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The Grammatical Exegesis in the Preslav Literary School

Авторката свързва богословската позиция на Константин Преславски и Йоан Екзарх с избора им на свободен (смислов) превод и с въвеждането на граматическа егзегеза с цел да предадат класическата  христологията на Атанасий Александрийски. Константин Преславски се ориентира към терминологията на Атанасий, свързана с благия Христос от Новия завет, вместо суровия старозаветен Бог и залегналата в латинската терминология юридическо-наказателна концепция на Тертулиан. Превеждайки Йоан Дамаскин, Йоан Екзарх се придържа към избраната и от Константин Преславски концепция на Атанасий и изоставя опеделени глави от съчинениетопоради богословска несъвместимост. Граматическата егзегеза е приложена от двамата за изразяване на опозицията „трансцендентно, божествено съществуване“ срещу „физическо, не-божествено съществуване, ограничено по форма и/или време” чрез алтернативен избор на глаголни времена или чрез създаване на лексикални двойки от теоложки антоними. Ортодоксалната „чистота“  на избрания подход  вероятно е целяла да обособи Българската църква като особено вярна на Православието, за разлика от съвременните ѝ Ариански църкви на Запад и на Изток.Смяната на теоложката парадима след 927 г. се отразява на преводаческия „регистър“ и неологизмите за божествения свят на Тройцата са отстранени.

A new interpretation of the Preslav revision of the liturgical books and a couple of non-liturgical collections of the ninth and 10th centuries is discussed in the context of two different translation concepts related to two different hermeneutical traditions, namely those of Athanasius of Alexandria and John Damascene, respectively. The shift from the theological concept of Athanasius to the concept of John Damascene was reflected in the two different trends in Preslav translations, usually designated as idiomatic and literal.

The theological lexicon emerging from the Cyrillo-Methodian liturgical translations was systematized by Constantine of Preslav and John the Exarch according to two criteria. The first criterion was to shift focus from the conceptual apparatus of the Old Testament to the mild moral of the New Testament. The second criterion was related to the doctrine of Athanasius of Alexandria and the introduction of a theological register as a result of the implementation of grammatical exegesis. John the Exarch and Constantine of Preslav employed linguistic exegesis for the antonymy of "transcendent, divine existence" versus "natural, non-divine existence, limited in time and space", developing theological doublets for each dimension or using alternative tense forms. The next generation of Preslav translators assumed the theological formula of John Damascene while attempting to introduce theological standardization and harmonization together with their contemporary Byzantine practice.

The present paper aims at offering a new interpretation of the Preslav revision of the Cyrillo-Methodian liturgical books1 and a couple of non-liturgical collections of the ninth and 10th centuries. The vast number of late copies with probable Preslav protographs may be proof that a library of the works of classical orthodox authors had been selected and translated, among them works by Athanasius of Alexandria, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory the Theologian, Ephrem the Syrian, Maxim the Confessor, Theodore of Raita, John Damascene, and others constituting the so-called summa theologica. I claim that the two different concepts of translation practiced by the writers of the Preslav Literary School2 are related to two different hermeneutical trends supported by Athanasius of Alexandria (295-373) and John Damascene (650-753), respectively. Following Athanasius of Alexandria, the two most prominent representatives of the Early Preslav Literary School (c. 893-927), John the Exarch3 and Constantine of Preslav4, transferred the idea of grammatical exegesis (hereafter GE)5 from the early Byzantine patristic into medieval Bulgarian literature while extending the phenomenon to a new theological register by means of Old Church Slavonic grammar and lexicon.

John the Exarch and Constantine of Preslav employed LE for the antonymy of 'transcendent, divine existence' versus 'natural, non-divine existence, limited in time and space', developing theological doublets for each dimension or using alternative tense forms. The theological register occurred as a result of the implementation of this translation concept. The subsequent discussion draws upon examples from the translations made by Constantine of Preslav (Athanasius of Alexandria’s Orationes contra Arianos (or Four Discourses against the Arians) and John the Exarch (Bogoslovie/Nebesa, part of John Damascene’s Expositio fidei, and Hexaemeron).

In my attempt to relate the lexicographic concordance in the different translations of John Damascene’s Expositio Fidei by John the Exarch6 and by a second translator7 with two different theological concepts, I will provide preliminary evidence for the hypothesis that the two different trends in the Preslav corpus of translations, usually designated as idiomatic (e.g., the translations by John the Exarch and Constantine of Preslav) or literal (by later, unknown translators), reflected a shift in the theological concept. The original theological concept, introduced by John the Exarch and Constantine of Preslav, was based on ideas put forward in the dogmatic works of Athanasius of Alexandria. These two men of letters used as their basis for translation the original works of the Fathers of the Orthodox Church instead of the works of their contemporary Byzantine writers or compilators. Philological concerns related to the Orthodox Christological interpretations suggested a trend to differentiate the independent Preslav Church from other contemporary churches8. In line with this trend, Constantine of Preslav changed the content of the Greek Triodion, adding his own compositions and weaving his "signature" acrostics into the structure of the hymnody (Попов 1985). John the Exarch introduced his own concept of meaningful translation9.

In my opinion, the next generation of Preslav translators (c. 927-971) assumed the theological formula of John Damascene, while attempting to introduce theological standardization with the contemporary Byzantine theological norms10. Judging by the content of the chapters of Expositio fidei that had not been translated or used by John the Exarch (e.g., chapters 59, 60, and 91), probably deliberately so, the theological concept supported by John Damascene might not have been entirely consistent with the linguistic exegesis introduced by the two Preslav authors (see a more detailed discussion in section 3).

In later copies or miscellanea of Preslav translations (11th-14th centuries), the same Preslav vocabulary was applied to express two different theological concepts, though exemplifying strikingly different interpretations of the same words. Many neologisms coined by John the Exarch and Constantine of Preslav were forsaken by the translators or copyists due to the shift to the dogmatic of John Damascene.

1. The theological concept related to the theology of Athanasius of Alexandria

Preslav was the center of orthographic and linguistic reform of the first Gospel translations, but the theological foundations of the Preslav revision have not yet been the focus of scholarly interest. I claim that the theological lexicon emerging from the Cyrillo-Methodian liturgical translations (including the Gospel, the Psalter, and the Apostle) was systematized in Preslav according to two criteria.

The first criterion was to shift focus from the conceptual apparatus of the Old Testament, based on the stringent Jewish law, to the mild moral of the New Testament and its generous Christ. This lexical revision will be illustrated briefly with examples from the Psalter's quotations included by Constantine of Preslav in his Didactic Gospel. The oldest copy of the Didactic Gospel (XII c.) is published by Tihova (Тихова 2012).

The second criterion was connected with the doctrine of Athanasius of Alexandria. In order to justify Athanasius’ dogma, Constantine of Preslav and John the Exarch introduced two forms of terminology denoting two opposite entities: the transcendent being of the eternal Trinity versus the existence of the created physical world, limited in time. They were self-conscious of their translation concept. I will refer to the result of the application of their method as their theological register. This term for spiritual language covers a set of linguistic tools and linguistic symbols dealing with a certain duality in the Slavonic language without corresponding doublets in Greek.

In his Orationes contra Arianos, Athanasius used grammatical forms to signify the divinity of God's Son. He followed the language pattern in John's Gospel 1:1-4, using imperfect for the divine Trinity and aorist for the physical creation of God or the deed of the temporarily incarnated Son (Migne 1887: 147). The strategy of Constantine of Preslav and John the Exarch was twofold. First, they transferred the use of preterita from Greek, following the practice of Athanasius and the first Slavonic translation of John's Gospel. Then, turning to the Orthodox heritage of the fourth century, they elaborated the terms for concepts of the Trinity (as three eternal existences in one being), the Incarnation of the Word and the Deification of Man. The recognition that God-Father and God's Son as incarnated Word were "of one being" settled the Arian controversy.

