The Christian culture of Rus (the medieval precursor of modern Russia, Ukraine and Belarus) is sometimes presented either as a reflection of an indigenous spirituality wrapped in borrowed (Byzantine) forms or, by contrast, as merely a provincial version of its Byzantine original. The essays in this volume start from the premise that neither view is adequate. The history of culture - even of a self-consciously imitative culture - involves a continual process of inevitable 'mistranslation', as the imported models are reshaped and reinterpreted according to local resources, circumstances and preconceptions. These essays explore aspects of the 'translation of culture' on several levels: from the semantic processes of the actual translation of written texts from Greek into Slavonic, through to larger issues of ideology and identity. They consider both the initial stages of such 'translation' (from Byzantium to Rus) and some of the subsequent 'retranslations' of the Byzantine heritage in the culture of Rus and - eventually - of Russia.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Byzantino-Rossika: The reception of Byzantine culture by the Slavs; The empire of the Rhomaioi as viewed from Kievan Russia: aspects of Byzantino-Russian cultural relations; Some apocryphal sources of Kievan Russian historiography; Malalas in Slavonic; An obscure sentence in the Slavonic translation of the Chronicle of John Malalas; Who was the uncle of Theodore Prodromus?; Echoes of Byzantine elite culture in 12th-century Russia?; Diplomacy and ideology: Byzantium and the Russian Church in the mid-12th century; Annotationes Byzantino-Russicae; Writing and Learning in Early Rus: Literacy and documentation in early medieval Russia; The writing in the ground: recent Soviet publications on early Russian literacy; Greek in Kievan Rus'; Booklearning and bookmen in Kievan Rus': a survey of an idea; On 'philosophy' and ’philosophers' in Kievan Rus; Perceptions and descriptions of art in pre-Mongol Rus; Borrowed time: perceptions of the past in 12th-century Rus'; The Post-Medieval Tradition: the invention of Rus(sia)(s): some remarks on medieval and modern perceptions of continuity and discontinuity; Towards post-Soviet pre-Modernism: on recent approaches to early Rus(s)ian hagiography; Nostalgia for Hell: Russian literary demonism and Orthodox tradition; Index.