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Pigin A.V. A Narrative about a “Resurrected Woman” in the Reception of D.V. Batov, an Old Believer of Tula. Studia Litterarum, 2017, vol. 2, no 4, pp. 326–339. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2017-2-4-326-339

Author: Alexander V. Pigin
Information about the author:

Alexander V. Pigin, DSc in Philology, Professor, Leading Researcher, Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkinsky Dom) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Makarov embankment, 4, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia.

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Received: July 12, 2017
Published: December 25, 2017
Issue: 2017 Vol. 2, №4
Department: Folklore Studies
Pages: 326-339

UDK: 398.2
BBK: 82.3(2Рос=Рус)
Keywords: olklore genre of obmiraniye, visions of the otherworld, Archimandrite Macarius (Glukharyov), D.V. Batov, Old Belief.


The article deals with one of the genres of Russian folklore, the so-called obmiraniye narratives about a human soul visiting the other world during the lethargy state. It dis- cusses the problem of perception of such texts on the example of the following case study. At the turn of the century, a famous Tula-based Old Believer and publisher D.V. Batov (1825–1910) wrote a short article “On the Reading of Brochure Phrases” (reprinted as “On the Reading of Fictitious Brochures”). In this article, he strongly criticized the nar- rative about a “resurrected woman” recorded by Archimandrite Macarius (Glukharyov) of Altai in the early 1830s. In this narrative, a local Cossack’s wife sank into lethargy and was ascended to heaven where she met the Lord who heard the prayers for her and let her go back but instead ordered to bring him the soul of a different woman bearing the same name. D.V. Batov interpreted this obmiraniye narrative as sheer fiction circulated by the dominant church, alongside other fictitious stories, and causing damage to the faith. The article examines other D.V. Batov’s arguments against this text: the main one is dis- crepancy between the narrative and the Orthodox doctrine of the soul’s afterlife ordeals as represented in the Byzantine Life of Vassily Novy (10 th century). The Old Believer of Tula reads a text belonging to folk culture through the lenses of church literature and bookish topoi. Thus, the process of text verification by the bearer of religious conscious- ness consists in its juxtaposing with the tradition that the recipient sees as the only true one. The article also analyzes the actual obmiraniye narrative recorded by Archimandrite Macarius and finds its parallels in oral and written texts of the visionary genre.


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