What was Called as Philosophy in the “Epistle” by Klyment Smoliatych. Es-say 1: Textology and Scientific Approaches
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“Epistle” by Klyment Smoliatych, philosophy in the Kyivan Rus’, philosophy of Byzantium, understanding of philosophy, Ancient philosophy, Christian philosophy, education, wisdom, allegorical method

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Kyrychok, O. (2020). What was Called as Philosophy in the “Epistle” by Klyment Smoliatych. Es-say 1: Textology and Scientific Approaches. Multiversum. Philosophical Almanac, 2(1), 142-155. https://doi.org/10.35423/2078-8142.2020.2.1.08


The author refers to the study of the “Epistle” by Klyment Smoliatych one of the most discussed, debated and controversial texts related to the history of philosophy of Ukraine in the article. Purpose of the article is to find out what “philosophy” is in this work. Scientists have always considered the answer to this issue as a key point in assessing the degree of knowledge of the intellectuals of the Kyivan Rus’ with the philosophical knowledge of that time. So-called “discussion on philosophy” between Klyment and the Smolensk presbyter Foma is considered as the leading text plot, which will allow to finding the answer, and is reflected on pages of the “Epistle”. One of the tasks set by the author was to generalize the tradition of research on this issue starting from 1892 to the moment of opening and introduction of the text of the “Epistle” into scientific circulation. The result of the work was the conclusion that in all these studies, in particular those that were looking for an answer to the issue of understanding philosophy, reflected in the text. There is no unity. However, several alternative approaches have been clearly identified and several theses have arisen are being discussed. The leading interpretations of ideas on philosophy, allegedly contained in the “Epistle” by Klyment Smoliatych, are versions that (1) philosophy was understood as a synonym for the words “education” and “accomplishment”, and the term “philosopher” meant a person who had reached a high level of learning in Greek, classical literature and philosophy, probably at the University of Constantinople (Magnavr High School), and also that philosophy could be understood as (2) pagan wisdom, as (3) Christian, or so-called “inner” wisdom, as (4) theologism, as (5) an allegorical method of interpreting Holy Scripture (6) finding meaning in the nature of things, or (6) the so-called “pluralistic” understanding was also presented on pages of the “Epistle”. The author expresses the opinion that most likely, the “Epistle” does not contain any clear ideas on what philosophy is, and its image is rather blurred, amorphous than pluralistic, that does not clearly differentiate philosophical and non-philosophical knowledge. However, such views cannot in any way be regarded as the specificity of the Kyivan Rus’ understanding of philosophy, since they are not inherent exclusively in the Rus’ in the 12th century. This image of philosophy is quite typical for the Byzantine culture of that time, under the influence of which are both the author of the “Message”, Klyment Smoliatych and his opponent, presbyter Foma.

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