Historical and apocalyptic literature

Owning the Byzantine Literary Tradition: Balkan Adaptation and Transformation

  • Summary/Abstract

    The process of Byzantine intellectual influence on the newly baptized Slavic states has attracted considerable scholarly attention. However, the question of the remodelling of Byzantine literary traditions in the course of their transmission to the Slavs awaits a comprehensive study. Our paper focuses on literary genres and particular texts which undergo changes in their generic characteristics and function when translated into Slavonic. We analyse the appearance of hybrid literary forms unknown in Byzantium as well as the refashioning of the cults of certain saints and the texts related to them. Special attention is paid to historical-apocalyptic literature, to some short narrative forms, and apocrypha (translations and compilations). Observations are also made regarding the tradition of Holy Foolery, which undergoes a variety of transformations in different cultures. A key illustration is St Andrew the Fool for Christ’s sake, whose Byzantine Life is not only translated several times into Slavonic but is also remodelled into a constellation of texts: didactic, apocalyptic, questions and answers, etc. Our principal goal is to trace the causes of the rethinking of the well-established and authoritative Byzantine tradition, looking into inter-textual and extra-textual reasons for the transformations.


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