SENINA T.A. (NUN KASSIA). John the Grammarian and Leo the Mathematician as a Target of Orthodox Critics: Parallels and Historical Context

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2016.5.9

Tatyana A. Senina (nun Kassia)

Candidate of Sciences (Philosophy),

Saint Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation

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B. Morskaya St., 67, 190000 Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation


Abstract. John the Grammarian and Leo the Mathematician and Philosopher, Byzantine intellectuals of the 9th century who played a major role in the revival of interest in the learning of classical culture in Byzantium, were attacked for their passion for the ancient culture and philosophy, particularly Platonism. Strictly Orthodox opponents accused them of impiety, sorcery and even the worship of pagan gods. Despite the absurdity of such accusations, they show that the orthodox fundamentalists denounced a manifest interest in “human wisdom”, because they considered it as a danger for the “wisdom inspired by God”. Patriarch Methodius of Constantinople accused John the Grammarian both of iconoclastic heresy and of passion for Hellenic writings. Constantine the Sicilian, a disciple of Leo the Philosopher, left his teacher and passed to the circle of admirers of the Patriarch Photios of Constantinople. After Leo’s death Constantin blamed him for his apostasy and excessive devotion to the culture of ancient Greece. 40 years later, Leo Choirosphaktes, a disciple of Leo the Philosopher, was attacked by Arethas, Archbishop of Caesarea, with similar accusations. These cases indicate the presence of various trends among the Byzantine intellectuals of 9th century: one traditionally orthodox, personified by Patriarch Photius, and another more Hellenistic, headed by Leo the Philosopher.

Key words: John the Grammarian, Leo the Mathematician, Byzantine History, Byzantine Philosophy, Byzantine education, Iconoclasm, Hellinism.

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John the Grammarian and Leo the Mathematician as a Target of Orthodox Critics: Parallels and Historical Context by Senina T.A. (nun Kassia) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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