Redeeming Byzantine Epistolography
Author: Hatlie, Peter
Source: Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Volume 20, 1996 , pp. 213-248(36)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:The Russian scholar V.A. Smetanin, whose work during the 1970s and 1980s dealt exclusively with Byzantine epistolography, would clearly like to think of himself as an ‘epistolologist', occupied in the specialised field of Byzantine ‘epistolology'. Epistolology is an auxiliary discipline within history, according to Smetanin, which encompasses both theoretical and practical concerns. Its theoretical interests are to work out methods for, (a1) drawing boundaries between letters and other historical documents, (b1) dating letters on the basis of their epistolological markings (epistolologicheskich priznakov), and (c1) understanding the introduction and assimilation of correspondence into learned discourse. On its practical side, epistolology aims to solve problems of, (a2) the immediate components (nepocredstvennoe vychlenenie) of correspondence, (b2) its architectonics, and finally (c2), the introduction and assimilation of the epistolographic legacy into learned discourse. Smetanin opens a middle road within epistolology, too, in effect a series of ‘steps’ (stupenich) which converge on both theory and practice. Thus the so-called φo (a3) takes in the question of the distinguishing features of epistolography, φoέ ευ(b3) works out its manner or conduct and φάo (c3) studies its function or use.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1996-01-01