History from the Closet

Do you searched your closet soon? There are many covered with dust books, antiques, scrolls. Let's open them. Let's see what we can find.

Location: Balkans, New Europe

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Revival versus Renaissance

My yesterday speculation about the taller than two meters (Hesychast?) monks didn't leave me all the morning at ease. Recurrently my thoughts returned to this Mediaeval epoch, to that troubled times. I thought about one essay I read long ago, which made indelible mark in my mind. Probably it's time to share something what impressed me deeply.

I'll translate two paragraphs from "Rev. Grigorius Sinait and his Spiritual Successors" by Father Peter (Pigol') - the original text is in Russian.

The XIV-th century in the human history is marked with extreme instability, social lability, sharp political and ideological struggle. Describing this period, G. M. Prohorov writes: "In the history of European social awareness, XIV-th century completes the millennia long kingdom of Mediaeval values. The Renaissance gained ground - the revival of the Pagan antiquity, as an internal awareness, is in fact the dialectical completion of European Middle Ages, following the internal logic of its progress. The Godlike Man as a supreme "regalian" social value was being displaced by the (only) Man, the State, the People." [91, p.3] The drive toward the Pagan antiquity restoration inevitably dragged along the ideological crisis, which fireplace in the East European Orthodox countries was Byzantium. "The ideological crisis, during which was revised the Byzantium culture, was in fact - sais G. M. Prohorov - a clash between two counteractive individualist trends: the Rationalistic Humanism and the Contemplative Hesychasm." [91, p.4]

This clash was expressed in the Hesychast disputes carried out at 30-60-ies of XIV-th century in Byzantium. The contemporary scientists make an conclusion, that these disputes laid the foundation of a new epoch in human history. This is the reason for the deepest interest on all the processes being performed at that time. According to the scientist's opinion, the new epoch can be characterized with the arising of two spiritually-cultural trends with their own notions about the human goals and purpose. The Hesychast disputes, as argues G. M. Prohorov, "were the key event for meeting and separation of the two European Revivals in the very beginning of their path." [91, p.8] Every trend have had its own direction: one of the trends went the exoteric way and became known in the history as the West European Renaissance; the other one - the Orthodox Revival - went the esoteric way.

Well, I have to add that the quoted reference is from: Prohorov G. M., "The Cultural Peculiarity of the Kulikov Battle Epoch", TODRL. L., 1979, Vol. 34, pp. 3-17. Unfortunately I'm unable to find this article on the Web or on paper, so probably I have to trust the reliability of Father Peter.

Anyway, this proposed clash made me feel uneasy when I first read the essay. There were a sticky question in my mind - which of the both ways (if any) was the "right" or truthful one ? After this I read many other articles, essays and books, and now I feel confident, I know my path, my direction in the search for truth. Do you ?

A quick follow-up: I'd like to apologize to all visitors for the extremely wrong misspelling of one key word in last two installments. I wrote "Isihasm" "Isihast" instead of "Hesychasm" and "Hesychast". Please, forgive my ignorrance. I already changed all the wrong spelled words. This unintentional mistake gave me a big lesson on the way of researching and writing the entries in this Blog.

Thank you.


Anonymous NMS said...

Was Edgar Cayce actually a self-practicing Hesychast? I believe I stumbled upon this phenomena on my own as well. By shutting down one's senses, one can tap into a direct line with an apparent universal flow of knowledge, something Edgar Cayce referred to the Akashic records. Has your research looked into this possibility?

6:20 AM  

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