Colonel V. A. Pashkov: Leader of Russia’s Lost Reformation
The reviewer considers Filipp Nikitin’s new book on Colonal Vasilii A. Pashkov, a Russian Evangelical leader in the 1870s and 1880s. A rich Russian aristocrat and landowner, Pashkov was an unlikely missionary, but his conversion at the hands of the British Lord Radstock in 1874 led to a lifetime of preaching and charity among both social elites and the lowest members of society. Although initially not in conflict with the Russian Orthodox Church, Pashkov’s increasing prominence and his efforts to unite Russia’s various Evangelical movements led to his exile in 1884, where he remained for the rest of his life. The reviewer compliments Nikitin’s comprehensive use of archival sources, drawn from a huge number of collections in Russia and abroad. This makes his book a significant contribution to the historiography, much of which is fragmented or out of date. The author’s decision to release previously unpublished documents in the book’s appendix is an excellent contribution. However, the reviewer points out that Nikitin quotes too much from and relies too heavily on source material, which drowns out his authorial voice: it is argued that the author should spend more time analysing the sources rather than just quoting them. The reviewer also suggests bringing in more contextualisation and consulting some of the recent conceptual approaches to religious biography.
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