James WhiteApr 16, 2021
Unity in Faith?
Edinoverie, Russian Orthodoxy, and Old Belief, 1800-1918
Indiana University Press 2020
Dr. James White’s new book, Unity in Faith?: Edinoverie, Russian Orthodoxy, and Old Belief, 1800-1918 (Indiana University Press, 2020) discusses the Russian Orthodox/Old Believer schism. In the late 18th and early 19th
centuries, the Russian government decided, largely for reasons of state, to bring the schismatic Old Believers back into the Orthodox fold. This desire resulted in the creation of edinoverie
(“unity in faith”), and a set of institutions that attempted to allow Old Believers to practice their pre-1650’s rituals, while increasingly subjecting them to the authority of the church, and by extension, the state. Dr. White’s book is a history of this edinoverie. Along the way, readers learn a great deal about the relationship between the Russian church and the state, and about the inner logics of a major religious schisms, whose lessons apply to Russian history and beyond. Religious history is often neglected in the history of late imperial Russia, and this book also helps to rectify that imbalance.
Aaron Weinacht is Professor of History at the University of Montana Western, in Dillon, MT. He teaches courses on Russian and Soviet History, World History, and Philosophy of History. His research interests include the sociological theorist Philip Rieff and the influence of Russian nihilism on American libertarianism.