Nikolskii, Nikolai

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nikol’skii, Nikolai Mikhailovich


Born Nov. 1 (13), 1877, in Moscow; died Nov. 19, 1959, in Minsk. Soviet historian of religion, Orientalist. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Byelorussian SSR (1931); corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1946).

Nikol’skii was the son and pupil of M. V. Nikol’skii. He graduated from Moscow University in 1900. During the Revolution of 1905–07 he worked as a member of a group of lecturers under the Moscow committee of the RSDLP. From 1918 to 1922 he was a professor at the University of Smolensk, and from 1920 to 1953 a professor at the Byelorussian University in Minsk. He was director of the Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of the Byelorussian SSR from 1937 to 1953.

Nikol’skii’s main works deal with the history of religion and the church, criticism of the Bible, and the history of the ancient Orient. In his works on ancient Oriental society, he emphasized the sharp distinction between the social forms of Oriental society and those of classical society. He also wrote on the history of the Russian Orthodox Church and Byelorussian folklore. He took an active part in the dissemination of scientific atheism. In a number of popular works he revealed the social roots of Judaism and Christianity.

Nikol’skii was awarded two Orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and a number of medals.


Tsar’ David i psalmy. St. Petersburg, 1908.
Drevnii Vavilon. Moscow, 1913.
Drevnii Izrail’, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1922.
Istoriia russkoi tserkvi, 2nd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1931.
Chastnoe zemlevladenie i zemlepol’zovanie v drevnem Dvurech’e. Minsk, 1948.
“Znachenie problemy obshchinnogo byta v Assirii dlia izucheniia sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoi istorii narodov Drevnego Vostoka.” Uch. zap. Belorus, un-ta, 1953, issue 16.


Lur’e, I. M. “Sorokaletie nauchnoi i obshchestvenno-pedagogicheskoi deiatel’nosti akad. N. M. Nikol’skogo.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1940, nos. 3–4.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.