NR. 2 – 2011

Rezumate Studii Teologice 2011.2

Alexandru MIHĂILĂ — The holy war ideology as an agent for self-identity in the so-called Deuteronomistic History: The case of 1 Sam 15

Sumar: Ideologia războiului sfânt ca factor pentru identitatea proprie în așa-zisa Istorie Deuteronomistă. Cazul din 1 Sam 15

Plecând de la faptul că încă există o diversitate de opinii ale cercetătorilor despre așa-zisa Istorie Deuteronomistă, este studiat capitolul 15 din 1 Samuel (1 Regi), care reprezintă una dintre cele mai interesante narațiuni biblice despre războiul sfânt și ḥerem (distrugerea totală). Dacă școala germană recunoștea în 1 Sam o redactare târzie profetică (din perioada exilului, către jumătatea sec. al VI-lea îdHr.), școala anglo-americană a încercat să găsească vechi tradiții scrise care ar coborî până în sec. al IX-lea îdHr. (așa-numitul Document Profetic în ipoteza lui Campbell și O’Brien).

Pentru a formula o propunere pentru datare, sunt analizate noțiunile prezente în 1 Sam: poporul lui Israel, Iuda, amaleciții și cheniții. Raportul de 5% dintre oamenii din Iuda și „poporul lui Israel” ar putea reflecta de fapt ideea teologică a rămășiței pe care și‑au asumat-o cei care s-au reîntors din exil. De altfel, numărul mic al locuitorilor provinciei Iudeea este atestat și de arheologie. Amaleciții sunt menționați doar în Biblie, apărând în special în istoria timpurie a Israelului. Totuși, după 1 Cr (1 Paral) 4, 43 descendenți amaleciți sunt menționați și în perioada târzie. De altfel, de regele Agag din 1 Sam provine și denumirea de „agaghit” al lui Haman din Est 3, 1. Dacă amaleciții sunt sortiți ḥerem-ului pentru totdeauna, cheniții dimpotrivă sunt crutați, pentru că au dovedit „fidelitate” față de „poporul lui Israel” (1 Sam 15:6). Și cheniții apar în istoria veche, dar nu lipsesc nici în perioada post-exilică: așa cum atestă 1 Cr (1 Paral) 2, 55 și Neh (Neem) 3, 14, sunt menționați descendenți cheniți (clanul Bet Rechab) în această perioadă. Dacă 1 Sam 15 este citit nu ca o relatare istorică, ci ca un program al definirii comunității din perioada post-exilică, atunci amaleciții pot fi văzuți drept „edomiți dușmănoși” (Amalec este descendent din Edom după Gen (Fac) 36, 12), oponenți direcți ai comunității „poporului lui Israel”, pe când cheniții drept „canaaniți prietenoși”, care pot fi integrați în comunitatea religioasă.

Sunt aduse alte trei serii de argumente. Termenul de „popor al lui Israel” trebuie să fie târziu. Cântecul Deborei îl menționează (Jud 5, 13), iar opinia clasică a cercetătorilor plasa această piesă literară în straturile cele mai vechi ale Bibliei ebraice. Totuși ar fi ciudat ca numele de Israel să fie inițial aplicat general întregului popor, apoi restrâns doar la regatul nordic, iar apoi iarăși generalizat. Finkelstein crede că de fapt conștiința pan-israelită apare târziu, în perioada domniei lui Iezechia (după 722 îdHr.), iar Na’aman împinge fenomenul în perioada lui Iosia (sec. al VII-lea îdHr.). Pe de altă parte, în perioada antică nu există concepția propriu-zisă de „popor”, accentul căzând pe localizarea indivizilor. Grosby, un susținător al primordialismului noțiunii de „popor” oferă exemplul din inscripțiile de la Sefire, unde apare expresia „întregul Aram” în paralel cu „poporul lui”. Totuși, exemplul nu este edificator pentru „poporul lui Israel”: de fapt în inscripție numele de Aram este împărtășit de două entități, Aramul de Sus și Aramul de Jos, pe când numele de Israel aparține statului nordic, cel din sud fiind menționat cu numele „casa lui David” și Iuda. În al doilea rând, deși au iscat controverse, s-au formulat o serie de rezerve cu privire la datarea clasică a Deuteronomului primar, cel pe baza căruia este formulată teologia din Istoria Deuteronomistă. Pakkala crede că el ar proveni tot din perioada exilică-post exilică. Al treilea argument este lingvistic: Biblia ebraică folosește o grafie pentru sufixul pronominal de persoana III masculin singular (w) spre diferență de uzualul h din epigrafia din timpul monarhiei. Și aceasta ar indica redactarea în perioada post-exilică.

