An Agnostic Approach to Ivan the Terrible Cover Image

An Agnostic Approach to Ivan the Terrible
An Agnostic Approach to Ivan the Terrible

Author(s): Charles J. Halperin
Subject(s): 16th Century
Published by: RussianStudiesHu
Keywords: Muscovy; Ivan the Terrible; oprichnina; Simeon Bekbulatovich; Kazan’; Livonian War; insanity

Summary/Abstract: In order to demonstrate that everything significant about Ivan’s life is contested, this article attempts to catalog as many as possible of the contested major issues touching Ivan. The author defines what we do not know about Ivan as everything that is uncertain, disputed, contested, problematic, or unexplained, even or especially if some historians think we know it but cannot “prove” it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Consequently, the author is conflating problems of source provenance, definition of concepts, interpretation, context, contradiction, and comparison, and thus reducing suggestive analysis and probable explanation to the unknown. The author has organized this survey of our ignorance under thematic rubrics: Sources, Ivan’s Life, Political History, Social History, Religion and the Church, Economic History, Foreign Policy, and Ivan’s Legacy. Any historian who proposes to study Ivan should begin by realizing the degree of uncertainty attached to historical studies of his life and reign.

  • Issue Year: 2020
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 151-171
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: English