Father Aleksandr Men'
"Spiritual Dissident: The Writings of Father Aleksandr Men’ as Dissent from Soviet Ideology”
First Reader: Sarah C. Williams
Second Reader: Michael Bourdeaux
ABSTRACT: This thesis investigates the writings of Father Aleksandr Men' (1935-1990) in order to determine whether they can rightly be called dissent. When dissent in the late Soviet period is discussed, the focus is often on high-profile activities like writing letters, signing petitions, or attending protests. Although Men' did not practice such activities, he did write several theological, pastoral, and apologetic books and essays at a time when atheism was central to the ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Accordingly, this thesis is a comparative historical and literary analysis of Men’s key works on Christ, religion, and the Bible, and the official Soviet ideology concerning these subjects. It concludes that Men’s writing indirectly and directly countered Soviet ideology and was, therefore, a form of intellectual and political dissent.
This thesis is not published, but you may purchase a copy at the Theological Research Exchange Network.
Conference Papers & Presentations
Roundtable member: "Archpriest Aleksandr Men' and the Russian Orthodox Church's Mission in the Modern World," Aleksandr Men' Conference, Semkhoz (Sergiev Posad), Russia, September 2016.
Roundtable member: “The Varieties of Russian Modernity: Rethinking Religion, Secularism, and the Influence of Russia in the Modern World,” ASEEES Convention, Boston, MA, November 2013.
“Belonging to Israel: Father Aleksandr Men’s Jewish Identity,” The Varieties of Russian Modernity Conference, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow, Russia, June 2013.
“The Trouble-Making Missionary: Father Aleksandr Men’s Unswerving Dedication to His Call in the Face of Various Forms of Opposition,” Alexander Men Conference, Moffat, Scotland, September 2012.
Listen to this lecture here. April was invited to make this lecture the night before. This conference was organized specifically as a gathering of ecumenical Christians and interested scholars.
“Spiritual Dissent: Father Aleksandr Men’s Istoki Religii as Dissent from Soviet Ideology,” Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies Convention, Los Angeles, CA, November 2010.
Publications & Translations
Wallace L. Daniel, Russia’s Uncommon Prophet: Father Aleksandr Men and His Times (DeKalb: NIU Press, 2016). Modern Greek Studies Yearbook: A Publication of Mediterranean, Slavic, and Eastern Orthodox Studies 32/33 (2016-2017): 417-20.
Click on the title above to see more about this book.
Upcoming Essay: “Belonging to Israel: Father Aleksandr Men’ as Proponent of a Positive Jewish Christian Identity and Opponent of Chauvinism.” In Russia, Religion, and Secularism: The Varieties of Russian Modernity, edited by Ana Siljak.