About the book
September 9, 2015, marked the 500th anniversary of the passing of one of the most commanding and remarkable figures in Russian history, Iosif Volotskii. It was in his honor that our Association for the Study of Eastern Christian History and Culture held its biennial conference in March 2013, where the first drafts of this volume’s essays were presented. Steeped in traditions and sacred writings, Iosif would probably have approved of the subject matter of our first section that looks at early Eastern Church history. And as a passionate and engaged activist, he likely would have been curious about our middle section devoted to him and how some of his interests played out in early modern Russia in places where religion remained paramount, though our unavoidable secular approach would have left him cold. How he or any other zealous late medieval abbot, teacher, and father confessor would have related to the issues of our third section on our modern, technologically explosive era is impossible to fathom, except, probably to remind us, as he did his monks, of such timeless wisdom as “it is a great calamity where laws and canons do not dwell.”
“Centered on the figure of the influential Russian pastor, apologist, and ‘scholastic’ disputant of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Iosif Volotskii and Eastern Christianity surveys the field of Orthodox Christian Studies today. This wide-ranging collection not only opens out to consider Iosif's interaction with his putative rival Nil Sorskii and his influence on both Patriarch Nikon and the latter's opponents, the Old Believers; it reaches back to antecedents of Late Antiquity and forward to encounters with Enlightenment and Anti-Enlightenment modernism alike. Readers will find much of interest here in essays on topics ranging from natural contemplation and ‘pious forgeries’ in Greek patristics, to the utility in later medieval Russia of metal icons and fictive disputations alike, to the Church in modern Greek nationalism, Western Orientalism, and American fiction. An engrossing volume.”
―Robert Romanchuk, Florida State University.