The first set of the Old Church Slavonic neologisms might have been focused on the Word and the Son as begotten of the Father in Heaven ineffably, inexplicably, incomprehensibly, and eternally. Then, the two writers introduced the opposition transcendent, divine versus natural, not-divine, limited in time and space on all linguistic levels as a conceptual model of their translation. In the framework of such dogmatic antonymy, the two Preslav writers developed different terms for Jesus’ Incarnation and Resurrection, compared to Man's birth and the exaltation of Man's kind soul to God.

The main purpose of the present paper is to identify the two writers' theological register, implemented on grammatical and lexical levels.

1.1 Inventing the Slavonic Orthodox exegesis

The theological concept based on Athanasius of Alexandria was probably selected c. 893 in connection with the translation and compilation of the Didactic Gospel by Constantine of Preslav (based on Twelve Sermons by Cyril of Alexandria and Homilies on the Gospel by John Chrysostom) and John Exarch's compilation entitled Theology (Bogoslovie/Nebesa, part of John Damascene’s Expositio fidei).

In Constantine of Preslav's Didactic Gospel, the Gospel and Psalter quotations along with their elucidations constituted the basis for the correct or incorrect nature of various readings. The revised wording of the quotations from the Psalter found in the Didactic Gospel11 points to a specifically adopted approach to translation and revision with terminology following not the Old Testament (and the terminology developed by Tertullian) but the New Testament (and the Greek terms created by Irenaeus and Athanasius)12. Theological terms in the Psalterium Sinaiticum – a manuscript that is assumed to contain a variant of the earliest translation of the Psalter – reflect the concepts associated with the Jewish God in the Old Testament. Concepts such as 'truth', 'sin', 'pledge', 'good', 'law', 'mercy', 'hope', and 'vow' and the respective words in Psalterium Sinaiticum are related to the Jewish law, while in the translation of Constantine of Preslav the Greek words denoting the same terms are translated in accordance with New Testament ethics. Some Latin theological influence can be postulated concerning the first Old Church Slavonic translation of the Psalter made in Moravia. Constantine's choice of words to translate the same Greek words in the Psalter is focused on the moral, not the law. For example, ἀνομία in Psalm 88:33 is translated as безакон҄ениѥ, 'lawlessness', in Psalterium Sinaiticum, but as прѣгрѣшение, 'sin', in the copies of the Didactic Gospel (Спасова 2004: 78). Other similar examples that are considered characteristic of the Preslav revision are replacements like мл҃твы, 'prayers', for εὐχή in Ps 65.13 instead of обѣтъі, 'oaths, vow'; widely used expressions such as оупъвати, 'hope, set hopes upon', instead of надѣати сѧ, 'rely, trust'; щедрити, 'give bounties', instead of миловати, 'show mercy'; благо, 'benefit, good', instead of добро, 'good, property'13. The early Preslav version of the Apostle supports my assumption against the theological background of the Preslav revision in liturgical texts, requiring special terms for the expression of the dogmatic antonymy of Athanasius of Alexandria14. Athanasius defended the co-existence of the eternal Son and the primordial temporarily incarnated Word. The Preslav scribers who rewrote the Apostle were busy choosing another word for the transcendent origin of the Son instead of the word "birth", as demonstrated by expressions in Acts 2:36, Colossians 1:15, and Hebrews 3:2. In Colossians 1:15, the older copies avoided the word рожденъ: пръвѣнецъ въсеи твари for πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως. The copies of the Preslav literal translation attest to пръворожⷣенны въсѣкои твари15. The Genesis of Jesus as 'anointed' or 'bishop of faith' (to avoid 'birth of the Incarnated Word') is mentioned in Acts 2:36 and Hebrews 3:2. E.g. the Hebrews 3:2 in Enina Apostle: архиереѣ · исповѣданиѣ нашего ї҃с х҃а (Мирчев и Кодов 1965:103).

1.2 The fundamental works for the new theological register

The theological concept based on the theology of Athanasius of Alexandria was promoted further in the period between c. 906 and c. 913 through the distribution of two major works: Constantine of Preslav's translation of Orationes contre Arianos (or Four Discourses against the Arians) by Athanasius of Alexandria16 and John the Exarch's compilation Hexaemeron17. Hexaemeron is based on Basil of Caesarea's Homilies IX in Hexaemeron, Severian of Gabala's In cosmogoniam orationes VI, , and others.

The Anti-Arianism and the grammatical pattern of its expression were necessary for translators to identify the Orthodox “purity” of the translated manuscripts. The reason for the lexical Preslav redaction of the Cyrillo-Methodian legacy , as attested in the early Preslav translations, has never been associated by scholars directly with theological controversies or Anti-Arianism in the works of John the Exarch and Constantine of Preslav. E.g. the role of John the Exarch to vindicate the new faith against heresy is discussed recently by Podskalsky 2000: 228-243, but the research into translation literature generally concentrates on the single writer or the single works liturgical and dogmatic function; the shift in theological paradigm after 927 lacks. The Anti-Arian theme was very popular and widely represented in the compilations of the early Slavonic Menaia during the tenth century18. The hypothesis that Methodius was influenced by the Arian environment in which he had worked is rejected by Thomson (Thomson 1991: 22–35).

Constantine of Preslav might have wanted to communicate the following theological principles of the doctrine of Athanasius of Alexandria: 1. The Son had co-existed with the Father in Eternity (originally ἐξ οὐκ ὄντων γέγονεν) and is everlasting, just like the Word (Logos) and Wisdom (Sofia). 2. After the Incarnation of the Word, the Son remained unchanged as Divine Substance (because any change would cause improvement or deterioration). Introducing the opposition 'transcendent, divine existence' versus 'natural, non-divine existence, limited in time and space' in their writings, Constantine of Preslav and John the Exarch made the terminology for 'divine' and the terminology for 'non-divine' differentiated and incompatible with the Christology of John Damascene . In the Preslav writings, probably compiled after 927 and based on the theology of John Damascene, the categorical distinction between the 'divine, surreal substance' and the 'material existence in the temporal dimension' had been removed from the dual nature of the Logos (see further in section 3). The main eliminated neologisms by later translators are connected with the transcended dimension of Christ. E.g. породъ,' genesis of the eternal Son', породити 'come into existence' (scil. the eternal, not created Son), are not registered in the second translation of De fide orthodoxa, only рождьство, 'birth', for γέννησις (Weiher 1987: 730); породити in the second translation is used for physical phenomena in the sense of 'cause'.

The occurrence of the opposition divine versus created, temporary can be traced to one Glagolitic, non-liturgical book and one such instance is found in the earliest preserved translation of the prayer book, Euchologium Sinaiticum, in the prayer by Basil of Caesarea (published by Nachtigal 1942: 124-142): бытие, earthly life ~ несѫщаѣ, 'transcendent being'; бж҃иѣ оусиѣ 'God' substance' ~ плъть 'substance from which a man is maid,'; подобление въплъщенааго бога 'likeness of man in ref. to the incarnated God' ~ образъ неистьлѣниѣ 'image of immortality' (cf. Пенкова 2008: 65, 185, 192, 212, 217, 314). The relation between John the Exarch’s translation of the Homilies by Basil of Caesarea, to be included in Hexaemeron, and the translation of the above-mentioned Prayer by Basil of Caesarea has not yet been studied, but its dating may elucidate the date of the final compilation known to us as Euchologium Sinaiticum19.

The subsequent discussion below draws on examples of GE from the translations and the original texts, written by John the Exarch and Constantine of Preslav. In this paper I argue that GE was deliberately implemented in the writings of the two authors, either in compliance with or regardless of the preserved Greek sources.

The editions of John the Exarch’s Theology prepared by Sadnik (1967-1983), and Hexaemeron by Aitzetmüller (1958-1971) represent reliable Greek sources. The text analysis of Constantine of Preslav’s translations is more complicated. Migne (1887: 111-526) published the Greek text of Orationes contra Arianos I-IV in S. Athanasii Opp.1- Historica et Dogmatica. Since Migne’s edition, more critical editions of Athanasius’s writings have become available, e.g. Metzer and Savvidis (1998-2000), although there is no comparison of the Greek and Slavonic manuscripts or parallel editions. Setting aside the discussion of variant readings in the well-known preserved Greek manuscripts and the reconstruction of the Greek protographs20, the present paper examines the Old Bulgarian grammatical pattern that John the Exarch and Constantine of Preslav followed to create a new Preslav theological and linguistic standard.

2. The concept of GE as a translation concept

The use of the term GE in this paper covers the concept invented by John the Exarch and Constantine of Preslav for certain linguistic devices forming the theologically important semantic opposition between 'transcendent, divine existence' and 'natural, non-divine existence, limited in time and space'. The principles of this concept can be found in the translated text.

The text analysis leads one to think that these Preslav translators adhere to certain principles for a) using an appropriate past tense21 and b) selecting an appropriate noun or adjective to express the theological antonymy of 'divine' versus 'non-divine'. Examples of GE are of importance for the study of their translation method and for understanding their theological position.

The two forms of terminology and the derivation of doublets for 'divine' versus 'non-divine' suggest that the two classical writers of the early Preslav Literary School were striving to develop a new higher style to express the unspeakable and uncreated world of the Trinity. The worship of the new Christian God in Bulgaria should be prerogative of unique Divinity, the unique conception of Christ needed unique terminology. Their neologisms are spread in a few late copies from the 12th to 14th centuries.

2.1 Grammatical patterns: the alternative choice of past forms

The theological opposition of 'transcendent, divine existence' versus 'physical, non-divine existence, limited in time and space', as found in the Orationes Contra Arianos, Nebessa (part of John Damascene’s Expositio fidei) and Hexaemeron, is expressed by opposing the use of the imperfect form of the verb to be (бѣ, var. бѣаше22) for transcendent events and the aorist (бъістъ) for events and physical substances created by God and the deeds of Jesus Christ (as The antropos). John the Exarch explicitly expressed the necessity of using a specific past form for divinity (imperfect) or non-divinity (aorist) in connection with the recognition of the truly Orthodox faith by believers. He offered direct instructions for the use of tense as a linguistic tool for the dogma confession, while stating that on the Last Judgment Day the use of the right linguistic formula would separate the Arians and other misbelievers from the Orthodox people along the doctrine attested in the texts of the Gospel of John: 34a3–8 Въ начѧло бѣ слово: поꙁоветъ ѹбо в днь сѫднꙑ глѧщѫѫ бѣ  не бѣ. ꙁнесет сѧ вѣра ѡбоⷯ. въпрос бѫдетъ ѡбомъ тꙑ како вѣрова. рее аꙁъ глахъ бѣ. а ѡнъ како. а онъ вѣща не бѣ (Ivanova-Mirčeva 1971, 170). The LE pattern is explicit both in the Eulogy of St. John the Divine: 32b2-3 иже ѡ б҃ѕѣ то бѣ а иже о твари то быⷭ (Иванова-Мирчева 1971: 167), and in the translation of Hexaemeron: 10a10-10b22 иоанъ и моуси оба единако зачинаета. сь бо глголетъ, въ начѧло сътвори, а онъ рече, въ начѧло бѣаше [...]идеже бо о твари бесѣдова, то моуси глаголетъ рекы, сътвори богъ; идеже ли о творьци самомь, то евангелисть рече, бѣаше. велико же разьньство и межда естъ, еже рещи сътвори и еже рещи, бѣаше · ово бо бысть не бывъ прѣжде, а другое присно бѣаше сы [...] богоу бо естъ лѣпо присно бъіти, а зьданию бъівати [...].сице бѣаше въ начѧло. животъ бѣаше и жизнь бѣаше. шестижди глагола рекъі бѣаше. хотѧ съказати сѫщее, πῶς Ἰωάννης καὶ Μωυσῆς τὸ αὐτὸ προοίμιον ἔσηον. Καὶ γάρ οὗτος λέγει.Ἐν ἀρχῇ έποίησε.κακεῖνος λέγει.Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν [...] Ὅπου μὲν γὰρ δημιουργία, ἔταξε Μωυσῆς τὸ,Ἦν, ὁ εὐαγγελιστής. Πολὺ δὲ τὸ μέσον τοῦ, Ἐποίησε, καὶ τοῦ, Ἦν. τὸ μὲν γὰρ ἐγήνετο, μὴ ὂν, ὁ δὲ ἦν ἀεὶ ὤν. Ἐν ἀρχῇ έποίησε. καὶ.Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν. Θεού τὸ εἶναι, κτισμάτων δὲ τὸ γίνεσθαι [...] Ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀντρώπων. Ἑδάκις λέγει τὸ, Ἦν, ἴνα ἐρμηνεύσῃ τὸ ὄν( Aitzetmüller 1958, 73-75)23. The hermeneutic choice of grammatical tense can be traced back to the Greek works defending the Nicene Creed of the Trinity and the eternal nature of the Son. The Fathers of the Orthodox Christian Church, Athanasius of Alexandria and Severian of Gabala, employed a grammatical pattern to describe the different dimensions of God as Father, Son (Word and Wisdom), and Spirit. Differentiated use of the imperfect and aorist forms of εἶναι ('to be') constituted the Greek theological pattern. The imperfect tense is used when discussing the Acts of God in His pre-eternal and incomprehensible world, i.e., in the doctrine that the Father and Son (Word, Logos) had co-existed prior to the Creation, while the aorist tense is employed in the discourse about the creation of time-limited physical beings as well as the deeds of the Incarnated Son. The imperfect tense affirmed the eternal nature of the Son, who is only temporarily incarnated in the finite body of a man. The Logos and the incarnated Son had revelatory, not analyzable meaning, but Christ was an object of the senses and that is why his acts were described in the aorist tense.

This model is already attested in the Slavonic Gospel translation of John 1.1-4: “Έν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος ... πάντα δι´ αὐτοῦ ἐγήνετο”24. In this translation dating back to the time of Cyril and Methodius, the theological formula in John 1.1-4, usually placed at the beginning of the Apraxos, reads: in Codex Assemani: Искони бѣ слово ... б҃ъ бѣ слово. се бѣ искони ѹ б҃а [...] бежнего ничесоже не бъистъ еже бстъ (Kurz 1955: 2), in Codex Zographensis: Jскони бѣаше слово[...] б҃ъ бѣаше слово се бѣ искони отъ б҃а бежн’его ничьтоже не быстъ (Jagić 1879: 136); 2. Athanasius of Alexandria expounds John 1.1 according to his doctrine: въ начѧтцѣ бѣ слово. и слово бѣ къ богѹ. и ... б҃ъ бѣ слово. егда извольшѹ отцѹ. слово само бстъ чловѣкъ (Second Oration/ Discourse in manuscript 968, leaf 68).

Another indicative example of the use of the imperfect and aorist tense in the Gospel is found in the Codex Assemani, John 17:5: прославі мѧ [...]славоѭ. ѭже имѣхъ. прѣжде даже не бⷭⷭы весь миръ оу тебе (Kurz 1955: 194), which is a translation of the Greek “δόξασόν με [...] παρὰ τῇ δόξῇ ᾑ εἰχον πρὸ τοῦ‡κόσμον εἶναι παρὰ σοί”. In the Preslav-revised Sava Gospel, there are two variant readings, as John 17:5 is featured twice, in two translations: the literal one, 26a7-8 прѣжде бти всемоу мироу о тебѣ (Щепкин 1903: 2)., and the reading following the Glagolitic Gospels, 107a17-18 прѣжде даже не быстъ миръ (Щепкин 1903: 99).

Following the recommendation of John the Exarch, over the centuries the choice of the imperfect form of the verb to be for transcendent events has become a literary norm. The scribe's habitual use of imperfect бѣ in the discourse about the Divine Mercy manifested through the Son is evident even in excerpts where the Greek text uses praesens, e.g., in the translation of the Ladder (Lestvitsa) of Ephraem Syrus, e.g. in Homily on Admonition and Repentance: оувѣдимъ грѣшници милосердие как бѣ, with variant reading млс҃рдие б҃жіе каковь бѣше, Gr. μάθωμεν ἁμαρτωλοὶ εὐσπλαγχνίαν, πῶς ἐστιν (Bojkovsky 1984: 198). In the 14th to 16th centuries there were still traces of the higher style of the LE pattern, as attested in the imperfect бѣ in copies of the works of Ephraem Syrus, e.g., the quotation 2 Peter 2:8 праведнъи бѣ жив, ὁ δίκαιος ἐγκατοικών (Bojkovsky 1984: 62), or in the description of the Last Judgment in the personal prayer, д҃нь и час во ньже бѣ блъ страх тъ, ἐν ᾗ γέγονεν ὁ φόβος οὗτος (Bojkovsky 1984: 20).