Concluzia ar fi că 1 Sam 15 ar proveni din perioada post-exilică, nefiind o relatare istorică, ci un program pentru definirea identității celor care fac parte din comunitatea religioasă (nu etnică!) a „poporului lui Israel” (identificat cu cei întorși din exil; aici termenul „popor” nu trebuie echivalat cu cel modern de „popor”) și stabilirea granițelor față de cei care nu pot face parte din comunitate sau, dimpotrivă, pot fi integrați. Un model similar poate fi aplicat, în opinia autorului, și altor texte despre războiul sfânt, precum Jud 4-5 și Ios 6. Aceasta nu înseamnă că narațiunile sunt create în întregime în perioada post-exilică, ci doar că acum au fost redactate pentru a servi descrierii programatice a identității comunității religioase.


Daniel LEMENI — Dinamica îndrumării spirituale în tradiția pustiei egiptene din secolul al IV-lea

Summary: The Dynamics of spiritual guidance in the 4th-century desert tradition

In the present study, we approach the issue of spiritual fatherhood in Eastern Christian spirituality. Our first, major premise has been the archetypal figure of the spiritual father in the Christian East is epitomized by the Desert Fathers of the 4th-5th centuries. From this perspective, our investigation into the classical texts of early monasticism (especially, Apophtegmata Patrum) has allowed us to remove certain clichées concerning the role of a spiritual director. By this we mean delimiting the spiritual father’s role from other roles that are related by not identical, such as those of teacher (didaskalos), spiritual mentor or even confessor-priest. The peculiarity of a pater pneumatikos is that he does not convey a doctrine in an abstract, discursive manner, but rather he proposes to his disciple a living assimilation of a spiritual teaching. It is in this perspective of spiritual expericence that we must raise the issue of the spiritual father and this is also our tenet in the present chapter: the abba is mainly defined as an anthropos pneumatikos, that is, a man who by his long experience in the desert, has learned the skills of spiritual life. And, indeed, a spiritual father’ s authority is not identical to a teacher’s, because what a senex conveys through his word is not a doctrine, but his personal experience concerning spiritual life. Generally, Apophtegmata Patrum consider spiritual expertise as one of the specific criteria of the „elders”, since they were not sought for theoretical teachings, but mainly for their practical spiritual knowledge. Through his lifestyle, the spiritual father tacitly provides a model to his disciple, as often show the Paterikon’s accounts of the Desert Fathers. Thus is configured the essential role of any genuine spiritual father, namely his endeavour to guide his disciple’s inner spiritual life.

On the other hand, I have found that the authority of a spiritual father is not confined to that auctoritas claimed by the priest or celebrant, as one might think. Whereas the confessor-priest and the bishop exert an authority delegated by an „institution”, thus an officially conferred one (de jure authority) a spiritual father’s authority is, a contrario, based on his personal charisma (de facto authority). We understand that the two types of authority, the „administrative and charismatic” one (F. Neyt) or the „institutional and practical” one (K. Ware) are not mutually exclusive. They are to a certain extent compatible and they can intersect, since a bishop or a priest can assume the role of spiritual fathers. Our conclusion is reaching a via media between the two dimensions of the Church, because due to its charismatic character the practice of spiritual guidance provided by the desert Fathers complement the Church’s institutional character. This twofold character of the Church, defined by both the ecclesial side (bishop and priest), and the charismatic one (abba or „elder”) actually achieve the communitarian dimension of the Church.

