Castration and the Heavenly Kingdom: A Russian Folktale

3.41 avg rating
( 22 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780801436765: Castration and the Heavenly Kingdom: A Russian Folktale
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

Of the many sects that broke from the official Russian Orthodox church in the eighteenth century, one was universally despised. Its members were peasants from the Russian heartland skilled in the arts of animal husbandry who turned their knives on themselves to become "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake." Convinced that salvation came only with the literal excision of the instruments of sin, they were known as Skoptsy (the self-castrated). Their community thrived well into the twentieth century, when it was destroyed in the Stalinist Terror.

In a major feat of historical reconstruction, Laura Engelstein tells the sect's astonishing tale. She describes the horrified reactions to the sect by outsiders, including outraged bureaucrats, physicians, and theologians. More important, she allows the Skoptsy a say in defining the contours of their history and the meaning behind their sacrifice. Her deft handling of their letters and notebooks lends her book unusual depth and pathos, and she provides a heartbreaking account of willing exile and of religious belief so strong that its adherents accepted terrible pain and the denial of a basic human experience. Although the Skoptsy express joy at their salvation, the words of even the most fervent believers reveal the psychological suffering of life on society's margins.

No foreign tribe or exotic import, the sect drew its members from the larger peasant society where marriage was expected and adulthood began with the wedding night. Set apart by the very act that guaranteed their redemption, these "lambs of God" became adept at concealing their sectarian identity as they interacted with their Orthodox neighbors. Interaction was necessary, Engelstein explains, since the survival of the Skoptsy depended upon recruitment of new members and on success in agriculture and trade.

Realizing that some prejudices have changed little over the centuries, Engelstein cautions that "we must not cast the shadow of our own distress on the story of the Skoptsy. Their physical suffering was something they willingly embraced." In Castration and the Heavenly Kingdom, she has produced a remarkable history that also illuminates the mysteries of the human heart.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap:

"Laura Engelstein’s Castration and the Heavenly Kingdom adds significantly to the literature on Russian sects and to the field of sociosexual behavior. Exploiting unique Russian judicial sources, she gives us these sectarians in their own words as they move from secrecy in the early nineteenth century to self-advertisement in the early twentieth century. Engelstein’s tales form a lush tapestry of a traditional sect awkwardly coming to terms with modernity."--Richard C. Trexler, Binghamton University

"This book tells a fascinating story of the most stigmatized religious dissidents in Russia and, in doing so, illuminates important current debates on identity, group solidarity, the maintenance of cultural boundaries and norms, and the consequences of social and cultural transgression. Laura Engelstein's authorial voice, thorough contextualization of her sources, and framing of her arguments leave no doubt about her mastery of the issues driving the most fruitful social and literary theory."--David Ransel, Indiana University

About the Author:

Laura Engelstein is Henry S. McNeil Professor of History at Yale University. She is author of The Keys to Happiness: Sex and the Search for Modernity in Fin-de-Si'cle Russia and coeditor, with Stephanie Sandler, of Self and Story in Russian History, both from Cornell.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780801488795: Castration and the Heavenly Kingdom: A Russian Folktale

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0801488796 ISBN 13:  9780801488795
Publisher: Cornell University Press, 2003
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Engelstein, Laura
Published by Cornell University Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0801436761 ISBN 13: 9780801436765
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Book Deals
(Lewiston, NY, U.S.A.)

Book Description Cornell University Press, 1999. Hardcover. Condition: BRAND NEW. Seller Inventory # 0801436761_abe_bn

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 47.20
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Engelstein, Laura
Published by Cornell University Press
ISBN 10: 0801436761 ISBN 13: 9780801436765
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Sooner Fine Books
(Tulsa, OK, U.S.A.)

Book Description Cornell University Press. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0801436761 New. Seller Inventory # LIST-07/0059

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 47.23
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

ENGELSTEIN
Published by Cornell Univ Press
ISBN 10: 0801436761 ISBN 13: 9780801436765
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:

Book Description Cornell Univ Press. Condition: BRAND NEW. BRAND NEW Hardcover A Brand New Quality Book from a Full-Time Veteran Owned Bookshop in business since 1992!. Seller Inventory # 3943954

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 48.94
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

Engelstein, Laura
Published by Cornell University Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0801436761 ISBN 13: 9780801436765
New Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)

Book Description Cornell University Press, 1999. HRD. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IQ-9780801436765

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 54.78
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Laura Engelstein
Published by Cornell University Press, United States (1999)
ISBN 10: 0801436761 ISBN 13: 9780801436765
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)

Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 1999. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Of the many sects that broke from the official Russian Orthodox church in the eighteenth century, one was universally despised. Its members were peasants from the Russian heartland skilled in the arts of animal husbandry who turned their knives on themselves to become "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake." Convinced that salvation came only with the literal excision of the instruments of sin, they were known as Skoptsy (the self-castrated). Their community thrived well into the twentieth century, when it was destroyed in the Stalinist Terror.In a major feat of historical reconstruction, Laura Engelstein tells the sect's astonishing tale. She describes the horrified reactions to the sect by outsiders, including outraged bureaucrats, physicians, and theologians. More important, she allows the Skoptsy a say in defining the contours of their history and the meaning behind their sacrifice. Her deft handling of their letters and notebooks lends her book unusual depth and pathos, and she provides a heartbreaking account of willing exile and of religious belief so strong that its adherents accepted terrible pain and the denial of a basic human experience. Although the Skoptsy express joy at their salvation, the words of even the most fervent believers reveal the psychological suffering of life on society's margins.No foreign tribe or exotic import, the sect drew its members from the larger peasant society where marriage was expected and adulthood began with the wedding night. Set apart by the very act that guaranteed their redemption, these "lambs of God" became adept at concealing their sectarian identity as they interacted with their Orthodox neighbors. Interaction was necessary, Engelstein explains, since the survival of the Skoptsy depended upon recruitment of new members and on success in agriculture and trade.Realizing that some prejudices have changed little over the centuries, Engelstein cautions that "we must not cast the shadow of our own distress on the story of the Skoptsy. Their physical suffering was something they willingly embraced." In Castration and the Heavenly Kingdom, she has produced a remarkable history that also illuminates the mysteries of the human heart. Seller Inventory # APC9780801436765

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 59.36
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

6.

Engelstein, Laura
Published by Cornell University Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0801436761 ISBN 13: 9780801436765
New Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)

Book Description Cornell University Press, 1999. HRD. Condition: New. New Book. Delivered from our UK warehouse in 4 to 14 business days. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IQ-9780801436765

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 53.41
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 6.51
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

7.

Laura Engelstein
Published by Cornell University Press, United States (1999)
ISBN 10: 0801436761 ISBN 13: 9780801436765
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)

Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 1999. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Of the many sects that broke from the official Russian Orthodox church in the eighteenth century, one was universally despised. Its members were peasants from the Russian heartland skilled in the arts of animal husbandry who turned their knives on themselves to become "eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake." Convinced that salvation came only with the literal excision of the instruments of sin, they were known as Skoptsy (the self-castrated). Their community thrived well into the twentieth century, when it was destroyed in the Stalinist Terror.In a major feat of historical reconstruction, Laura Engelstein tells the sect's astonishing tale. She describes the horrified reactions to the sect by outsiders, including outraged bureaucrats, physicians, and theologians. More important, she allows the Skoptsy a say in defining the contours of their history and the meaning behind their sacrifice. Her deft handling of their letters and notebooks lends her book unusual depth and pathos, and she provides a heartbreaking account of willing exile and of religious belief so strong that its adherents accepted terrible pain and the denial of a basic human experience. Although the Skoptsy express joy at their salvation, the words of even the most fervent believers reveal the psychological suffering of life on society's margins.No foreign tribe or exotic import, the sect drew its members from the larger peasant society where marriage was expected and adulthood began with the wedding night. Set apart by the very act that guaranteed their redemption, these "lambs of God" became adept at concealing their sectarian identity as they interacted with their Orthodox neighbors. Interaction was necessary, Engelstein explains, since the survival of the Skoptsy depended upon recruitment of new members and on success in agriculture and trade.Realizing that some prejudices have changed little over the centuries, Engelstein cautions that "we must not cast the shadow of our own distress on the story of the Skoptsy. Their physical suffering was something they willingly embraced." In Castration and the Heavenly Kingdom, she has produced a remarkable history that also illuminates the mysteries of the human heart. Seller Inventory # APC9780801436765

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 61.03
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

8.

Engelstein, Laura
Published by Cornell University Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0801436761 ISBN 13: 9780801436765
New Hardcover Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
California Books
(MIAMI, FL, U.S.A.)

Book Description Cornell University Press, 1999. Condition: New. This book is printed on demand. Seller Inventory # I-9780801436765

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 68.00
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

9.

Engelstein, Laura
ISBN 10: 0801436761 ISBN 13: 9780801436765
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
BennettBooksLtd
(San Diego, CA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # F-0801436761

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 126.65
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.95
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds