KARCHAGIN E.V., TOKAREVA S.B., YAVORSKIY D.R. The Concepts of Justice and Piety in the Byzantine Political and Philosophical Thought of the 4th Century

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2021.6.18

Evgeniy V. Karchagin

Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Professor,

Department of Philosophy, Sociology and Psychology, Volgograd State Technical University,

Academicheskaya St, 1, 400074 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7398-9292

Svetlana B. Tokareva

Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy,

Volgograd State University,

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4274-6444

Dmitriy R. Yavorskiy

Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Associate Professor, Professor,

Department of Philosophy, Volgograd State University,

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0465-0361


Abstract. Introduction. The article analyzes the transformations of the concept of justice in early Byzantine thought. The purpose of the article is to test the hypothesis that the semantic shifts in the meaning of the concept of justice in the philosophical and theological literature were due to political processes and events.

Methods. The article analyzes the political philosophical and political theological texts of the fourth century: “Oration in Honor of Constantine on the Thirtieth Anniversary of His Reign” by Eusebius of Caesarea; “Panegyric in Honour of Constantius” and “The Heroic Deeds of Constantius” by emperor Julian (“The Apostate”); “On Kingship” by Synesius of Cyrene. In the course of the analysis, the methodological tools of the history of concepts were used.

Analysis. The analysis revealed a conflict between the concepts of “justice” and “piety”. It was found that the analyzed texts violate the ancient political and philosophical correlation of these concepts in which piety is considered as a form of justice. In the texts of Eusebius of Caesarea, piety is presented as a particular virtue without any connection with justice. Moreover, the frequency of using the concept of “piety” in the sense of the ruler’s virtue significantly exceeds the frequency of using the concept of “justice” in the sense of political virtue. In the texts of the Emperor Justinian, the discursive status of “justice” is restored. However, in the political philosophy of Synesius of Cyrene, the correlation of the concepts of “justice” and “piety” prescribed by Eusebius of Caesarea is fixed.

Results. These processes is due to the influence of religious discourse on political one which is quite understandable in the works of theologians, on the one hand, and the crisis of polis and republican political technologies and discourses in the situation of increasing complexity of administrative tasks faced by the Roman emperors of the 4th century, on the other hand which subsequently led to the formation of a specific Byzantine “taxis” – a socio-cultural order. In this regard, the texts of Emperor Julian can be considered as an unsuccessful attempt to restore the previous discourse, an attempt to restore justice to a dominant place among the virtues of the ruler. The failure of this attempt is attested from the texts of Synesius of Cyrene. All the above allows us to conclude that a new Christian-imperial political discourse is being generated in the corpus of philosophical and theological texts in which the concept of justice is given a relatively modest place.

Key words: justice, piety, history of concepts, the Byzantine Empire, the Byzantine emperor, Eusebius of Caesarea, Julian the Apostate, Synesius of Cyrene.

Citation. Karchagin E.V., Tokareva S.B., Yavorskiy D.R. The Concepts of Justice and Piety in the Byzantine Political and Philosophical Thought of the 4th Century. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2021, vol. 26, no. 6, pp. 224-235. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2021.6.18.

Лицензия Creative Commons

The Concepts of Justice and Piety in the Byzantine Political and Philosophical Thought of the 4th Century by Karchagin E.V., Tokareva S.B., Yavorskiy D.R. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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