Thus, although in approaching this (ir)reconcilable tension between pneumatic asceticism and hierarchical authority, we have opted for a mediating solution, believing that the  issue of charismatic authority versus instituțional authority is still an object of theological reflection in the Christian East. By placing the practice of spiritual guidance in the realm of spiritual expertise, the tenet we support is that an abba is stricto sensu an anthropos pneumatikós. Thus, spiritual expertise is the distinctive characterisic of a spiritual father in Eastern Christian spirituality. From this perspective, by looking into the ascetical texts of early monasticism, especially Apophtegmata Patrum which is the main source for the identity of Eastern asceticism – we have been able to render the dynamics of spiritual guidance in its depth.

Our conclusion is that a patèr pneumatikós does not simply convey spiritual expertise theoretically, but rather embodies by his very lifestyle. We understand, thus, that a spiritual father will irradiate through his mere presence and not his discourse, which means the practice of spiritual guidance is placed in sight, it is shown to us. In other words, if the abba exerts his influence on his disciple by his mere presence, this means he tacitly provides the disciple with a role model, as generally proved by Paterikon sentences with ostensive significance. Thus, we conclude that the tradition of spiritual fatherhood is based on a personal, rather than institutional, model.


Dumitru-Mitruț POPOIU — Paradisul în viziunea Părinților din pustia Egiptului

Summary: The Paradise according to the Egyptian Fathers

The Paradise is a key concept for religious people everywhere, and has been mainly imagined as a garden of delights, where the original man was placed by God to tend to it and master it. Adamic Paradise and its regaining have been, especially in the Judaic-Christian world, analyzed not only in theological writings, but also in lay ones. Theologians have stressed the spiritual meaning of the first chapters of the Genesis and sought to retrace the steps of the ancestors exiled because of the sin, in other words they have undertaken mystical journeys, closely connected to the purity of life, prayer and fasting. Throughout the times, the search for the paradise lost has entailed scholarly research, beside detailed study of Biblical texts. Thus, in late Antiquity and early Middle Ages, the Eden was marked on the maps, located somewhere in the Far East, usually on an island, or in the South, that is in a place hard or impossible to reach by man on his own.

Reviwing the entire range of Christian imagery related to Paradise, one easily finds the lack of a unitary view on this theological aspect. Differences are not accounted for by Eastern versus Western notions, not even by the evolution of thought throughout history, but simply by theological affinities. Several Holy Fathers mentioned in their writings references to a real, physical Paradise, located in a hardly accessible place, while others, generally applying the allegorical method of interpretation imposed by Origen, believed that the Paradise was an image of the Church or of God-seeking man. Whereas the former stressed the physical existence of Paradise, in order not to question the credibility of the Genesis account, the latter stressed the spiritual aspect, in order not to give too much importance to material things. In-between is St. Ephraim the Syrian, who in his Hymns on the Paradise speaks of the physical reality of the garden of Eden, which however cannot be accessed by man as long as he is bodily alive. This shows that material and spiritual realities were, in Christian Antiquity, different from today, and the divide between the two dimensions was less clear in Oriental semitic world than in the Greek and Latin one.

Morever, it is interesting to investigate into the vision of Paradise of monks, especially the ascetics in the Eastern deserts. Like Ephraim, they considered there was no clear-cut distinction between “this world” and “the otherworld”. Consequently, many fathers in the Egyptian desert refused to locate the Biblical Paradise in the visible world, or equate it with man’s state after death. Setting the Paradise in the desert or on a hardly acessible island is considered, in most ascetical writings of the 4th-5th centuries, as a temptation that brings no profit except the conclusion on how not to look for the Paradise. The claims for Edenic visions or the exemplary journeys to earthly “Edens” have been considered by most monks as attempts doomed to fail, and leading to failure. An example is the journey of Abba Makarios to the paradise of Jannes and Jambres. We note that the Egyptian father hardly finds his way to this garden, which however is not the Eden, but merely its imitation. 

