Ketevan Bezarashvili
Assoc. Prof., Dr habil. Ilia Chavchavadze State University Senior Researcher, National Centre of Manuscripts, Tbilisi, Georgia

Hellenophilism in Georgian Literature as Cultural Orientation towards Byzantine Thought: Ephrem Mtsire‘s Cultural Orientation. Part I

  • Summary/Abstract

    This paper is part of a more extensive study on the medieval Georgian writer and translator Ephrem Mtsire who continued the traditions with his works that gradually acquired clearly Hellenophile character, thus beginning the formation of Hellenophilism as a trend in Georgian literature. Hellenophilism is not considered in this paper only in its narrower linguo-literary aspect which meant attaining the formal equivalence to the original. Hellenophilism is regarded here in its wider sense of special interest of non-Greek scholars towards the thinking processes of Byzantine culture of different periods. The study of both aspects reveals the positive influence of Hellenophilism on Georgian literature. Hellenophilism as cultural orientation begins with Ephrem Mtsire‘s literary activities.

From the Old Literary Traditions to Hellenophilism in Georgian Literature: Euthymius the Athonite

  • Summary/Abstract

    This paper analyzes techniques of translation from Greek into Georgian and methods of interpolation and compilation used by the renowned Georgian translator and theologian Euthymius the Athonite of the end of the tenth and the beginning of the eleventh century, enlightener of Georgians, one of the leaders of the Athonite monastic center after Athanasius the Great, and founder of the Iviron Monastery on Mount Athos and of the Georgian theological school there. The paper discusses the corpus of translated works of Gregory the Theologian that was compiled by this Athonite monk. Two main methods of translation exploited by Euthymius the Athonite are analyzed in detail: a method of major compositional changes of the Greek original and a method of close adherence to the Greek text. Along with the analysis of Euthymius the Athonite’s conception of translation, Ketevan Bezarashvili comments the evidence in medieval Georgian manuscripts how his translation activities and production were viewed and evaluated by bookmen. In addition, she approaches the attitudes of this medieval author towards forms of medieval Christian exegesis and rhetoric written in Greek, towards the theology of Gregory of Nazianzus, secular education and knowledge.

Old Christian Hymns (Adversus Eumdem) in Byzantium and the Poetry of Georgian Romanticism

  • Summary/Abstract

    Gregory the Nazianzen's poetry was translated into Georgian several times in the 10th-13th cc. Pro-Hellenic anonymous figures alongside Gregory's gnomic poetry translated his hymnographic-confession poems for educational purposes, which had its nfluence on the Georgian poetry of the folowing periods. Comparing the 4th c. early Christian and the 19th c. Romantic poetries allows us to make the subsequent conclusion: It is evident that if in Gregory the Nazianzen's Christian poetry a person ("ego") and the implied God stand face to face to show the conflict between the man's inner world and the evil spirit as well as to reveal the hope over the transcendent, in Romantic poetry it is the faith- crushed double that stands by the person ("ego") - the other poetic "ego" (an expression of the so called poetics of doubles). Indicative of the fact that the Evil Spirit represents N. Baratashvili's inner double is the phrase "Avaunt! Begone!". We see a similar in form phrase in Gregory the Theologian's hymns presented in the article: "Go away", "Stay away from me", although, in contrast with Gregory's Christian hymns, it is in the poem of the Romantic poet that it really acquires the meaning of a double and through Biblical-Christian vocabulary creates the impression of an archetype antiquity. On the other hand, differences in meaning and Weltanshauung between Romantic and Christian poetries, basically between religious faith and "blind faith", indicate the novel, romantic revaluation of the traditional form, namely, the correlation between the person and the evil spirit, shown on the example of N. Baratashvili's one poem "Evil Spirit". This makes it essentially different from Gregory the Nazianzen's hymnographic cicle "To the Evil". The Greek toposes of the latter as well as its old Georgian translations have undeniably influenced the Georgian literature of subsequent periods.

Subscribe to Ketevan Bezarashvili