Philosophical Developments in Armenia during the Middle Ages

Open to the Public
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
Friday, November 23, 2012 - 1:30pm
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Friday, November 23, 2012 - 1:30pm to 3:30pm

Starting from the very beginning of the 5th century, when the Armenian alphabet was invented, the reception of the ancient Greek philosophical heritage is notable in the Armenian milieu; it prospered here thanks to the Armenian authors and through the translations into Armenian of Greek texts. Quite a large number of translations (more extensively in the 6th and 7th centuries), which covered not only philosophical but also biblical, historical, liturgical, patristic, medical etc. writings were made in both ways: as sensus de sensu as well as verbum e verbo. The so-called Armenian Hellenizing School was responsible for the latter translations. The talk will focus on the activity of the school of philosopher David Anhakht (the Invincible) in the sixth century in Armenia and on some genuine philosophical developments in the later centuries. The questions connected with the attempt at determining the status of philosophy for theology in Armenia, and how it influenced the Armenian theological literature, and diversity of literary forms (preserved mainly in Armenian sources) employed for philosophical purposes will be treated at some length as well.

Manea Erna Shirinian is full professor of Armenian and Byzantine Studies at the Erevan State University (having taught Greek, Latin, Commentaries on the Bible, Armenian Canon Law, History of Dogmas, Armenian Interpreters of the Bible) and the Head of "Researching and Editing of Ancient Armenian Texts" Department at the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts - Mashtots' Matenadaran. Her academic research profile includes as follows: Early Byzantine and Armenian historiography, Late Antique, Byzantine and Armenian philosophy, Byzantine and Armenian theology, Eastern Christian Studies, Greek and Armenian manuscripts. She has published books and articles on the Armenian translations of the Hellenizing School and textual criticism (Socrates Scholasticus' Ecclesiastical History; [Aristotle] De vitiis et virtutibus; Vita Silvestri), Byzantine-Armenian Cultural and Historical connections (Patriarch Photius; The Armenian Version of the Greek Ecclesiastical Canons; The Formation and development of the Apostolic Sees of the Church), the Armenian reception of the Greek philosophical and patristic theological heritage in Late Antiquity (Philo in Armenian translation, Pseudo-Zeno, Anonymous Philosophical Treatise; David the Invincible's Commentary on Aristotle's Categories; The Book of Causes). She is the editor of the Ashtanak (an Armenological periodical) and the three-volume periodical Armeniaca (English summaries of Armenological publications in Armenia). She is also the Coordinator of "Orthodox (Russian) Encylopaedia" in Armenia, and Vice-President of the Armenian National Commitee of Byzantine Studies.