Professor Thomson deals here with the origins of Armenian Christian literature and its development as an individual literary culture. At the same time, these studies make available to students of Patristics and Byzantine history some of the wealth of information preserved in the Armenian sources. One set of articles, focusing on the question of origins, looks at the influence and use made of Christian Syriac and Greek writings, both theological and historical, as well as those of late classical antiquity. Others examine how the Armenians viewed themselves in their ambiguous position between Byzantium and Iran, and how those views were expressed in their historical writing. A key theme, as the author would see it, is the formulation of a ’received tradition’, and the ways in which later writers interacted with it and used it, removed from its original context, to create their own images of Armenian individuality.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; The origins of Caucasian civilization: the Christian component; The Armenian image in classical texts; Mission, conversion and Christianization: the Armenian example; The formation of the Armenian literary tradition; Jerusalem and Armenia; A medieval Armenian view of the physical world: the cosmology of Vardan Arewelc’i in his Chronicle; The Maccabees in early Armenian historiography; Number symbolism and patristic exegesis in some early Armenian writers; Architectural symbolism in classical Armenian literature; Muhammad and the origin of Islam in Armenian literary tradition; ’Let Now the Astrologers Stand Up’: the Armenian Christian reaction to astrology and divination; The fathers in early Armenian literature; The transformation of Athanasius in Armenian theology; The Armenian version of Ps. Dionysius Areopagita; The Armenian version of David’s Definitions of Philosophy; The Armenian version of the Georgian Chronicles; Some philosophical terms in the Teaching of Gregory; Gregory of Narek’s Commentary on the Song of Songs; Vardan’s Historical Compilation and its sources; Index.