The implementation of this practice by Constantine of Preslav and John the Exarch involved expressions for time-dependent events in connection with the acts of Christ as the incarnated God’s Word. The temporal opposition of events before and after the Incarnation of the Word means that a decisive factor for the choice of the imperfect tense in a given text might have been related to the designation of the physical body of the Son of God before the Incarnation. The aorist tense is related to the Word as God on Earth, which is transformed to existence in a human body. Constantine of Preslav emphasized the argument of Athanasius of Alexandria: if the Word was the creator of everything, the Son is pre-eternal, not born. безь его не бсть ничесоже · аште ли самъ есть слово и премѫдрость ·еѫже вьсе бваеⷮ · то оуже нѣсть сътваремъіи ·нъ отьчь поро ⷣ(Second Oration/Discourse in manuscript 968, leaf 71). The word пороⷣ' ('genesis' instead of рождьство, 'birth' for the appearance of the Son) is a special neologism for the Incarnation of the Word as Uncreated Son, which avoids the Arian statement that if the Son is born, then He is not pre-eternal (for more details see section 2.2.). Translating Severian of Gabala's Forth Oration in his Šestodnev, John the Exarch transmitted Severian's argumentation for simultaneously existence of "eternal genesis" and "birth" contrary to the Arians (Leskin 190a-190b,

In comparison, a similar expression in the translation of the Nicene Creed, Написание ѡ правѣи вѣрѣ (Confession of the Orthodox Faith) by Nicephorus the Confessor states: не ѿ ложь бъітиа еже бѣ естьствомъ б҃ъ въ послѣднѣа врѣмена вѣка чл҃чее естьство приѫтъ(Куев 1981: 172). Here бѣ is used once and естьство is used twice in passages where бѣ сѫштьствомъ б҃ъ was to be expected, if the LE pattern had been observed. This fragment attests to the influence of John Damascene’s dogmatic works and the literal concept of translation (about John Damascene’s dogma see further in section 3). The text of the Nicene Creed in the work titled Написание о правѣи вѣрѣ25 is preserved in six different versions. The first three are dated to around the 9th to 10th centuries, and the two 14th-century versions were translated from a work by Michael Syncellus (Thomson 1991: 22–35). The sixth version, attributed to Constantine Cyril, was translated from the text of Nicephorus the Confessor26. One of the translations by Michael Syncellus is described as Semi-Arian (Thomson 1991: 24–26). Apparently, the translators of the Confession of the Orthodox Faith into Old Church Slavonic aimed at condensing the Orthodox doctrine into a libellus (написание) in order to make it available to their contemporaries who were familiar with iconoclasm, Arianism, and the filioque controversy. However, a single example of imperfect and aorist forms used in the description of the Incarnation excites speculation of the temporal GE pattern. Leaf 5a of the translation by Michael Syncellus features не прѣложенїе прѣтрьпѣвъ, нь прѣбывь еже бѣ, быс(ть) еже не бѣ, but on leaf 98a of the Ivan Alexander Collection of 1348 the same passage states не бж(с)твѹ его приемшѹ ѿ себе начѧтка. нѫ прѣбывъ еже бѣ, и еже не бѣ приемь свое створи. It is still unknown whether Methodius and his disciples from Moravia had access to the Latin text of Symbolum Nicaenum or to Symbolum Athanasium, called Quicunque ("vult") and revised by Aurelius Ambrosius.

In the Preslav soteriology, the theological truth about the Incarnated Savior as the Son of God who co-existed with God in eternity, but not as a Deified Man raised to God, was emphasized by regular use of the present active participle сꙑ. Use of the participle is combined with the designation of the temporal limited physical body of the Son of God. For example, in the Izbornik of John the Sinner (as found in the Izbornik of 1076), Against Eunomius by Basil of Caesarea, the author identifies God's enemies as those who claim that the Son of God is deified, but not eternal: ꙗко сѹштааго ѥстьствомь сн҃а б҃жиꙗ положениѥмъ и благодатиѫ наричѹть об҃жена... присно сѫштааго въ о҃ци прѣжде не бꙑвъша и бꙑвъшааго от бꙑтиꙗ наричѹще отъ небꙑтиꙗ бꙑвъша27.

In the later manuscripts the GE pattern is not always easy to identify in the interplay of the imperfect and aorist forms due to changing auxiliary verb forms and merging simple and portmanteau forms of the imperfect tense, as defined by Aitzetmüller28. Besides, the merger of the aorist and perfect forms in translations of the Greek aorist was an early process, found in the first Old Bulgarian manuscripts, with no supportive data of a parallel process in the Greek sources, which had been identified as the one closest to the Preslav protograph.

Perfect is very frequent in the Euchologium Sinaiticum and Psalterium Sinaiticum, but quite rare in the translation of the Gospel. However, perfect is relatively more common in the Preslav edition of the Sava Gospel. Numerous scholars have noted the use of the perfect instead of the aorist form in the works of John the Exarch, and perfect without auxiliaries in the Codex Suprasliensis, which exhibits features of the Eastern Bulgarian dialects. Dejanova (Деянова 1970: 148-150) offres interesting examples of the perfect denoting “an event preceding the present event in the meaning of all-time process”. The examples of the perfect tense in the works of John the Exarch discuss God's Acts. The hypothesis of the theological specification of the perfect tense in John the Exarch's works needs further research.

In the history of the Russian Church Slavonic language the imperfect and aorist forms were replaced with the perfect form and the temporal GE could not be preserved. Lexemes in the theological oppositions that are indicative of the Preslav style might have been assimilated later in other language environments as Preslavisms. The intentional deletion of the GE, originally developed by Constantine of Preslav and John the Exarch, is also attested in the manuscripts, and GE traces observed in a particular manuscript can be interpreted as markers for an age, date, or even authorship.

2.2 The derivation of theological doublets

On the morphological and lexical levels, the expression of the theological opposition of 'transcendent, divine existence' versus 'physical, non-divine existence, limited in time and space' demanded the creation of theological doublets, not synonymous lexical doublets, but theological antonyms. In the context of theology, the description of this expressions as "synonymous words" or "double translation"29 should be reconsidered. Studying the context of a particular word in different manuscripts, lexicographers often consider synonymous words for general and aspectual concepts such as ѵпостась, сѫщьство, ѡбраꙁъ, лице in the meaning 'substance', 'existence', 'being', 'personal existence (image)', respectively (Lexicon Linquae Palaeoslovenicae 52, 1997,1041). In the dictionaries of Old Church Slavonic, words that in my opinion belong to the register of theologically distinct concepts may be synonymous, e.g., сѫщьство, ѹсиꙗ, ѵпостась, ѥстьство (Lexicon Linguae Palaeoslovenicae 1989, 42, 110–111). According to the theological register, the description of the concept behind these words demands differentiation; e.g., сѫщьство enters two semantic oppositions. In the Orthodox theological opposition сѫщьство, 'transcendent existence' is opposed to ѥстьство, 'physical existence, limited in time and space', while in the logical opposition the concept сѫщьство, 'substance', is opposed to the subconcept собьство, a 'state or property of the existence of substance'30. The distinction between the unknown origin of eternal divine life, on the one hand, and the origin of the temporary world and Man, on the other, is marked by the expression присно съврьшеное сѫтьство, бышьство, used only for God and Son (Vaillant 1954, 66), or сѫщьно бытие, hence the Trinity creed: един͗ствѹ же сѫщьствомь кланѣѫ сѧ (Куев 1981:95а6).

