Golovashchenko Sergei

The Apologetic Concern in the Work of Biblical Theologians of the Kiev Theological Academy from the End of the Nineteenth to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century (the Problem of Finding Common Ground for Theological and Scientific Thought)

Golovashchenko Sergei (2013) "The Apologetic Concern in the Work of Biblical Theologians of the Kiev Theological Academy from the End of the Nineteenth to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century (the Problem of Finding Common Ground for Theological and Scientific Thought) ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia, 2013, vol. 47, pp. 60-74 (in Russian).


The author examines the relationship between scientific and theological components in a selection of the works of well-known Biblical scholars active at the Kiev Theological Academy around the turn of the nineteenth century and the begin ning of the twentieth. Among them figure the names of F. J. Pokrovsky, V. P. Rybinsky, D. I. Bogdashevsky, and Father A. A. Glagolev. The work of these experts has been little studied until today. The spiritual, intellectual, and ideological context of the time has been taken into account by the author. The author of this article pays special attention to the ideological background surrounding the polemic between Russian Orthodox biblical scholars and those proponents of the negative school of biblical exegesis. The focus is on several key elements of understanding the Bible, the research and exposition of biblical history, as well as points of dogmatic and moral import stemming from an interpretation of the scriptures. The author demonstrates that the position of the Kievan biblical scholars was apologetic, contrasting the theological and scientific schools against the background of a more than positivistic understanding of history and the Bible seen as the sacred scripture of the Church. In this way, they contributed to academic research, and the way of teaching the scriptures of the schools, as well as the exposition of the scriptures for the purpose of dogmatic and moral enlightenment. At the same time, they began the process of working towards a synthesis as an approach for further scientific and theological research. Important for the continuing development of Russian Orthodox biblical studies during the twentieth century was finding a balance between Orthodox biblical apologetics and scientific thought . This attempt at re-discovering and reconstructing the apologetic atmosphere of the Kievan biblical scholars was made possible through a combination of several factors — one of the most important being the handing down of their methods by teachers to their students. Thus we can have an idea of the importance which these teachers assigned above all to their own personal faith, as well as to their methodological and hermeneutic concerns. The author has attempted to elucidate the work of these biblical apologists against the general cultural and religious background of the Russian Empire of the time as well as the specific atmosphere particular to Kiev. Through a thorough analysis of their work, we are able today to make use of their experience in biblical apologetics to solve contemporary problems of teaching and explaining to students the Sacred Scriptures.


Biblical Studies, Kiev Theological Academy, Theology and Science, Biblical History, Biblical Religion, Biblical Apologetics


