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God, Tsar, and PeopleThe Political Culture of Early Modern Russia$
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Daniel B. Rowland

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501752094

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501752094.001.0001

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Biblical Military Imagery in the Political Culture of Early Modern Russia

Biblical Military Imagery in the Political Culture of Early Modern Russia

The Blessed Host of the Heavenly Tsar

(p.127) Chapter 6 Biblical Military Imagery in the Political Culture of Early Modern Russia
God, Tsar, and People

Daniel B. Rowland

Cornell University Press

This chapter begins with Neil Postman's review in The Atlantic about the importance of mutually shared stories in the lives of nations, disciplines, and people. It explores what stories early modern Russians told themselves about their state and discusses why it existed and deserved their allegiance. It also examines the images Muscovites have of themselves as a political entity, the story they saw in history, and the role they envisioned for themselves. The chapter looks at one set of overlapping biblical images that depicted the Muscovite state as a re-embodiment of the ancient Israelite army as an earthly representation of the forces of God engaged in a cosmic struggle against the forces of evil. It emphasizes Muscovy's need for stories about the state that helped to generate a consensus that made its weak government possible.

Keywords:   modern Russians, Muscovites, biblical images, Israelite army, cosmic struggle

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