Classic biographies of Egyptian monasticism, such as the Patericon, The History of Egyptian Ascetics,  The Lausiac History or The Life of St. Anthony the Great, clearly demonstrate that monks did not seek Paradise in a particular place, because it is already experienced here, through ascesis and prayer; their way of life is tellingly called “angelic life”. Spending their time in extreme sobriety, Egyptian anachorites sought to imitate the innocent life of the the forefathers in the Garden of Eden, however refusing to taste from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and preferring obedience. A number of paradisiacal elements can be easily found in their biographies: dialogue with God and the angels, fasting as a state of the superior man, watchfulness, visions and mystical travelling, mastering the created world, longevity, successful fight against devils, resurrections from the dead: all these “signs” point to Adamic life. Although we have enumerated here several elements implying the supernatural, this does not mean that ascetics pursued miracles, visions and conversations with the persons from the afterlife. On the contrary, many of them preferred to reject miracles, as shows the instance of the monk to whom devil appeared in the image of the Lord, in order to push him to the sin of pride. The monk closed his eyes and strongly stated that he only wished to see Christ in His Kingdom. This example clearly shows that, although it is already experienced in the earthly life, the Paradise is in itself an eschatological expectation, whose fulfilment occurs only after the end of this life, with the limitations of this imperfect world. Rejection of the world and daily cares, in order to establish an incessant connection with God, is to Egyptian monks the way back to the garden of Eden, which after Adam’s fall is guarded by an angel with a “flaming sword” (Gen. 3, 24).


Alexandru PRELIPCEAN — Sfântul Roman Melodul – imnograful desăvârșit al Ortodoxiei

Summary: St. Romanos the Melodist – outstanding hymnographer of Orthodoxy

The present study dwells on the life, works and theology of St. Romanos the Melodist, „melodist of melodists” (J. Pitra). Alongside the brief presentation of these three aspects pertaining to Patristic research, we intended to approach some aspects complementing the study of Romaneic kontakia, such as manuscripts and critical editions/contemporary translations of the Byzantine melodist’s works.

There are not many Romanian studies on the theology of St. Romanos the Melodist. Most articles/studies confined themselves to describe the life, works and importance of St. Romanos as creator of kontakia, in critical editions with the hymnographer’s texts, however the theological-philological contents of his entire corpus of works has been neglected. The few translations from the Byzantine author’s works are not accompanied by any scholarly introduction related to his life and works, or information on the respective translations. A marked difference from this type of shallow presentations are two volumes with translations from the Melodist’s works: the one entitled Hymns of Repentance, with an introductory study by the renowned Patrologist Andrew Louth, and the translation of some of the Melodist’s hymns by Cristina Rogobete and Sabin Preda, also prefaced by a well-structured introductory study evincing the intention to revive the legacy of the Byzantine hymnographer and Christian hymnography. On the other hand, the studies provided by the Occidental or Greek scholars, numerous articles and studies in prestigious dictionaries, books or theological reviews, have highlighted extremely various aspects, both philological and theological.

This finding has prompted us to undertake an extensive investigation into the life, works and theology of the Byzantine hymnographer, including the latest research, especially the Greek one. Our synthesis, to which we have added three aspects complementary to the study of kontakia, is in no way the end-all of such endeavours. We have not intended it to be so. It is an attempt to know the life and works of St. Romanos the Melodist  as well as an invitation to read Christian poetry.

Numerous aspects concerning the Byzantine hymnographer’s life and works have not yet been approached by scholars. Dissenting opinions notwithstanding, a fact is certain: St. Romanos the Melodist came from Syria, endowed with the Syrian culture, and lived in Constantinople, where he wrote most of his works. Scholars, maybe Romanian ones, still have to ascertain the autorship of some kontakia with hagiographic contents that are ascribed to him.

With all sholarly demonstrations, the only certainty remains the existence of St. Romanos’ kontakion. As a new genre of Christian hymnography and a new expression of theology, the kontakion sums up the entire Christian doctrine, inviting us to know and apply it. St. Romanos’ kontakion actually develops his theology. His support for Neo-Chalcedonian theology underlies the verses of his kontakia, which promote it and reveal it as a fulfilment and continuation of Chalcedon Council. On the other hand, the theology of his kontakia mainly emphasizes the Christological dogma of Chalcedon, as well as the connection between Scriptural imagery and the notion which the Church had already been promoting for centuries: salvation is possible only within the Church, through Christ.

St. Romanos’ manuscripts prove the appearance of  kontakaria, collections of kontakia that existed since the Melodist’s time until 11th century. Despite certain lacks or philological ambiguities, the  kontakaria can easily render the evolution of public divine service, and therefore enable us to understand the sudden shift from kontakia to the canons composed by St. Andrew of Crete and other Byzantine hymnographers.


