The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Language as barrier?

Ostler over chapter 10 (pp. 164) observes that post-Manzikert Slavic Christianity remained intellectually retarded compared with the rest of the world. (Before the 900s, which is when the Slavs converted, everyone was stunted relative to Constantinople and Baghdad.) Ostler floats a reason: the translation of scriptures into the Old Slavonic(s) kept the Slavs out of the Latin (and Greek) mainstream. The Slavs could relate only to other Slavs.

To me that smells like an excuse, not a reason. In Islam at the time, Muslims had their own common language: classical Arabic. In fact their educated class still does. Look at the world the Muslims have made today. I'd put the "parochial" Slavs up against the ecumenical Muslims any day of the week and twice on Friday.

The Slavs are, perhaps, some centuries behind the West in their development - although that might not even be bad, especially given the ongoing degeneracy of the West. I'll grant that Russia, especially, had some problems during what corresponds to Westerners' early modern era. But why blame their language? Protestant Germany had its own Bible. That didn't stop educated Germans from taking the time to learn French, Latin, and even Hebrew.

So I'm not buying it. The late-mediaeval Slavs had only themselves to blame. Well, and maybe the Mongols.

posted by Zimri on 11:31 | link | 0 comments

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