Fr. W. Schmidt is usually associated with the theory of primitive monotheism, diffusionism, and the concept of cultural circles. His impressive attempt to do both Christian apologetics and empirical science in the field of ethnology and religious studies generated a broad discussion concerning the limits of science, the role of presuppositions in scientific knowledge, the problem of evolution, etc. The article examines the Russian contribution to that discussion. First of all, it presents Schmidt’s main ideas that became a topic of discussion in Russian science, then main historical antecedents of their perception, and the initial, prerevolutionary reactions on them. Afterwards the author’s attention concentrates on the main tendencies in the discussion concerning Schmidt in the period extending from the 1920s to the 2000s.
[Wilhelm Schmidt, primeval monotheism, militant atheism, ethnology, religious studies in the USSR]