Eugen MAFTEI — A fost Sfântul Atanasie apolinarist?

Summary: Was St. Athanasius an Apollinarianist?

The present article attempts to provide answers to certain questions on how St. Athanasius of  Alexandria perceived the humanity of our Saviour Christ, some of them tending to equate his thinking to that of Apollinarius of Laodicea. We assert from the very beginning that the Orthodoxy and the compliance of a Holy Father’s thinking with the doctrine of the Church is ascertained by the Church itself; one’s inclusion among the Holy Fathers canon is the very guarantee of his Orthodoxy, since it is done with the assistance of the Holy Spirit and consecrated by the Church’s uninterupted Tradition. As the Fathers’ writings have also become the object of rational and textual criticism, we deem a re-evaluation of this aspect to be necessary. To be able to comprehend the theology of a Church Father, one must analyze his works as a whole, and always put references in context and take into account the influence of his times, as well as the concepts and terminology employed by the author to express certain realities. Admittedly, St. Athanasius does not explicitly assert the existence of a human soul in Christ until the Council of Alexandria, in 362, but nor does he deny it. Most often, this truth is implied and we have no reason to question the Orthodoxy of his teachings.

There is certainly no methodological account or doctrinal system of St. Ahtanasius the Great concerning the Incarnation, but one must bear in mind that he lived in a time when Church dogma was not yet established, and Christian terminology still owed much to Greek philosophy. Actually, there are no such systematizations with any of the Holy Fathers of early Christian centuries. They did not aim to write dogmatics treatises, but to respond to concrete problems that the Church faced at the time. St. Athanasius’ writings must be also viewed according to their motivation. As his first books intended mainly to oppose pagans and Arians, the most important thing was to him not to demonstrate the existence of Christ’s human soul, but to defend His divinity and the reality of Incarnation, maintaining the unity of Christ’s Person. To St. Athanasius, the Word is truly God, God who does not dwell into a man, but becomes man. And becoming man does not mean having human appearance, or turning into a man, but being truly man, at the same time remaining God. In his thought, the term sarx is tantamount to anthropos, designating the entire mankind and not only a lifeless body. So proves the fact that in order to express the mystery of Incarnation, he prefers to use the term ἐνανθρώπησις, showing that the Incarnation is not only the Word’s assuming a body, but His becoming man, of course without giving up His divinity.

St. Athanasius of Alexandria understands the phrase «the Word was made flesh» in the same way as St. John the Evangelist, that is with the meaning « the Word was made man», and this is why he says that the Scripture calls man flesh. If the Logos assumes human being in its entirety, He must also assume the feelings characteristic to this state, and not only those pertaining to the body, but also those pertaining to soul. Therefore, St. Athanasius can say that the Son of God was made flesh, and at the same time that He was afraid, He wept, He sorrowed, etc. The „flesh” he speaks about is living flesh, unseparated from the spiritual element, together with which it makes up the human being as a whole, a being that feels, thinks and acts. With this nature was the divine nature united, in the person of Christ our Saviour, without it existing before and without the Word coming to dwell in a pre-existing man; but the Word Himself is born from the womb of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, becoming man and yet remaining God unchanged. This proves an understanding superior to both the Apollinarianist conception, and the Arianist one, St. Athanasius being able to perceive within Christ the full humanity (body and soul) to which he ascribes all psycho-physical affects while maintaining unimpaired the divinity and dispassion of the Logos. The Incarnation principle presupposes an interconnection: for example, when Christ’s humanity undergoes suffering, the Word is not exterior to it, and then the Word resurrects the dead, His humanity is not exterior either. Thus, Christ does human things divinely and divine things humanly.

