The woman clothed in the sun: Pacifism and apocalyptic discourse among Russian Spiritual Christian molokan-jumpers

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With its violent images of heavenly and earthly combat, the book of Revelation has been criticized for promoting a vengeful and distorted version of Christ's teachings. Gerd Lüdemann, for example, has attacked the book as part of the dark side of the Bible, and Jonathan Kirsch believes that the pernicious influence of Revelation can be detected in some of the worst atrocities and excesses of every age, including our own. Yet, surprisingly, nonviolent pacifists have also drawn on the Apocalypse for encouragement and support. This was especially true for generations of Russian Spiritual Christians (dukhovnye khristiane), a significant religious minority whose roots trace at least as far back as the 1760s, when the first spirituals (dukhovnye) were arrested and tried in Russia's southern provinces of Tambov and Voronezh. Although they drew upon apocalyptic martial imagery, the Spiritual Christians were pacifists, some of whom came to identify themselves with the Woman Clothed in the Sun of Revelation 12.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-138
Number of pages30
JournalChurch History
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Religious studies

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