hor Ševčenko’s Ukraine between East and West explores the development of Ukrainian cultural identity under the disparate influences of the Byzantine Empire and western Europe, mediated through Poland. Byzantium was the source from which Kyivan Rus' received Christianity and a highly developed literary and artistic culture, which stimulated Kyiv's own achievements in those fields. Professor Ševčenko shows how the prestige of Byzantine civilization was reinforced by the activities of Kyiv’s Greek metropolitans, various Byzantine emperors, and the Byzantine missionaries and teachers of Greek who influenced the outlook of the South and East Slavic elites during the Middle Ages. Byzantine civilization impacted the culture of Rus' not only during Constantinople’s period of greatness, but even after its fall to the Turks.
Professor Ševčenko also analyzes the importance of the Counter-Reformation in early modern Ukraine. Polish Jesuit scholarship and new instructional methods and the Polish church’s and state’s assimilationist pressures compelled the Ukrainian elite to rise in defense of its ancestral Orthodox faith and reshape its traditional culture with the aid of Western innovations. The intellectual ferment of the era is captured in essays on religious polemical literature and the complex figure of Kyiv’s famous Orthodox metropolitan, Peter Mohyla. Concluding the book is a consideration of the way Byzantine and west European influences combined with the Kyivan legacy to produce a distinctive Ukrainian identity.
Ukraine between East and West provides a wealth of detail and the author’s richly informed analytical perspective. The essays will be a rewarding read not only for students of Byzantine and East European history, but also for anyone interested in cultural formation and development.
Bibliographic notes are appended to each essay, and the volume is enhanced with 22 pages of fifteen chronological tables and four excellent fold-out maps. This is the second, revised edition of the inaugural volume of the monograph series published by the Peter Jacyk Centre for Ukrainian Historical Research at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. The series aims to foster the publication of new research, textbooks, source materials, and translations of classical historical works.
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Ihor Ševčenko (1922-2009) was the Dumbarton Oaks Professor Emeritus of Byzantine History and Literature. Born in Poland, he studied at Prague’s Charles University and the Catholic University of Louvain and was a member of Henri Grégoire's seminar in Byzantine history in Brussels. Dr. Ševčenko taught and conducted research at many institutions, including the Collège de France, the universities of Cologne, Munich, Oxford, Michigan, and California (Berkeley), and Columbia University. Long associated with Dumbarton Oaks, where he served as the director of studies, he became the professor of Byzantine history and literature at Harvard University's Department of Classics in 1973 and served as the acting director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard. Dr. Ševčenko was the honorary president of the International Association of Byzantine Studies and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the British Academy, the Society of Bollandists, the Accademia Pontaniana, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Polish Academy of Knowledge, and other learned societies. A founding editor of Harvard Ukrainian Studies, he also served on the editorial boards of Corpus fontium historiae byzantinae and Corpus des astronomes byzantins. Dr. Ševčenko contributed greatly to the study of the relationship between the cultures of Byzantium and the Slavic world. His essay collections include Society and Intellectual Life in Late Byzantium (1981), Ideology, Letters and Culture in the Byzantine World (1982), and Byzantium and the Slavs in Letters and Culture (1991).
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