Webinar

Death and Resurrection of God: Life in the Post-Secular World

Jan 24, 2021

In the annals of human history the twentieth century could well be remembered as the “death of God,” foreseen in the writings of a German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), and manifested in world wars, totalitarian ideologies, concentration camps, and mass murder. At the center of cultural debates and political maneuverings of that century stood the Soviet Union – the unique atheist empire in world history. It may have seemed back then that organized religion will fade away and vanish altogether. However, it was the communist block that declined and collapsed, and on its ruins, humanity witnessed the resurgence of traditional religions.

In this program the Russian American philosopher of culture Mikhail Epstein discusses our “post-secular” age, including the concept of “minimal religion,” as the transition from atheism to post–atheist spirituality. Prof Epstein introduced his idea of “minimal religion” in his books Religion after Atheism: New Possibilities for Theology (AST–press, 2013); and The Phoenix of Philosophy: Russian Thought of the Late Soviet Period (1953-1991) (Bloomsbury, 2019).

The interview with Prof. Mikhail Epstein is conducted by Dr. Mikhail Sergeev, co-chair of the Department of Religion, Theology, and Philosophy at the Wilmette Institute.

Contributors

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Mikhail Epstein

Mikhail N. Epstein (b. 1950) is a Russian–American philosopher, cultural and literary scholar, and essayist. He is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Cultural Theory and Russian Literature at Emory University (USA). From 2012 to 2015, he served as Professor and Founding Director of the Centre for Humanities Innovation at Durham University (UK). Epstein's research interests include new directions in the humanities and methods of intellectual creativity; contemporary philosophy and theology, in particular, the philosophy of culture and language; the poetics and history of Russian literature; postmodernism; the semiotics of everyday life, and the evolution of language. Epstein has authored 35 books and more than 800 articles and essays, some of which have been translated into 24 languages. Epstein is а recipient of Andrei Bely Award (St. Petersburg, 1991), the prize of the London Institute of Social Inventions for intellectual creativity (1995), as well as the International Essay competition award (Berlin-Weimar, 1999), Liberty Prize (New York, 2000), and the journals Zvezda (2000) and Znanie-sila (2011) awards. The most complete bibliography of his works and chronology of his scholarly activity is in Homo Scriptor Festschrift in Honor of M.N. Epshtein (Moscow: NLO, 2020).

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Mikhail Yu. Sergeev, PhD

WI Department Coordinator (Religion, Theology, and Philosophy)

Mikhail Sergeev (b. 1960) – Ph.D. in philosophy of religion (1997, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA); historian of religion, philosopher, writer. Sergeev teaches history of religions, philosophy, and contemporary art at the University of Arts in Philadelphia. He served as co-chair of the department of religion, philosophy, and theology at Wilmette Institute (2017–21). The author of more than two hundred scholarly, journalistic, and creative works, Sergeev published them in the United States, Canada, Japan, Poland, Greece, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Uzbekistan, and Russia. Some of his articles were translated into Polish and Japanese, and his books were reviewed in Germany, Japan, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and the United States. He has authored and edited twelve books, including the monograph, Theory of Religious Cycles: Tradition, Modernity, and the Bahá’í Faith, (Brill, 2015) and his latest, Russian Philosophy in the Twenty-First Century: An Anthology (Brill, 2020).See Faculty Bio

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