For the Re – understanding of the Kimenic Issue

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Eka Chikvaidze
Nana Mrevlishvili


The beginning of Georgian writing is rightly connected with ecclesiastical writing. Its important and valuable flow is created by the hagiographic literature, about which a thorough assessment was made in the scientific circles at the very beginning of the philological research, which deals with genre identification, typology, stylistic features, frameworks, etc. of hagiography. Nevertheless, Georgian hagiographic material is rarely found in international studies, this rich and diversified literature is little reflected in medieval scholarly works. It is conceivable that in addition to the historical context, we should also look for the reason in the specificity of the terminology. According to K. Kekelidze, hagiography is divided into Kimenic and metaphrasical writings. Often this division leads to misunderstanding, as similar terminological divisions can not be found in hagiographic studies. By classical and admitted definition, Kimen is a term used in exegetical writing to refer to a specific explanatory text in any Bible book. Byzantine commentators used to call Kimen the text and thus separated it from their own commentaries. According to K. Kekelidze's observations and the opinion shared among Georgian scholars, this term later acquired a new meaning, first in Georgian ecclesiastical figures, and then  – in hagiographic writing  – it referred to the initially described and unadulterated life – martyrdoms. Therefore, the texts referred as Kimen in Georgian literature relate to hagiography before metaphrase Here, however, the difference is naturally noticeable: the former is characterized by simple style and composition, story and structure, while in the latter these markers are subtle and more complex. It is necessary to reconsider what we mean by the term Kimen. What corresponds to them in international studies; What are their chronological frameworks, which original Georgian texts do we consider as monuments of Kimenic hagiography and which translated texts should we attribute to it.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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