Critical edition of the Slavonic text of the Catholic Epistles

  • Cleminson, Ralph (PI)

    Project Details


    The object of this study is the Apostolos, that is to say the Acts and Epistles (or to put it another way, the entire New Testament without the Gospels and Revelation), which in the Eastern tradition normally exist as a single volume. No text could be more more fundamentally embedded into the culture of the Orthodox Slavs: everyone, literate or not, would have heard it read weekly at the Liturgy, and those most active in the development of written culture, in the monasteries, would have encountered it almost every day. Nevertheless it remains for the most part unedited, and the first requirement for its study is to establish what it actually was: what text actually circulated in a given time and place, and how it developed in its historical and cultural context.

    What is therefore needed is a critical edition, that is to say an edition which presents the text as a whole and not as represented by a particular manuscript. This consists of a base text, which either attempts to reconstruct the original form of the text (not in this case a realistic aim) or to present a neutral text, a common denominator purged of the idiosyncrasies and deviations of individual witnesses, accompanied by an apparatus containing the textually significant variants that have arisen in the course of transition. So far the only critical edition of the Slavonic Apostolos has been that published in 1892-1906 by G. A. Voskresenskij, which covers only the first five of the Epistles of St Paul.

    To edit the entire Apostolos would be an enormous task, the work of many years; the present project therefore confines itself to the Catholic Epistles, a portion of text sufficiently large to be significant, but sufficiently small to be manageable. The edition will be based on approximately one hundred manuscripts from the earliest times to the sixteenth century, giving a complete coverage of the the variation in the text during the Middle Ages throughout the Orthodox Slavonic world.

    In the course of the research a number of questions fundamental to the history of the Slavonic Apostolos will be addressed. These include the nature of the translation(s) made and their relationship to the Greek original and to each other; the nature of the transmission of the text in the Slavonic context; the place of the Apostolos within liturgical practice and the influence of the latter on its development; the language of the Apostolos and cultural attitudes towards the written word. The conclusions reached will be presented in the study that will accompany the edition.

    The research will make full use of new technology: the text and variants will be electronically encoded, and techniques developed by the researcher used both to assist in evaluating variants and in generating the critical edition. It is intended additionally to make to raw data available in electronic form after the end of the project for the benefit of future researchers.

    The outcomes will be of interest to scholars working in the fields of Slavonic Studies, Biblical Studies, linguistics, history and cultural studies. The should also have a wider resonance in the modern world in the context of Eastern European nations' rediscovery of their cultural and religious heritage. It is particularly important in the re-definition of national identities that these perceptions should be supported by sound scholarship, and this research should assist in providing such a basis.
    Effective start/end date1/02/1031/05/10


    • Arts & Humanities Research Council: £35,288.00


    • Languages & Literature
    • Russian, Slavonic & E European


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