“Philosopher” and “Philosophy” in Kyivan Rus’ Written Sources: of the 11-14th centuries. The Need for a new Asking of the “Old” Question





philosophy in Byzantium, Christian philosophy, “external” philosophy, divine wisdom


The author justifies the need to return to an analysis of the meaning of such words as “philosophy” and “philosopher” in the Kyivan Rus’ written sources of the 11th–14th centuries. In the author’s view, this is explained not only by the inaccuracies the earlier research committed but also by the necessity to take contemporary achievements of Byzantine philosophical historiography into account.

The author concludes that the preserved Kyivan Rus’ written sources reflect certain Byzantine interpretations of the words “philosopher” and “philosophy” as understood within particular interpretive frameworks: philosophy may refer to a specifically “Christian” or “external” philosophy, presuppose rational or mystical comprehension of divine wisdom, become verbalized or not. Some sources probably espouse an understanding of philosophy as a practice of true life. The word “philosopher” had different connotations, as well. It referred to advisers or officeholders at the court of the Byzantine emperor, wise princes, church intellectuals, connoisseurs of biblical books, etc. The author invalidates the idea that in Kyivan Rus’, there existed a holistic understanding of philosophy and philosophers. Instead, one should interpret these words as having a limited plurality of meanings.

Author Biography

Oleksandr Kyrychok, Hr. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, NAS of Ukraine

Doctor of Sciences in Philosophy, Senior Researcher


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How to Cite

Kyrychok, O. (2021). “Philosopher” and “Philosophy” in Kyivan Rus’ Written Sources: of the 11-14th centuries. The Need for a new Asking of the “Old” Question. Sententiae, 40(1), 6–27. https://doi.org/10.31649/sent40.01.006






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