In the triodia, the Trinity is named троесѫщьство; in the Bitola Triodion, Jesus is called сѫщьство: тъі прьстное • свѣси сѫщьство безгрѣшне (Попов 1985: 184); hence, the use of ѥстьство (in три неразлюч҆но ѥстьство) instead of сѫщьство in the Triodia of D type indicates another concept31.

In my opinion, the general concept of ѵпостась is 'image of the divine essence, which is unlimited substance', and сѫщьство, ѡбраꙁъ, and лице are aspectual subcategories of individualized substance. Athanasius of Alexandria made various adjustments to these concepts from a theological perspective. Thus, in his comments to the Definition of God, I am who I am, Athanasius wrote that ὑπόστασις was the manifestation of οὐσία, in the meaning of existence32. In 362 the Council in Alexandria, under the chairmanship of Athanasius, approved the doctrine that the Trinity had three ὑπόστασις, meaning that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit by definition were distinct entities, but co-existed. Later, in the disputes with the followers of Arius and Savellius, Athanasius mentioned only one ὑπόστασις. The Old Church Slavonic translation employed one general category, ѵпостась, to reflect the unity of the Trinity, and сѫщьство, ѡбраꙁъ, and лице were used for the Incarnated Son.

Therefore, there is a difference between ѵпостась, 'general eternal substance', and начѧтъкъ упостаси or ѡбразъ оупостаси, 'individualized divine substance which has been given a form in time', i.e., the Son of God. This interpretation is also important for the modern Bulgarian translation of the New Testament. For example, in Hebrews 1:3 the reading concerning the Son of God, иже с собьства его is translated as "отпечатък на неговото същество", 'imprint of his being', instead of "бидейки състояние на неговото съществуване", 'being in a state of his existence' (Библия 1924: 236). Собьство in the meaning of 'substance' is also attested in the Freising fragments (Lexicon Linguae Palaeoslovenicae, 38, 1985, 135).

In occasional examples, the Greek word was kept deliberately, not because of incomprehensibility, but rather to emphasize the divinity, as in Confession of the Orthodox Faith: т҃роцѫ оубо славлѫ ипостас’ми · сирѣчь лицъі (Куев 1981: 167) or номосъ сирѣчь законъ.

The distinctive opposition 'transcendent, divine' versus 'temporary, physical, limited in time and space' explains the choice between бтие, 'real, physical life' or просто бти 'absolute, general being'; the aforementioned сѫщие, 'eternal existence, substance, pleroma', or собьство 'status or property of the existence of substance' (e.g. о себе и въ себѣ собьство имати, referring to the essential nature of all hypostases); сѫтьство, бꙑшьство 'divine being'or ѥстьство 'nature, physical being' or 'substance that has been formed/shaped'; ипостась 'image of the divine substance, individualized substance'or лице'physical image'; тѣльство 'divine substance incarnated in the Son' or тѣло 'physical substance, body', ѹсиꙗ 'divine substance' or ипостась 'image of the divine substance' (e.g. начѧтъкъ ꙋпостаси 'the beginning of the individualzsed divine substance'), ѡбраꙁь ѹпостаси33 'the image of the divine substance in the Incarnated Son' or, лице 'physical image', породъ (transcendent creation of the Son/Word' or рождьство 'the birth of Jesus as Man'.

According to Constantine of Preslav34, the origin of the eternal Word and Son prior to the Incarnation should be called породъ: e.g. слово ако еже изърⷣекло присносѫштнии породъ (leaf 64, аще самъ есть слово и прѣмѫдрость еѭже вьсе бъіваеⷮ то оуже нѣстѣ сътваремъіиⷯ ни отьнѫдь бъішьнъіиⷯ нъ отьчь пороⷣ leаf 71. The Incarnated Word is not born: въ неже бъі мѣсто реклъ родилъ сътворилъ естъ глаголѫтъ св҃тии leaf 68, and евга ... рече сът҃жаⷯ си чловека • рекъши родиⷯ • и та сът҃жание рекъши <съ>зъдание рече leaf 70. The body of Jesus was not born, neither created; it is dressed on the Son’s eternal substance:сѫщие тѣльствие andс҃нъ и по въпльщении сꙑи. единосѫщ leaf 74. The correct name of the Son, with respect to the Father, is единочдъ: с҃нъ и по въпльщении съіи· единосѫщнɣ б҃оу и ѡ҃цоу по б҃жⷭтвоу· единочдноу же и намъ по чл҃чьствоу (Куев 1981: 173). The Son had participated in естьстьствено дѣиство, but His nature is сѫштьство, while Man's nature is естьство. In one of the Gregory the Great's Homilies the eternal presence of the Savior is сѫщьствие: нѣстъ · сде рече · естьствъмь плътьнъімь · иже оубо николиже кромѣ бѣ соущьствиьемь б҃жства (Lexicon Linguae Palaeoslovenicae 42, 1989, 411).

The identity of the Father and the Son is expressed employing a reverse designation: the Father is непородьно божие естьство, while the Son is рождьствьное сѫтьство (Second Oration/Discours, manuscript 968, leaf 67).

The opposition of the neologism породъ (for the origin of Son) versus рождьство (for the human birth of Jesus) forms a chain of theological antonyms (not doublets) of 'divine nature' versus 'temporary nature' that translate the same Greek word: ἀνάστασις is translated with въскрьсение for Jesus and въстание for human flesh/body, παράδεισος with раи and порода for the Heaven as the goal of deification, and others.

Consistent with their concept to seek another adjective for the super-celestial world than the physical world, the Preslav translators affirmed the transcendent nature of God, the Father, and the Son by the use of doublets with the negative prefix не-, as in the adjective неиꙁглаголаньнъ derived from the participle неиꙁглаголанъ. Adjectives of the same derivational pattern, such as неиꙁдреченьнъ (derived from неиꙁдреченъ), неислѣдованьнъ (from неислѣдованъ and неислѣжденъ), ненасажденьнъ (from ненасажденъ), ненасаꙗаньнъ (from ненасꙗанъ), are also found in other texts in the discourse about God, the Father, and the Son (Lexicon Linguae Palaeoslovenicae 20, 1970, pp. 360, 361, 375). In Greek texts, only one form – ἀ-adjective – is attested for both the adjective and the participle; therefore, the Old Church Slavonic dictionaries list both forms as synonymous. However, I would consider both instances of GE. In the Euchologium Sinaiticum, 56a11, God is called неиꙁдреченьникъ in the "Prayer of Exorcism (Against Possession by Demons)" preceding the "Spell Against the Evil", both by Basil of Caesarea. This segment in the Euchologium is an interpolation from other sources compared with the surrounding texts (Van Wijk 1926: 272-273).

3. The Christology introduced by Leontios and John Damascene

Comparison with other compilations of translated texts of Preslav origin, which did not observe the theological arguments for GE use, demonstrates that their writers or copists might have preferred to translate the contemporary works found in Byzantine 10th-century collections.

The consistent application of GE in the works attributed to the early Preslav Literary School provides a pattern that deviates slightly from the one attested in the known Greek texts with which the Slavonic texts are compared. I would assume that there is an additional reason for the deviation, namely the different theological concepts of Athanasius of Alexandria and John Damascene. The Christological position of John Damascene could unify the East and West, and further investigations can prove whether the prevalent Latin and Byzantine practices of the 10th century followed John Damascene. As mentioned above, the content of chapters 59, 60, and 91 in John Damascene’s Expositio fidei might not have been entirely consistent with the LE of John the Exarch in his idiomatic translation.

The fact that the new literal translation in the late Preslav school was based on the works and theological ideas of John Damascene and dominated in the 10th century, explains the sheer number of these translations and their preservation in later copies.

An example of a compilation of works by classical authors, corresponding in content to the 9th-10th centuries Greek collections, is the Izbornik of 1073. I will discuss the concept in the Izbornik further, because I have found that LE has intentionally been deleted from this compilation, which does not distinguish between the use of сѹштеѥ and ѥстьство, собьство and лице. The translator explicitly strayed from different denominations for divine and not-divine existence: Маѯимово о раꙁличии сѹштиꙗ и ѥстьства по вънѣшьниимь [...] Црькъвьнии же ѹчителе беꙁ раꙁличьꙗ именꙑ сими бесѣдоваша и то же сѹштеѥ и ѥстьство нарекоша ꙗкоже и собьство лице (Johannet 1991: 61–62)35.