The Christology of St. Athanasius the Great, as well as his anthropology, is deeply soteriological. Everything is accounted for by the ultimate goal of God’s work concerning man, that is, man’s salvation. Based on this truth, his discourse is always centered on salvific economy and must be viewed in this light. St. Athanasius understood that in order to save man, Christ had to be true God and true man. Only as God could He defend death, which had become part of human nature, and could He elevate humanity above its natural state by deifying it, and only as true man could He undergo death and defeat it from inside. This is the reason why St. Athanasius focuses his arguments against the two teachings that denied either the divinity of the Logos (Arianism), or the realitaty of Incarnation (docetism). If St. Athanasius considers Christ to be true God and if he insists on a real incarnation, we do not see why he should consider Him less human, denying Him a soul and implicitly the integrity of His human nature which he actually asserts in speaking about salvation. Christ did not only save us by what he was (true God and true man), but also by what He did (He died and resurrected so that we should be resurrected). However, to carry out this mission he needed a real human nature, completely similar to the other people, so that by assuming it and freeing it from sin, He could achieve not only the salvation of his individual humanity, but of all the people.

Thus, St. Athanasius’ Christology, although not completely defined  – which will be achieved by subsequent Ecumenical Councils – is in agreement with the Church’s doctrine and, moreover, lays the grounds for later elaborations.


Raul-Constantin TĂNASE — Biserica și regimul fanariot. Politica reformatoare a lui Constantin Mavrocordat în Țările Române

Summary: The Church and the Phanariote regime. The reform policy of Constantin Mavrocordat

The 18th century, dubbed „the Enlightenment century,” stands out in universal historiography due to its political, social, cultural reforms as well as the national freedom movements, laying the grounds for the development of new mindsets. The situation was not, however, homogenous throughout Europe, since in its south-east still prevailed „medieval customs with multiple Oriental influences” (Neagu Djuvara). In the Romanian Principalities, this period known as the „Phanariote century”, is marked by the Greek elements entering administration and the strengthening of Ottoman Empire’s domination. The attempts made by the Romanian princes Dimitrie Cantemir and Constantin Brâncoveanu to create a network of alliances aiming to remove Ottoman suzerainty, determined the Porte to restrict the autonomy of the two provinces and replace native princes with Phanariot rulers. The Phanariote formula was a compromise between the autonomy granted to the Principalities, and the exertion of direct administration. In order to counter native rulers’ attempts to ally with the Christian powers comprising the Holy League, aiming to free Europe from the Ottoman domination, the Porte decided to appoint  obedient rulers, faithful to the sultan, mainly selected from the Greek residents of the Phanar neighbourhood. Another goal of this change in regime, beside restricting boyards’ authority, was to exploit the resources necessary to support the army and administration, in a time when Turkish conquests had ceased.

Regarding the date when the Phanariote regime was established in the two Romainan Principalities, researchers have put forth several hypotheses. Beside the generally accepted opinion placing the beginning of this period in the year 1711 for Moldavia, respectively 1716 for Wallachia, new opinions claim that there existed „Phanariote rulers before the Phanariote age”. In the specialized literature, especially the mid-19th century one – when the fight for national emancipation had intensified in both Principalities, due to the young educated abroad who imported Enlightenment ideas – the remains of Phanariote reigns represented an essential issue. Under these circumstances appeared the stereotype acording to which the era was seen from the standpoint of its negative consequences on society. The „critical school” founded by  Nicolae Iorga, Ioan Bogdan and Dimitrie Onciul, opposes this view, emphasizing the positive dimension of the Phanariote regime, whose social-political and administrative reforms opened the way to modernity.

The Church played a key role in directing the Romanian Principalities towards modern policies, through its various actions intended to generalize the use of Romanian language in education, to develop the cultural and ecclesiastical realms. In order to be successful as a mediator between state and society and an institution collaborating with the prince and other central bodies, the Church had to folow a rigorous program for hierarchical organization in the two provinces. An example is its notable intervention before the prince, concerning the abolishing of  serfdom in Wallachia and Moldavia, as well as limiting the exploitation of the rural population. The clergy members participated in the General Assembly, and their ideas often influenced the prince’s decisions. The manner of hierarchs’ election demonstrates the close collaboration between lay and ecclesiastical authorities, as well as their mutual control. Administration-wise, the ecclesiastial institution retained its autocephaly, however without any formal statement to this effect, in synodal or patriarchal documents.

