The Tale of the Prophet Isaiah

The Destiny and Meanings of an Apocryphal Text


Author: Ivan Biliarsky
In The Tale of the Prophet Isaiah. The Destiny and Meanings of an Apocryphal Text Ivan Biliarsky proposes an edition of the original text of the medieval apocryphon, together with images of the single manuscript copy. The author also includes a large commentary on the otherwise quite unclear narrative concerning its origins, its development, a prosopography of the mentioned persons, an interpretation of its meaning and of the stages of its continuous creation. This completely new approach profoundly revises the source with a strong focus on its biblical roots. Ivan Biliarsky abandons the “national” understanding of the apocryphon and introduces evidence about its significance for the enforcement of the Byzantine-Slavic/Bulgarian Commonwealth and solidarity.

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Ivan Biliarsky, Ph.D (1989), Doctor Sci. (2009) in Medieval history, Professor in Legal History, Varna Free University (2000) and Professor, Institute of History (2011). He has published more than 170 books and articles, including Word and Power in Mediaeval Bulgaria (Brill, 2011).
"...Le lecteur aura deja compris qu'il s'agit d'un livre remarquable a plusieurs titres. I. Biliarsky renouvelle la comprehension d'un texte fondamental de la culture bulgare medievale, montre le poids de la tradition biblique dans la formation de l'ideologie politique au Moyen Age balkanique et, last but not least, restitue une piece essentielle de la litterature apocryphe medievale, un domaine encore trop peu explore. Le livre profitera sans aucun doute a la fois aux philologues et aux historiens et, en general, a tous ceux interesses par l'ideologie du pouvoir, en particulier dans l'orbite culturelle byzantine."
Andrei Timotin, Revue des études sud-est européennes, Tome LII 2014 Nos 1–4, Janvier–Décembre
List of Illustrations ... ix
Preface ... xi

Introduction ... 1

1. The Text of the Literary Work and Its Manuscript Tradition ... 7
The Variable Destiny of the Kichevo Manuscript and the Place of Tale of the Prophet Isaiah in It ... 7
The Text of the Tale of the Prophet Isaiah ... 10

2. Tale of the Prophet Isaiah in the Context of Mediaeval Literature and Modern Researches ... 29
Historiography ... 29
Publications of the text of Tale of the Prophet Isaiah ... 30
Character of the Text ... 49
Authorship ... 51
Localisation ... 52
Dating of the Text ... 54

3. The Chosen People and the Promised Land ... 65
The Prophet Isaiah and the New Israel ... 65
Geographical Features of Religious Identity ... 84
Cities and Founding of Cities ... 98

4. The Divinely Chosen King, Humble to God: Tsar Izot, or Davidic Royalty ... 129
Tsar Izot and His Reign ... 132
The Antagonists ... 135
Goliath, the Sea Frank ... 136
Ozia, the King of the East ... 139
The Davidic Paradigm of Power and Tsar Izot: The Bagrationi Dynasty and the Idea of the Davidic Royalty in the Causcasus ... 150

5. The Renovator King: Tsar Ispor and the Mosaic Royalty: Constantine and the Royalty of the Ruler-Converter to Christianity ... 163
The Moses-Constantine Typology in the Mediaeval World ... 165
Moses-Constantine in Bulgaria ... 179
Moses-Constantine in the Tale ... 189

6. Kings and Their Names ... 205
Arev ... 206
Basil ... 210
Cometopouloi ... 213
Constantine ... 218
Nicephorus ... 221
Roman ... 225
Seleukia Simeklit ... 226
Slav ... 232
Symeon ... 234
Theodora and Her Son the Tsar ... 237
Turgius ... 239

Conclusion ... 243

Excursus One: The List of Names of the Bulgar Princes: Between Myth and History ... 249
Excursus Two: The Birth of the Founding Kings ... 261
Excursus Three: The Tabernacle of the Empire or the State-Church ... 269

Bibliography ... 279
Index ... 297
All those interested in medieval Slavic history and literature and especially in apocryphal writings and the impact of the biblical text on political doctrines. The accent is on the religious interpretation of political ideology.