The "Text Interpretation in the Culture of Christian East: Translation, Commentary, Poetic Treatment" Conference
From September 14th to September 16th, the "Text Interpretation in the Culture of Christian East: Translation, Commentary, Poetic Treatment" Conference was held in the State Hermitage Museum. This Conference was dedicated to questions surrounding Eastern Christian culture, and particular attention was paid, as the name suggests, to the interpretation of texts by various churches and traditions. The word "interpretation" is used here not exclusively in the literary sense; it also includes the representative arts. It is precisely for this reason that employees of the Hermitage participated in the Conference, in particular, specialists in the fine and applied arts of Byzantine Empire and other countries that were shaped by Eastern Christian culture. In addition to the Russian participants, the Conference was attended by specialists from Germany, Bulgaria, Italy, the United States and Norway.
In his opening words, the director of the State Hermitage, M.B. Piotrovsky, outlined the prospects for the study of Eastern Christian culture in the Hermitage and the primary projects being carried out by the museumís newly formed Eastern Christianity Council. The Hermitage plans to organize regular Conferences dedicated to this subject, and their proceedings will be published in a collection "The Christian East". M.B. Piotrovsky also noted that the term "Christian East" ought to be understood in the broadest possible sense, and include the Middle East, the Byzantine Empire, the Caucuses and the countries where Slavonic writing systems are used.
The participantsí presentations ranged widely across the central issues of Byzantine history, culture and literary tradition. Some of them were dedicated to examining problems connected with the history of church literature of the Slavonic countries and its interaction with other Eastern Christian traditions, most notably the Byzantine tradition.
Other topics of the Conference were the Syrian written tradition and
its connection with the literature of other Christian countries, research
into the Syrian apocrypha and hagiographical works and the relationship
between the period of the "Syrian Renaissance"
The presentations also addressed the development of Arabic Christianity,
the Ethiopian and Georgian traditions, the problems of the transformation
of various literary plots,