For several reasons the translators of the next Preslav generation largely abandoned some of the linguistic innovations implemented by Constantine of Preslav and John the Exarch. The theological register used by Constantine of Preslav and John the Exarch was employed in non-liturgical books aimed at elite readership, while a simplified theological register was tailored to the needs of the wider monastic audience. This simplified register was partly supported by the Latin and Byzantine practices of the 10th century based on the Christological position of John Damascene, who followed the theological formula of Leontios for ἔνωσις καθ’ ὑπόστασιν (Altaner and Stuiber 1966: 510). The formula reflecting the union between the divine and the human nature of Christ explained one sacred mystery, which readers of John Damascene had usually been advised not to question. Leontios rejected the theory of monophysites, which argues that if these two natures had been combined in Christ, Christ would have had two hypostases. According to Leontios, however, the term hypostasis reflected a separate existence or subsistence, along with life of an individual. The Soul became hypostasis of the human body (the flesh) in the same way as the Logos became hypostasis of the human nature of Christ (ἐν τῷ λόγῳ ὑποστασία). He accepted ἐνυπόστατος, съличьнъ36 or съставьнъ37, 'consubstantial (of God) in substance', as an attribute of Christ, but rejected ἀνυπόστατος, несъставьнъ, 'accidental, unsubstantial'. These two adjectives illustrate the difference between the random Man's word, blown by the wind, and the Divine word and its permanent existence. The union of the Logos and the Son (God and Man) in one hypostasis challenged the first translation theory that had used the pattern of LE. Thus, the categorical distinction between divine, surreal substance and material existence in the temporal dimension had been removed from the dual nature of the Logos. See e.g. the passage about the Son in the second translation: снь бжи [...] начрьтаниѥ ѡча състава·жива прѣмоудрость · и сила · слово съставно · соущьствьнь·и сьврьшенъ· живъ ѡбразь невидимаго ѡца· нь прⷭно бѣше сь ѡцемь, ὁ ϒἱός τοῦ Θεοῦ ... ό χαρακτὴρ τῆς τοῦ Πατρὸς ‰ὑποστάσεως, ἡ ζῶσα σοφία, καὶ δύναμις, ό Λόγος ὁ ἐνυπόστατος, ἡ οὐσιώδης καὶ τελεία, καὶ ζῶσα εὶκὼν τοῦ ἀοράτου Θεοῦ. ἀλλ´ ἀεὶ ἦν σύν τῷ Πατρὶ (Weiher 1987: 124b9-18).. It is worth mentioning that John the Exarch translated only the beginning of chapter 91 (1-9) of John Damascene's ѡ еже ѡ хⷭстѣ г҃лемиⷯ, which discusses the four categories of Christ's existence as follows: in the incarnation; at the time when the two natures of Christ were forming one hypostatic union; after the formation of the hypostatic union; and after the resurrection. John the Exarch dropped chapter 82: како прьвѣньць гл҃ѥт се ѥдинород҆нии сн҃ь бж҃їи 337а25-27, аще оубо гл҃аль се би сн҃ь бж҃їи прьвѣньць, ѥдинород҆нии же не гл҃аль се• помыслили ꙋбо быхомь ѥго тваремь прьвѣн҆ца ꙗко тварь соуща• понѥже оубѡ и прьвѣньць и ѥдинород҆ни гл҃ѥт҆ се• Поⷣбает же и ѡбоѥ сьблюдати на немь 337b5-15, ѥдинород҆ни прьворожⷣень а не прьвозⷣань гл҃ѥт҆ се (337b23-24). Here, the interpretation of Son's birth challenged the terminology developed by Constantine of Preslav (as shown above in section 2.2)..

In this way the dogmatic antonymy of Athanasius of Alexandria was avoided, e.g. the relation between God and Man is expressed by one term that supports both an abstract (general) and a concrete (specific theological) interpretation of the word. A typical example is любы for σχέσις 'relation', and διάθεσις 'disposition, specific goodwill in the relation between God and Man'.

4. The compatibility of GE with the discourse of Deification

Apart from temporal and lexical opposition to expressing events before and after the Incarnation of the Word, Constantine of Preslav and John the Exarch employed their register in connection with events related to the Spiritual Ladder as the elevation of the souls to God (theosis, обожение, deification, divinization). Theosis means that man is restored by grace, by being united with the Holy Trinity through participation in God's divine energies. In different manuscripts the discourse of Deification can be indicative of the use of the GE pattern.

The concept of Deification, interpreted in John 10:34 and Psalm 82:1, was further developed in the Apostle (2 Peter 1:4 and 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). For Arians, the deification of Jesus is related to His purely human nature and His further ascent to God. For the disciples of Athanasius, Deification is only a story about the personal improvement of an earthly man on his Soul’s path to God. While discussing the Deification in his "Homily of the Incarnation of God", Athanasius states, “Αὐτὸς γάρ ἐνηθρώπισεν, ἵνα ἡμεῖς θεοποιηθῶμεν (Migne 1884: 192 B " De incarnatione Verbi", 54).

The word обожение is attested in Theology (Bogoslovie) on page 248a1-2 (Sadnik 1981: 166). John the Exarch borrows the theme from Clement of Alexandria (Stromata 7, Chapter 16, 101, Stählin 1960: 4), who writes: ὁ τῷ κυρίῷ πειθόμενος καὶ τῇ δοθείσῃ δι′ αὐτoῦ κατακολουθήνας προφεητεί τελέως ἐκτελεῖται κατ 'εἰκόνα τοῦ διδασκάλου ἐν σαρκὶ περιπολῶν θεός38. In Hexaemeron, in the chapter “Divine Construction and Our Advocacy and Salvation”, 'a condescending movement (without loss of divinity) for achieving appeasement' is opposed to Deification (in the form of spiritual advent); the translation by John the Exarch and the second translation by the anonymous translator illustrate the different theological concepts. According to John the Exarch: иже въ образъ б҃жии съі преклонь с҃пса съниде се есть непооубожениа емоу въісость непооубоженѣ пооубожимъ сънидеть къ своимъ рабомъ, and according to the second translator прѣклонь н҃бса нисходить · сирѣчь несмѣрен’на ѥго высость, несмѣр’нѣ смѣрив се · сьнисходить своимь рабомь, for Greek ὁ ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων κλίνας οὐ ρανοὺς κατέρχεται. Τουτέστι τὸ ἀγαπείνωτον αὐτοῦ ὕψος ἀταπεινώτως ταπεινώσας συγκαταβαίνει τοῖς ἑαυτοῦ δούλοις (Aitzetmüller 1958-1971: 225a, Weiher 1987: 239b).

In the light of John Damascene's interpretation of the nature of Christ, it is easy to understand why John the Exarch does not translate chapter 62 about the Deification (cf. the literal translation: ѡ томь ѥже ѡб҃жити се ѥⷭствоу гнⷭꙗ тѣлесе, περὶ τοῦ τελεῶσθαι τὴν φύσιν τῆς τοῦ Κυρίου σαρκὸς (Weiher 1987: 406.) Due to the merger of physical and divine nature in God's body, following John Damascene, the theological register of John the Exarch cannot be used without a lot of additional comments or explanations to the Damascenes texts, e.g. in the literal translation: по смотрител’ном<ꙋ> сьѥдинѥнию, ѥже по сьставоу г҃лю... б҃оу словоу сьѥдини се•и ѥже вь дроугь дроузѣмь ѥⷭствомь промѣщениѥ, κατὰ τὴν οἰκονομικὴν ἔνωσιν, τὴν καθ' ὑπόστασιν [...] τῷ Θεῷ Λόγῷ ἤνωται, καὶ τὴν ἐν ἀλλήλαις τῶν φύσεων περιχώρησιν (Weiher 1987: 406). One of the copies has въсловѣченїе instead of вьч҃лвчниѥ, possibly a trace of earlier Preslav translation concept.

