Rus’ – Byzantium – Europe: An Attempt at Triangulation?

in Russian History
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The critique of Francis Thomson constitutes only part of Ostrowski’s book. The other part, completely unrelated to the first one, is dedicated to a comparison of the intellectual development of the two halves of the Christian world in the Middle Ages. Ostrowski’s assertion that the Byzantines did not include logic in their school curriculum is untrue. What seems to him to be the main difference between East and West does not take root until the end of the 12th century. The West was drifting away from the common patterns of ancient Mediterranean civilization. The East largely remained the same. The Byzantines did not feel any special inclination toward the practical application of theoretical ideas. The people of Old Rus’, on the contrary, were quick at learning and innovating. Respect for tradition inevitably played a smaller role in a nascent culture than in a culture that had been born old.

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