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The concept of irony in the legacy of St. Basil the Great

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2019. Vol. 8. No. 4. Pp. 279-287.
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Medvedeva A. A.
Lomonosov Moscow State University
GSP-1 Leninskie Gory, 119991 Moscow, Russia


The author of the study considers the fragments of texts from the heritage of St. Basil the Great, which contain the root “εἰρων-”. The proposed fragments are accompanied by translations into Russian. Each fragment is accompanied by a minimal commentary on the basis of which a number of conclusions are made about the functioning of the concept of “irony” of the legacy of Basil the Great. Clarification of the meaning of this concept in the legacy of St. Basil the Great is important for the argument on the issue of contact between the ironic and the religious. This issue has attracted public attention both in Russia and in Europe over the past ten years. Among the main positive results of the study are the fact of confirmation of the presence of the concept of irony in the legacy of Basil the Great and the allocation of the main meanings in which this concept is used. In addition, some inaccuracies of Russian translations of the Saint’s legacy are indicated, which once again testifies to the need to update and clarify Russian translations of patristic texts. The most complete and regularly updated database of classical writing, Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (TLG), was used in the search for texts in the original language; several of research works on the theory of irony and biblical irony (in Russian and English) were also used. The involvement of patristic texts in the contemporary debate about irony is useful both for the scientific studies of patristic heritage and for illustrating the continuity of the Christian Church tradition.


  • • irony
  • • ironic
  • • religious
  • • Christianity
  • • Patristics texts
  • • St. Basil the Great


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