Examples of personal address to God and possible role models for the writers of the Preslav Literary School can be found in Confessions by St. Augustine, which were very popular in the ninth century. His first address to God, for example, begins with a request for clarity about how to start: by invocation or by praise. In Confessions (9.4.7), Augustine notes that one can only come to know God through self-awareness or insight; he refers here to the enduring theme of Soliloqiorum, liber II.1.1. (Migne 1841: 870). In Hexameron, John the Exarch made a similar call (without a Greek parallel): понѣ самъ сѧ оувѣждь чловѣче (Aitzetmüller 1960: 49c21-22, this is the beginning of a free-flowing text that resembles a long 'spiritual Ladder' of insight, accompanied by comments on the Second Day of Creation and ending with a prayer imitating the structure of Severian of Gabala (Aitzetmüller 1960: 71b13-28.). John the Exarch's Prologue to Hexaemeron ends with the theme of the ascent to Paradise: емоуже владъіцѣ богъ господь владъіка надь владъіками даждь сиѭ жизнь добрѣ оугаждаѭщоу себѣ раа доити съ прѣподобьнъіими мѫжи вьсѣми (Aitzetmüller 1958: 6d20-25).

The topic of Deification is present in the "Canon for Constantine Cyril"39, as it was quite relevant in 9th-century Western Christianity, as attested by the Latin translation of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite's De Celesti Hierarchia (Celestial Hierarchy) made by Johannes Scotus Eriugena (810-877). This spiritual ascent began with the production of original prayer collections40. The large amount of hymnographic works of the Preslav writers is in accordance with the spirit of the age.

In the light of the exposition of John the Exarch’s theologically oriented translation concept, I wish to add some comments to the wide-held notion that the source for John the Exarch's “Prologue” to Hexaemeron was Ps. Dionysius the Aeropagite or the introduction to "The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach” (Икономова 1995: 171–173). It appears that Dionysius attempted to create a compromise between monophysitism and the Orthodox teaching. "The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach" was probably identified with the Jewish law. Neither Ps. Dionysius nor the introduction to "The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach" were the "correct" Orthodox source of inspiration, there is no connection between the concept of idiomatic translation and Anti-Arianism.

In my opinion, John the Exarch adopted the principle of free translation from Clement of Alexandria, who formulated "the criterion by which truth and heresy are distinguished": "those who follow heresies [...] [are] not looking for the sense, but making use of the mere words [...] they attend to the names alone, while they alter the meanings"41. John the Exarch named Clement of Alexandria климъ строматьскъі in his Eulogy of St. John the Divine (Иванова-Мирчева 1971: 175).

The connection between the two writers has still not been subject to scientific investigation.

5. Concluding remarks

The instances of GE reviewed in this paper demonstrate that in the th and 10th centuries the dogmatic controversy between the Orthodox Church in Byzantium and Bulgaria and the Arian Church in the Western world was reflected in the manuscripts of the period, even on the grammatical level. However, Eastern European scholars have not been particularly interested in the theology behind the linguistic tools. The importance of the theological background for the evaluation of the sources of certain texts was briefly illustrated with the Preslav version of the Psalter and the proposed connection between the “Prologue” to Hexaemeron and Stromata by Clement of Alexandria.

Further investigations of Anti-Arianism and the GE pattern are necessary to identify the Orthodox purity of different manuscripts and their connection to the early Preslav Literary School, and to determine whether the theological formulations refer back to the legacy of the late Preslav Literary School. Innovations in the new theological register of Constantine of Preslav and John the Exarch were erased by the later Preslav writers in an attempt to introduce theological standardization and harmonization to contemporary Byzantine norms and the dogmatic theology of John Damascene. The intentional deletion of the neologisms is also attested in a number of manuscripts, and GE traces observed in later copies may be interpreted as markers for the date and even the author. Ultimately, a new interpretation of each manuscript focusing on the GE pattern may propose different registers for each scribe. The individual grammar pattern observed in each separate copy attests to the presence or absence of the GE, if the register for expressing the concepts of 'transcendent, divine' is differentiated from the nominal register of God's creatures.

Additional proof of the theological basis of the literary reform carried out by the early representatives of the Preslav School can be provided in the future with the critical editions of the Slavonic manuscripts containing Orationes contra Arianos by Athanasius of Alexandria. However, over the last 20 years, many medieval Slavonic manuscripts have been published, offering much needed language material for the long-awaited Theological Dictionary of the Preslav Literary School.


