Soviet Science and Post-Soviet Faith: Etigelov’s imperishable body

by Justine Buck Quijada

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By Justine Buck Quijada In Buryatia, the imperishable body of Dashi-Dorzho Etigelov, a prerevolutionary Buddhist monk, is said to be a “scientifically proven miracle” endowed with healing powers. I argue that this claim provides a focal point for the renegotiation of Soviet discourses on science and religion. I demonstrate that Soviet modernist discourse produced religion and science as mutually constitutive categories. Although subsequent political transformations have shifted the valences of religion and science, this mutually constitutive relationship remains central to understanding health, healing, and religious practices in post-Soviet Russia. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1548-1425.2011.01354.x/abstract

Crowds waiting to see Etigelov. Maidari festival, Ivolginsky monastery, Buryatia, July 2005. Photo by Roberto Quijada.
Crowds waiting to see Etigelov. Maidari festival, Ivolginsky monastery, Buryatia, July 2005. Photo by Roberto Quijada.

Dashi-Dorzho Etigelov, Ivolginsky monastery, Buryatia, September 2005. Photo taken by Roberto Quijada, with the permission of the Etigelov Institute.
Dashi-Dorzho Etigelov, Ivolginsky monastery, Buryatia, September 2005. Photo taken by Roberto Quijada, with the permission of the Etigelov Institute.