1. Bogdashevskij D. I. 1909. Istoricheskij harakter knigi Dejanij Apostol'skih (Historical Nature of the Book of the Acts). Trudy KDA, vol. 3.11, pp. 381–425.
2. Bogdashevskij D. I. 1900. O Evangel'skih chudesah (Zametka protiv racionalistov i, v chastnosti, protiv grafa L. Tolstogo) (On Gospel Miracles (A Note against Rationalists and particularly against L. Tolstoy)). Trudy KDA, vol. 8, pp. 473–493.
3. Bogdashevskij D. I. 1902. O Evangelijah i evangel'skoj istorii (protiv sovremennogo racionalizma). Publichnoe chtenie (About the Gospel and Gospel History (Against Modern Racionalism). Public Reading). Trudy KDA, vol. 2, pp. 269–302.
4. Glagolev A. A. 1909. Vethij Zavet i ego neprehodjashhee znachenie v hristianskoj Cerkvi (Po povodu drevnih i sovremennyh literaturnyh i obshhestvennyh techenij protiv obshheprinjatogo znachenija i upotreblenija hristianami vethozavetnyh svjashhennyh pisanij) (Old Testament and Its Everlasting Significance in the Christian Church (On the Ancient and Modern Literary and Public Movements, against Standart Meaning and Usage of Old Testament by the Christians)). Trudy KDA, vol. 3.11, pp. 353–380; vol. 3.12, pp. 517–550.
5. Glagolev A. A. 1902. Непреходящее значение Ветхого Завета. Библиологическая заметка на: Die bleibende Bedeutung des Alten Testaments, von Emil Kautzsch, Tübingen und Leipzig, 1902. § 38 (Everlasting Significance of the Old Testament. Bibliographical Note on: Die bleibende Bedeutung des Alten Testaments, von Emil Kautzsch, Tübingen und Leipzig, 1902. § 38). Trudy KDA, vol. 3.11, pp. 491–504.
6. Glagolev A. A. 1906. Sed'moj vsemirnyj sionistskij kongress v evrejstve (VIIth World Zionistic Congress). Trudy KDA, vol. 1.2, pp. 328–341.
7. Glagolev A. A. 1905. Sionistskoe dvizhenie v sovremennom evrejstve i otnoshenie jetogo dvizhenija ko vsemirno-istoricheskoj zadache biblejskogo Izrailja (Zionistic Movement in the Contemporary Jewry and its Attitude to the World-Historic Task of the Biblical Israel). Trudy KDA, vol. 1.4, pp. 513–565.
8. Golovashhenko S. I. 2012. Vikladannja bіblіologіchnih disciplіn v Kiїvs'kіj Duhovnіj Akademії XIX — pochatku XX st.: struktura і zmіst (The Teaching of Bible Disciplines in Kiev Theological Academy in XIX-XX c.: The Structure and Content) Magіsterіum, vol. 47, pp. 60–67.
9. Golovashhenko S. I. 2011. Issledovanie Svjashhennogo Pisanija v Kievskoj Duhovnoj Akademii v 1861–1914 godah: osnovnye temy i problem (The Bible Research in Kiev Theological Academy in 1861-1914: Basic Subjects and Problems). Trudy KDA, vol. 14. pp. 40–54.
10. Golovashhenko S. I. 2007. Recepcia europejskiej krytyki biblij nej w Akademii Kij owskiej. Wymiar hermeneutyczny i ideologiczny. ΣΟΦΙΑ. Pismo Filozofow Krajow Słowiańskich, vol. 7, pp. 191–200.
11. Luzin M. Biblejskaja nauka (Biblical studies). Tula, 1898, vol. 1.
12. Men’ A. 1987. K istorii russkoj pravoslavnoj bibleistiki (For the History of Russian Orthodox Bible Studies). Bogoslovskie trudy, vol. 28, pp. 272–289.
13. Nikol’skij M. V. 1875. Nasha biblejskaja nauka (Our Bible Theology). Pravoslavnoe obozrenie, vol. 2.2, pp. 84–196.
14. Pokrovskij F. Ja. 1890. Po povodu vozrazhenij sovremennoj kritiki protiv sushhestvovanija Moiseeva zakona ranee drevnejshih prorokov-pisatelej (Rech', proiznesennaja na godichnom akte Kievskoj Duhovnoj Akademii 15 oktjabrja 1889 g.) (On Objection of Modern Critics and against Existence of Moses’ Law earlier than The most Ancient Prophets (The Speech said at the Annual Act of Kiew Theological Academy 15 October 1889)). Trudy KDA, vol. 1.1, pp. 61–98.
15. Pokrovskij F. Ja. 1894. Uchebnik biblejskoj istorii Vethogo Zaveta, doktora Avgusta Kelera, ord. profesora Bogoslovija v Jerljangene. T. 1; Jerljangen, 1875. T. 2; Jerljangen, 1884. T. 3; Jerljangen, 1893 (The Textbook of Scriptural History of the Old Testament by Dr. A. Keler. 1875–1893. T. 1–3). Trudy KDA, vol. 2.8, pp. 630–663; vol. 3.9, pp. 146–170.
16. Rybinskij V. P. 1908. Biblejskaja vethozavetnaja kritika (Biblical Critics of the Old Testament). Trudy KDA, vol. 3.12, pp. 575–613.
17. Rybinskij V. P. 1903. Vavilon i Biblija (po povodu rechi Delicha «Babel und Bibel») (Babylon and Bible (Concerning Delič’s Speech «Babylon and Bible»)). Trudy KDA, vol. 5, pp. 113–144.
18. Suhova N. Ju. 2006. Nesostojavshajasja duhovno-uchebnaja reforma 1890-h godov (Abandoned Theological-School Reform in 1890-s). Bulletin of St Tikhon’s University II, vol. 3 (20), pp. 7–26.
19. Troickij N. I. 1877. Russkaja biblejskaja nauka i ee sovremennye zadachi (Russian Bible Theology and its Contemporary Problems). Chtenija v Obshhestve ljubitelej duhovnogo prosveshhenija, vol. 10, pp. 351–412.

Information about the author

Golovashchenko Sergei