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  • 1. For detailed background and analysis of the Preslav redaction of the Cyrillo-Methodian translation, see Славова 1989: 15-129.
  • 2. The Preslav Literary School was one of the first literary schools in medieval Bulgaria producing manuscripts that exhibited linguistic features of the East Bulgarian (predominantly Moesian) dialects. Among the manuscripts and works of Preslav provenance are original works and compilations by Constantine of Preslav, John the Exarch, Presbyter Gregorius, Presbyter Kosmas, Peter Černorizets, and others, as well as monuments such as the Sava Gospel, Codex Suprasliensis, the Old Bulgarian protographs of King Symeon’s Izbornik (Svetoslav's Copy), Knjažij Izbornik, Zlatostruy; other compilations such as George Synkellos’ Sextus Julius Africanus and Methodius of Patara Chronicles, Ps.-Caesarius’ Erotapokriseis, a number of biblical, liturgical, hagiographical, and homiletic translations (for more detail, see Милтенова 2008: 91-295.
  • 3. For biography and bibliography, see Славова 2008: 245-248.
  • 4. For biography and bibliography, see Стойкова 2008: 240-245.
  • 5. This concept will be explained in section 2.
  • 6. The translation of John Damascene’s Expositio fidei by John the Exarch is oriented towards the Christological concept of Athanasius of Alexandria. Critical edition of Slavonic and Greek manuscripts by Sadnik 1967-1983.
  • 7. The theological concept of John Damascene has penetrated the second translation of Expositio fidei, preserved in a 14th-century manuscript, published by Weiher 1987.
  • 8. The prominent Preslav scholars followed the church politics of Tsar Symeon. The palace coup in 927 ended Tsar Symeon’s ambition of independent Bulgarian Church politics and encouraged a positive political attitude toward Byzantium; see Георгиев 2008.
  • 9. The Introduction to Bogoslovie/Nebesa by John the Exarch contains his guiding principles in translation. For more details, see especially publications that assume some influence from Ps. Dionysius the Aeropagite, or the introduction to "The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach"; a review and bibliography in Икономова 1995: 172-173.
  • 10. A trend toward terminological standardization is pointed out in Sels 2006: 301-308. According to Sels, the new translations of De fide orthodoxa, Hexaemeron, and De hominis opificio were made in the Euthymian period, but "the lexicon and translation technique of De fide orthodoxa cannot be considered entirely typical of the 14th century" (Sels 2006: 306).
  • 11. I have used the Psalter quotations, excerpted and published by Спасова 2004: 71-127.
  • 12. Review of scholars’ opinion on Tertullian's terminology regarding the Trinity and the New Testament’s Christology in Osborn 1997: 88-116, 144-163. The Latin Christian terminology invented by Tertullian, who was a lawyer, formally introduced the concepts of 'truth', 'sin', and 'vow' with respect to Tertullian’s contemporary Roman law. Further, Irenaeus, who was writing in Greek, along with the Christian writers of the Alexandrian School, carried on the moral and philosophical visions of the New Testament, which features a trustable generous and gracious God, as opposed to the strict and punishing Jewish God of the Old Testament. For the language difference of East and West theology regarding these notions, especially Tertullian versus Ireneus and Paulus, later Athanasius, see Værge 2012: 65-67.
  • 13. For my interpretation of the various reedings I have used the dictionary in Славова 1989: 170-172.
  • 14. Few scholars have been interested in the use of the Scriptures in the writings of Athanasius from a textual or critical perspective; see Donker 2011: 29-35.
  • 15. The various readings follow the Aprakos Apostle; see Христова-Шомова 2004: 310.
  • 16. The First Oration/Discourse was published by Vaillant (1954) with French translation, but without parallel Greek text. An unsolved problem is the question of the Greek protograph of the Preslav translation. Vaillants edition is based on manuscript 968 in the Pogodin Collection of the Leningrad State Library. The examples from the Second Oration/Discourse cited here are from a microfilm of the same manuscript number 968; the microfilm was prepared by the employees of the Leningrad State Library in 1979; copy of this microfilm is currently in the possession of the Library of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in Sofia. The Church Slavonic text of Orationes contra Arianos was published by Makarij in the 16th century, based on two manuscripts from the 15th and 16th centuries (numbers 20 and 180 respectively in the Moscow Synod Library). Makarij's edition was republished in Weiher, Šmidt and Škurko 2007. The comparison between the Second Oration printed in the latter (pp. 99cd-124ab) and the Oration on the microfilm convinced me that the copies belongs to a common protograph.
  • 17. Published by Aitzetmüller 1958-1971. The Oration on the fifth day is published and commented by Leskin 1996.
  • 18. Except for the March Menaion, attested in the Codex Suprasliensis (e.g. Vita of Isaakios of Dalmatos and John Chrysostom's Homily on St. Thomas the Аpostle and against the Arians), the topic is found in early Commemorations in the later Menaion, especially in the Vita of Basil of Caesarea, Vita of Aurelius Ambrosius, Vita of Athanasius of Alexandria, Martyrdom of Gregory Thaumaturgus, Martyrdom of Mercurius, and others, as well as in lectures by Orthodox authors found in various miscellanea manuscripts.
  • 19. The different theories about the compilation of Euchologium Sinaiticum are discussed in Пенкова 2008: 7-9.
  • 20. Analyzing occasional examples, Sadnik (1963: 281-284) shows that the linguistic choice of translator could be used to identify the correct Greek source of the Old Bulgarian translation.
  • 21. Svane (1989: 69) mentions the specific use of the imperfect and aorist forms in John the Exarch’s Eulogy of St. John the Divine, as being influenced by the works of Severian of Gabala and terms it as “grammatical exegesis”.In modern research of Greek and Latin manuscripts this term is used about methods for statistical comparison of vocabularies or proof of doubtful authorship. I have therefore chosen to follow the advice of one of Scando-Slavica’s anonymous reviewers and use the term linguistical exegesis for the semantic distinctions made by John the Exarch and Constantine of Preslav.
  • 22. Statistical data about the distribution of the imperfect verbal forms of the type бѣхъ and бѣахъ, as attested in Old Bulgarian manuscripts, can be found in ван Вейк 1957: 319-321.
  • 23. Aitzetmüllers German translation reads: ”Dort, wo er von der Schöpfung spricht, sagt Moses ‚Gott schuf‘, der Evangelist aber sagt ‚war‘ dort, wo er vom Schöpfer selbst spricht. Ein großer Unterschied und eine scharfe Trennung besteht zwischen den Worten ‘schuf‘ und ‘war‘. Das eine wurde, ohne zuvor schon gewesen zu sein, das andere aber war schon immer existent”.
  • 24. Further details about the exegesis of John 1:4 in John Chrysostom and Theodore the Studite and the difference between ἦν, ἐγήνετο in the New Testament and ἐποίησε in Genesis are discussed by Thomson in his study of the Eulogy of St. John the Divine, which had been attributed to John the Exarch; see Thomson 1984: 134, 149.
  • 25. The history of different publications in Юрченко, n.d. (
  • 26. This translation of Nicephorus the Confessor's Apologeticus Maior is preserved in the Laurentian Collection of year 1348 and published by Kuev 1981 as "Ivan Alexander Collection of 1348". For the formula of Confession of faith and the preserved copies, see Куев 1981: 141-182.
  • 27. The protograph of this compilation originated from Tsar Symeon's literary circle; see Aitzetmüller, Mali and Sadnik 1965: t. III, leaf 2.
  • 28. “Die komplexive Funktion von bystь erlaubt einen Rückschluß auf die relative Chronologie. Die Präterita , bьdě usw […] waren zeitlich unbegrenzt und daher der Funktion nach Imperfekta. Sie wurden erst dann zu (komplexiven) Aoristen, als mit der Entstehung des Neoimperfekts auch formal die Möglichkeit gegeben war, im Präteritum auch dieser Verba eine Aspektopposition (begrenzt: unbegrenzt) zu bilden […] Beim Verbum byti scheint zu diesem Zeitpunkt die komplexive Funktion von bystь bereits vorhanden gewesen zu sein, da sonst wohl, so wie bei bьděti, eine Opposition běaše (neues Imperfekt, ubegrenzt): (altes Imperfekt) > neuer Aorist, (begrenzt) gebildet worden wäre; so unterblieb bei der Wandel zum Aorist, wie er bei bьdě- eingetreten ist” (Aitzetmüller 1978: 234).
  • 29. Lägreid 1965 uses the term "rhetorical style"; Hansak 1979 uses the terms "double translation" and "stylistic doublets" for John the Exarch’s translations; see the later discussion in Ikonomova 1995, 186–190.
  • 30. The theological term оупостасъ is analyzed in Hristova-Šomova (Христова-Шомова 2000: 282-292). Pejčev studied the concepts of сѫщьство and ѥстьство in the Symeonic Florilegium (Izbornik of 1073) from the ontological point of view and in the context of Byzantine philosophy, but he was not interested in their theological content in the context of soteriology. Pejčev claimed that the translation techniques of John the Exarch were different from the style of the unknown translator, whose work was evident in the Izbornik of 1073. See Пейчев 1977: 17-24, 77-79. The Izbornik of 1073 made a distinction between Christian allegoric ontology and the heathen Greek philosophers' cosmology, but in my opinion it also offers sufficient arguments and data to support the hypothesis of the existence of the LE pattern in medieval Bulgarian literature. In the present paper, the translations of Basil of Caesarea, Maxim Černorizec, and Theodore of Raita follow the prototype edition of Izbornik of 1073 in Aitzetmüller, Matl and Sadnik 1965, t. III.
  • 31. The description of Triodion' types and the lexical examples in Попов 1985: 174.
  • 32. Citation from Ad Afros Epistola Synodica (4), see Weinandy 2007, 61.
  • 33. The reeding ѡбраꙁь ѹпостаси is registred in Izbornik of 1073, leaf 226, and in the Apostles of Shishatovaz and Ohrid; the reeding тѣльства is found in Christianopolitanus, вѣщаниѣ in Macedonian Apostle. The reedings are from Hristova-Šomova (Христова-Шомова 2004: 480).
  • 34. Тhе following examples are from the microfilm of the Second Oratio/Discourse of Athanasius of Alexandria in manuscript number 968 in the Pogodin collection, cf. in ref. 21. The content of the whole manuscript 968 is described in Vaillant 1954: 12-17, and later by Иванова 1981: 460-461.
  • 35. Johannet's French translation reads: "De Saint Maxime sur la différence entre essence et nature d΄après ceux dehors….Quant aux docteurs de l΄Église, ils ont usé indifféremment des termes, et appelé aussi bien &lt;nature&gt; la même essence que &lt;personne&gt; l΄hypostase".
  • 36. Cf. сличное б҃жїе слово in Милтенов 2006, 481.
  • 37. The term was consistently used in the second translation of Expositio fidei by John Damascene; cf. Weiher 1987: 119a14, 119b1, 124b13
  • 38. My translation souds: "he who trusts in the Lord and follows the prophecy given by him will be formed perfectly in the likeness of the teacher [made] a God who [i.e. the teacher] goes about in [transitory] flesh".
  • 39. Resent data are published by Krуsko (Крысько 2009: 46.
  • 40. Some examples are Pigmenta (prayers to the Psalms) written by Anskar (801-865), the “Apostle of the North”, and Dhuoda who compiled the prayer book Liber manualis for her son in 841; see McGuire 2011: 92-99, 103-107.
  • 41. Quote from Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata, VII, chapter 16, English translation of the New Advent; see
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