Constantin Mavrocordat (1711-1769), a highly cultured Phanariote prince, stands out due to the wide-ranging reforms he undertook during his twenty years of reign in either Wallachia or Moldavia. The governing practices established by the new prince included his sharing authority with local boyards with aristocratic tendencies, who supported his accession to the throne. The political program promoted by the Greek prince intended to substantiate the „governing formula associating the boyards to the decisions made by the prince”. The custom of gift offering, that catered to the  boyards’ interests, was a direct consequence of the pressure of Tukish exploitation.

The reforms initiated by Constantin Mavrocordat concerned several realms: fiscal, juridical, military, ecclesiastical, cultural. The 1741 decree abolished the many taxes paid by boyards, monasteries and priests, and re-established the fixed tax collected quarterly. Taxes such as the ones on cattle and cultivated land plots (1741) were suppressed, and censuses were conducted with the names of all tax payers in order to limit the possibilities of tax evasion. The payment system of officials and the institution of prefects who cumulated fiscal and juridical attributions, aimed to create a competent administrative apparatus, able to apply the new measures. The fiscal reform demonstrated that prince Constantin Mavrocordat had a centralizing vision, substantiated in enhanced control over local administration, through his delegates, as well as the suppression of certain social categories’ privileges. In the juridical field, modernization was aimed at procedures. The prince’s decisions were drafted in two copies, registered at the chancellery and sealed in order to prevent frauds, and with a view to their correct application specialized clerks were provided. The generalization of written procedures and the restriction of concurrent instances, as well as the lobbying for the use of Romanian language, were elements of the prince’s policy in the juridical realm. These measures aimed to extend state’s authority and abolish obsolete institutions, while also restricting the privileges of the great boyards. Through the military reform, the army of court officials and servants were exempt from service, but obliged to pay the due tax. In each administrative unit was established an army corps in order to maintain public order. To prevent the spread of peasant movements, generated by systematic and abusive exploitation by the noblemen, Constantin Mavrocordat decided to abolish serfdom in Wallachia (1746) respectively Moldavia (1749). The gist of this reform consisted in regulating the relationship with dependant serf peasants, who were now freed  but deprived of land, with or without the right to move to another estate, and obliged to a few days of unpaid work a year. The Greek prince supported the Church with material aids, lobbied for the education of the clergy, of whatever rank. This stopped the clergymen’s migration from town to town, and defined the criteria for their appointment. A result of the Church-prince collaboration was greater access to education for poor population, by establishing rural schools.

The reforms initiated by Constantin Mavrocordat, continuing his father’s program, were highly important and their effects were manifold. Even though they failed to achieve their goals completely, because of heavy taxation and too short, unstable terms of office, they represent „progressive measures laying the grounds for national revival in the following century” as well as landmarks on the Principalities’ advancement towards modernity.


Emanuel CONȚAC — Tradiția biblică românească. o prezentare succintă din perspectiva principalelor versiuni românești ale Sfintei Scripturi

Summary: The Romanian Biblical Tradition: A Survey from the Perspective of the Most Important Romanian Versions of the Holy Scripture

The present article surveys the Romanian biblical tradition, understood as the totality of Romanian versions, partial or complete, in manuscript or printed form, regardless of the cultural, political and denominational milieu in which they have been produced. Given the scarcity of studies on this generous topic, this article aims at sparking the interest for similar or more in-depth presentations. Given the constraints incumbent upon studies of this kind, the author omits the manuscript versions or the partial versions circulated prior to the publishing of the first Romanian edition of the New Testament, printed at Bălgrad (modern-day Alba Iulia) in 1648. The paper begins with this particular edition, which is given ample treatment, especially with regard to the Calvinist ideas contained in the prefaces. Although typically Romanian historians have held that the 23 prefaces appended to the biblical books are thoroughly Eastern Orthodox in character, the author of this paper identifies important features which bespeak a theology informed by Calvinist precepts, such as the definition of faith as “the hand of the soul” (a commonplace of Reformed and Puritan theology), the emphasis on justification, the definition of the ministries of Christ according to the threefold classification first set out by Calvin, and attacks against the “papists” and “jesuits” in a manner typical of Reformed anti-Catholic polemics.

