Byzantine Hermeneutics and Pedagogy in the Russian North: Monks and Masters at the Kirillo-Belozerskii Monastery, 1397-1501

University of Toronto Press (2007)
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The Kirillov Monastery at White Lake in the far north of the Muscovite state was home to the greatest library, and perhaps the only secondary school, in all of medieval Russia. This volume reconstructs the educational activities of the spiritual fathers and heretofore unknown teachers of that monastery. Drawing on extensive archival research, published records, and scholarship from a range of fields, Robert Romanchuk demonstrates how different habits of reading and interpretation at the monastery answered to different social priorities. He argues that 'spiritual' and 'worldly' studies were bound to the monastery's two main forms of social organization, semi-hermitic and communal. Further, Romanchuk contextualizes such innovative phenomena as the editing work of the monk Efrosin and the monastery's strikingly sophisticated library catalogue against the development of learning at Kirillov itself in the fifteenth century, moving the discussion of medieval Russian book culture in a new direction. The first micro-historical 'ethnology of reading' in the Early Slavic field, Byzantine Hermeneutics and Pedagogy in the Russian North will prove fascinating to western medievalists, Byzantinists, Slavists, and book historians.



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