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Religious Cycles: Tradition, Modernity, And The Bahá’í Faith

Nov 10, 2019

In this talk, Mikhail Sergeev offers a new interpretation of the Soviet period of Russian history as a phase within the religious evolution of humankind by developing a theory of religious cycles, which he applies to modernity and to all the major world faiths of Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. Sergeev argues that, in the course of its evolution, religion passes through six common phases – formative, orthodox, classical, reformist, critical, and post-critical. Modernity, which was started by the European Enlightenment, represents the critical phase of Christianity, a systemic crisis that could be overcome with the appearance of a new religious movement such as the Bahá’í Faith, which offers a spiritual extension of the modern worldview.


Mikhail Yu. Sergeev, PhD

WI Department Co-Chair (Religion, Theology, and Philosophy)

Mikhail Sergeev was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, where he received his bachelor’s degree in international journalism from Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) in 1982. In 1990 he moved to the United States to pursue his doctoral studies. In 1993 he received his master’s degree in religious studies and in 1997 his doctorate in philosophy of religion from Temple University, Philadelphia. Sergeev works as an adjunct professor of religion and philosophy at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he received The President’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2010). He also co-chairs and serves on the faculty of the Department of Religion, Philosophy, and Theology at the Wilmette Institute as well as on the faculty of Temple University in Philadelphia. The author of more than two hundred scholarly, journalistic, and creative works, Sergeev published and presented them in Canada, Europe—the Czech Republic, Greece, the Netherlands, and Poland—Russia, and the United States. Some of his articles were translated into Polish, 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, Russia Abroad: The Anthology of Contemporary Philosophical Thought (M-Graphics, 2019). In 2017 at the International Festival “Visit to Muses,” in Greece, he was awarded the Nodar Dzhin Literary Prize for the best work in philosophy: Grand Prix in the category “journalism/scholarship.”See Faculty Bio

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