The reign of Peter the Great (1672-1725) was marked by an unprecedented wave of reform in Russia. This book provides an innovative reappraisal of the Petrine Age, in which hitherto neglected aspects of the tsar’s transformation of his country are studied. More specifically, the reforms enacted by the tsar are assessed in light of the religious notion of instauration – a belief in the restoration of Adamic knowledge in the last age – and a historical and cultural analysis of the impact of Western esotericism at the Russian court. This book will appeal to scholars of Russian history and religion, as well as being of wider interest to those studying Western esotericism in Early Modern and eighteenth-century Europe.
Robert Collis, Ph. D. (2008) in History, University of Turku, is Leverhulme Research Fellow at The University of Sheffield.
"Detailed and thoughtprovoking, this book will no doubt generate a lively debate on Petrine ideology."
Endre Sashalmi, University of Pécs, Hungary,
Slavonica, Vol 19 (2013)
"The book is at its most successful when highlighting both the use of eschatological imagery in Petrine Russia, and the openness of the Petrine court to alchemical, astrological and scientific ideas. The exposition of this multi-layered mixture of ideas makes for a fascinating read and successfully articulates the chief claim of the book, which is that the Petrine court was neither secular, nor scientific in a positivistic sense."
Jo Hedesan, University of Oxford,
Ambix, Vol.61, No.1
"Robert Collis must be applauded for amassing in a single well-indexed volume so much primary material relating to lesser known aspects of the Russian and larger European cultural world at a critical time in its history."
James Cracraft, University of Illinois, Chicago,
Slavic Review, Vol.72, Issue 2
Those interested in eighteenth-century Russian history, the history of Western esotericism, the history of religion, the history of medicine, the history of science in Russia.