Considerable space is given to the Bucharest Bible, printed in 1688 by Prince Șerban Cantacuzene and published lately as a critical edition in 25 volumes, by a team of biblical scholars and philologists led by professor Eugen Munteanu of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iași. Another important Romanian version is the Bible translated by the Uniate monk Samuil Micu and printed in Blaj, in 1795. This edition has been reprinted many times by Orthodox ecclesiastical authorities and thus has exerted a considerable influence on the Romanian biblical tradition. It has been called, without exaggeration, “the mother of Romanian Bibles”, being reprinted in Saint Petersburg (1819) and Buzău (1854-1856). The 1819 version, in turn, has been reprinted in Sibiu (1856-1858) by bishop Andrei Șaguna. The last “descendant” of Micu’s Bible is the first Synodal version, the text of which was prepared by members of the Holy Synod during 1908-1914. This is the last Romanian Bible which is thoroughly based on the text of the Septuagint. Beginning with the 1936 Synodal version (translated by bishop Nicodim Munteanu, Gala Galaction and Vasile Radu), the Romanian Bibles have used dual sources: both the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text. Revisions and reprints of the 1936 Bible, in 1944, 1968, 1975, 1982, etc. (up to 2008) have not greatly improved its text. In fact, it can be shown that errors which first made their way into the 1936 edition persist to this day, calling urgently for a careful revision (or for a translation from scratch) which has been long overdue.

A significant step towards remedying the plight of the Romanian Orthodox Bible has been taken by the late Bartolomeu Anania (metropolitan of Cluj in 2006-2011), who embarked on a long and complex process of revising the 1975 Bible by taking the Septuagint as reference text. His edition, published in 2001, after 14 years of intense efforts, has been hailed as a great literary achievement, though biblical scholars who have scrutinized the fruits of Anania’s labour have been more reserved in their commendations.

In the meantime, decisive action has come from beyond the ecclesiastical quarters, from a group of lay scholars supervised by Cristian Bădiliță, a classical and patristic scholar. Under the auspices of the NEC College (led by Romanian essayist Andrei Pleșu), the 21 –member group has translated the Septuagint in a period of roughly eight years. The 8 tomes which resulted were published in the period 2004–2011. Upon completion of the Septuagint project, Cristian Bădiliță has embarked on another one: the translation of the New Testament in 7 volumes, each with important notes and commentaries. Up to now only two volumes have been published: Matthew and John.

In the Protestant camp, a notable version has been printed in Iassy (1874) by the British and Foreign Bible Society, followed by the Nitzulescu’s New Testament version (1897). Although Nitzulescu himself was teaching at the Orthodox Faculty of Theology in Bucharest, he seems to have had Protestant leanings, as evidenced in his translation, circulated almost exclusively in Protestant circles. Radical innovations were introduced by the hierodeacon Dumitru Cornilescu, who seems to have embraced Evangelical convictions while working on a translation for “the common people”, in 1916–1920. His version, more paraphrastic than any other before him or many that came after him, was first published in 1921. Three years later, upon considerable revision (in the NT text), it was accepted by the BFBS. It has been reprinted countless times ever since (sometimes with updated orthography) and has established itself as the Textus Receptus of the Romanian Evangelicals. The most recent Protestant translation, the New Romanian Version (2007) is no match for the Cornilescu one, which will probably lose its constituency only gradually, in the next decades.

A third branch of the Romanian biblical tradition is comprised of Catholic versions. So far, it has boasted only three versions (New Testament editions): one published in 1935, another one published by father Emil Pascal in 1975 (with many reprints) and, more recently, one translated by fathers Alois Bulai and Anton Budău. While none of these versions is without its specific failings, the latter is a considerable improvement on the previous two.

In closing, mention should be made of two very peculiar versions translated from English into Romanian. One is the New World Translation made by a team of Jehovah’s Witnesses (2006) and the other is the Fidela version, a rendering of the KJV, produced by a group of independent Baptist believers from Cluj who felt that they could not deprive the Romanian people of the enduring beauty and consummate artistry of the text penned by the company of translators which stands behind this world-famous version. Unfortunately, due to the lack of proper knowledge, both of 17th century English and of modern-day Romanian, the resultant Romanian version is marred by countless barbarisms, atrocious calques and infelicities of style, and can be safely classified as a translation experiment gone awry, a waste of money, time and energy.

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