Jesus in the context of the fulfillment of messianic prophecies, he took the promise to martyrs that would be raised from the dead very seriously and believed that if Jesus was resurrected as a martyr, other martyrs would also be resurrected. The saints in Matt 27:52–53 can be identified with the martyrs from 2 Macc 7, according to the earliest traditions, who were buried near Jerusalem. However, Matthew might not have had any specific figures in mind but rather was concerned with the fact that this expectation of resurrection had been fulfilled.
Keywords: Judaism, New Testament, eschatology, resurrection, Jesus, Maccabees, righteous, martyr, saints.
This paper aims to present from a new perspective the figures of the philologist Sergei Averintsev and of his pupil, the poet Olga Sedakova, i. e. seeing them as “public intellectuals”. Bearing in mind that this categorisation may seem paradoxical when applied to these Russian intellectuals who undertook a significant part of their work in the “alternative” culture of the post-Soviet era, the first part of this paper provides a reconstruction of their intellectual biographies which aims to justify the main thesis by offering a view on elements of the public attitude that have characterised their activity. The core of their intellectual engagement lies in their interpretation of the issue of culture as paideia, i. e. as a living word that needs to be transmitted not only in the academic sphere but in the public domain as well. Re-establishing the broken ties with the sources of culture (both Christian and secular) – an approach that recalls that employed by the humanists of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries – represents for Averintsev and Sedakova the very task of culture, i.e. offering to human beings the richness of tradition through new words, giving them the possibility to rediscover their value and their openness to the Otherness and the transcendence. The selection of the sources that are provided in the paper focuses almost entirely upon discourses, homilies or conference papers delivered in non-academic contexts which are still highly neglected in the literature devoted to them.
Keywords: Sergei Averintsev, Olga Sedakova, Russian public intellectuals, Christian Humanism, culture, paideia, tradition.
Averintsev’s Hermeneutics: Origins, Principles, Distinctiveness
The article outlines the principles of philological hermeneutics, namely those of large context, mutual elucidation of epochs, meta-discursive language, personal communion, semantic vertical (“ ‘descending’ to the reality of the text from another altitude”). It is assumed that the originality of Averintsev’s hermeneutic method is associated with the influence of Eastern Christianity, in particular with that of St. Isaac of Nineveh, St. Ephraim the Syrian, St. Gregory of Nazianzus who
described the experience of mystical knowledge of God. The poem “Annunciation” is considered the image of cognition-understanding that Averintsev offers as an alternative to traditional hermeneutic procedures.
Keywords: S.S. Averintsev, hermenevtics, understanding, historical poetics, orthodoxy, patristic tradition, knowledge of God.
The Temporal Dimension of Discernment: History and Memory
History and memory: To this pairing, philosopher P. Ricoeur and others often draw attention an additional element: Forgetting. The construction of history involves elements of both remembering and forgetting. This is a selective process. Especially in Russia and Eastern Europe, where religious identity is closely linked with national, ethnic and cultural identity, the upheavals and social trauma of the past century have encouraged politicians, religious authorities and many others to construct a highly selective historical narrative capable of eliciting wide popular support, but at the expense of memory. For the appeal of such narratives, multiple explanations can be offered. Modern optimism has given way to post-modern anxiety. The immediacy of real-time technologies has deadened our sense of time and place. Discomfort with the rush of the present moment and uncertainty about the future may lead us to seize on anything that promises order and stability, however lacking in truth and moral substance this may be. Needed now, beyond faithful remembering and prudent forgetting, is forgiveness – a subject that Ricoeur explores in an epilogue to his study of Memory, History, Forgetting. For Ricoeur, forgiveness “constitutes the horizon common to memory, history, and forgetting”. Paths leading towards this eschatological horizon are not easy to discern. Even the noblest of human projects for truth and reconciliation fall short, though they may point in the right direction. Here we can only speak of grace. Along with humility, patience, fortitude and the other virtues, we must be graced with an honest and unflinching willingness to engage with the past, however painful this may be.
Keywords: history, memory, narrative, eschatology, forgetting, forgiveness.
Sociological Aspects of Religious Experience
Religious Responses to Modes of Secularism
In this article, secularism is considered as one of the primary ideological components in the development of the theory of secularization, and as the foundation of various societal changes that have led to the transformation of the role of religion within society. This article is one of the chapters in the collected volume entitled “The Future of Christianity: Reflections on Violence and Democracy, Religion and Secularization” (Ashgate, 2011), which aims to make sense of Christianity’s future in the world. The author poses a number of questions which invite us to think about the real relationship between religion and secularism in the modern world, and proposes various approaches which place the two in constructive – rather than confrontational – relationship. Professor Martin also attempts to clearly delineate the foundation of the secular worldview, as well as to describe various approaches for understanding the appearance of secularism within modern society. He draws a distinction between secularization, which he understands as a curtailing of the influence of official church rules upon the laws of society, and the ability of church institutions to make their contribution to actual and ongoing discussion concerning the life of society. In light of this distinction, it would seem that the particular influence of the church on society is growing, while its influence in people’s personal lives is waning. The deline of religion is, in a complex fashion, related to the decline of various earlier forms of war secularism and, in addition though to a lesser degree, in people’s waning interest in long-term participation in any sort of organization, including political and grass-roots religious organizations.
Keywords: Secularism, Secularization, Religious Responses, the Enlightenment Project, French and American Enlightenment, fundamentalism, religion, culture.
The “Non-Payers” Religious Movement in 1860–1880s: life in a sacral dimension
This article primarily focuses on the “non-payers” religious movement, which appeared in the Urals in the 1860s. This paper highlights the early period of the “non-payers” history, when the movement, which appeared due to peasants’ conditions of living after their liberation from serfdom, gets religious traits. In this article the mechanism for interaction between material and spiritual factors, which led to emergence and development of religious societies, is described. The work was made on the basis of the archival records which are introduced into the academic circulation for the first time. Special attention is paid to “non-payers” behavioral practices. Their actions and activities are studied in the context of changes of religious beliefs about the world around them. The article concludes that there was a high possibility that socio-econoic issatisfaction in the Russian Empire of the 19th century was supplemented by religious discontent, because cultural standards of the traditional society contributed to predominance of a person’s irrational interpretation of the real world.
Keywords: “non-payers”, sectarianism, Serginsky mining region, people’s religious movements, Peasants’ reform of 1861, eschatology.
Conference review: “Locating European Missions in a Wounded World in Deep Transformation” (Sankt Augustin, Germany, 23–26 August 2019)
Book review: Vorobyova N. V. Patriarch Nikon: Power, Faith, Image. Moscow, St. Petersburg : Centre for Humanitarian Initiatives, 2019. 343 p.
Book review: Vdovina G. V. Intentionality and Life : Philosophical Psychology of Post-Medieval Scholasticism. Moscow, St. Petersburg : Centre for Humanitarian Initiatives, 2019. 588  p. (Humanitas)
Betrothal to Christ: Orthodox Brotherhoods in Russia. Book review: Orthodox Brotherhoods in the History of Russia: On the 100th Anniversary of Patriarch Tikhon’s Calling to Forge Spiritual Bonds in Community: a collection of research papers : In 2 v. Moscow: Transfiguration Centre for Culture and Education, 2018.