Principles of Quoting the Holy Scriptures in Works by 17th Century Ukrainian Authors: Approaching the Issue

Larysa Dovga, Roman Kyselov


Ukrainian attitudes towards the holy scriptures, and the ways in which they were quoted and referred to, indicate the specificity of the Ukrainian intellectual culture and the range of freedom that this culture set as a frame for its own development. The Bible quotations used in the selected 17th century texts in Old Ukrainian (prosta mova) and Church Slavonic show that the scriptures were treated by Ukrainian religious intellectuals as the most authoritative source for legitimizing new ideas and concepts which were adopted from the texts of non-Orthodox authors and were to be integrated in the Orthodox theological discourse. At the same time, the authors did not feel excessive reverence towards any of the printed versions of holy scriptures and admitted independent translations (from Latin, Church Slavonic, Polish) as well as the possibility of specifying meanings. What is most significant was the comparison of different codices of the scriptures in search of the one they considered most favorable for their goals. It is worth emphasizing that the Church Slavonic translation of the Bible served as one of the possible versions and not as a sacred literary canon. If needed it was quite acceptable to translate the holy scriptures into the Old Ukrainian literary language, based on vernacular practice and easily understood by ordinary lay believers.


Translations of holy scriptures; biblical quotations; Ostroh Bible; Old Ukrainian language; Inokentij Gizel’; Meletij Smotryc’kyj; Kyrylo Trankvilion Stavrovec’kyj

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