Department of Ancient and Mediaeval Philosophy and Science
Head of the Department – Valery V. Petroff, DSc
The Department is a division of the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It was established in 1988 as «Department for Historical Types of Rationality» by Piama Gaidenko, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The main directions of research at that period were philosophical issues of natural science, philosophy and culture. From 2000 to 2011 the division finctioned as «Department for Philosophical Problems of the History of Science». The subjects of research were expanded to include study of philosophical and religious aspects of science, philosophy of education. In 2011 the division was transformed into «Department for Ancient and Mediaeval Philosophy and Science», its Head became Valery V. Petroff, DSc. In-depth study of philosophical, theological, historical, intellectual and cultural issues of Antiquity and the Middle Ages, based on the philological analysis of the original texts was added to the existing fields of research.
Directions of Research
History of Philosophy, science and intellectual traditions of classical and Late Antiquity (both Greek and Latin), Byzantium, Early Middle Ages, scholasticism and Renaissance.
- Valery Petroff, DSc in Philosophy, Head of the Department
- Piama Gaidenko, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, DSc in Philosophy, Chief Research Fellow
- Michail Kissel, DSc in Philosophy, Chief Research Fellow
- Svetlana Mesyats, PhD in Philosophy, Senior Research Fellow
- Andrey Rossius, DSc in Philology, Chief Research Fellow
- Andrey Seregin, PhD in Philology, Senior Research Fellow
- Nadezhda Volkova, PhD in Philosophy, Research Fellow
- Intellectual Traditions in the Past and Present / Ed. by Maya S. Petrova. - Moscow: Aquilon, 2014. - 376 pp. ISSN 2307–8189. This collection of esssays prepared by the Department of Ancient and Mediaeval Philosophy and Science together with the Centre of Gender Studies of the Institute of the World History (RAS) is concerned with some problems of the history of ideas. While using an extensive historical material the authors demonstrate how different intellectual traditions coexisted with and influenced each other, how they were assimilated and transformed. The book includes the translation of Philo's treatise On the Eternity of the World, made by Andrei Seregin, the article of Nadezhda Volkova "The Concept of Simly Matter in the Philosophy of Plotinus", Svetlana Mesyats's paper "Goethe against Newton: the Controversy about Color", Valery Petroff's article " Being and Logic in Philosophical Writings of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky" and some more articles by other authors.
Kissel M. A. The Great restoration of faith. British Plato. SPb .: Publishing House of the Polytechnic. University Press, 2014. 256 pp. The book offers a new interpretation of the doctrine of Francis Bacon (1561-1626). The author mainly focuses on Bacon's system of philosophy and not so much on his methodology of science, which is already well studied in literature. The author challenges the tendency to interpret Bacon as "the founder of empirism" and to oppose his ideas to Descartes' rationalism. While citing numerous quotations from the works of Bacon himself, the author demonstrates that the philosopher stood on the positions of rational empiricism or empirical rationalism. Bacon's ideas are are constantly compared with the problems and challenges of the modern science.
- ΠΛΑΤΟΝΙΚΑ ΖΗΤΗΜΑΤΑ. Studies in the history of Platonism / Ed. by Valery V. Petroff. - Moscow: Krugh, 2013. - 880 p. This collection of essays treats the Platonic tradition in various stages of its development. The book analyzes the teachings of Plato himself (henology, metaphysics, cosmology, ethics), examines the concepts of Plutarch, Plotinus, Iamblichus, Syrian, Proclus, Macrobius, Dionysius the Areopagite, Maximus the Confessor. Its prosopographic essays reconstruct the biographies of two Platonists – Martianus Cappella and Origen the Christian. The attempt of phenomenological interpretation of John Scottus Eriugena’s theories is made. The question of the knowledge of Plato and his dialogues in Russia in the early XX century is studied. The book includes interviews with well-known French experts on ancient and medieval philosophy. The translations of Plutarch’s “On the origin of the soul in the Timaeus”, Porphyry’s “The Launching-Points to the Realm of Mind”, Origen’s “Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. Books 10-11” are published.
- Stump E. Aquinas / Translation and introduction by Galina Vdovina. - Moscow, 2013. The monograph of Eleonore Stump “Aquinas” is considered as one of the most important publications on St. Thomas’ philosophy, appeared in the last decade. It follows philosophical ideas of Aquinas in the context of actual philosophical debates.
- Proclus. Commentary on Plato's "Timeus" : Book I / Translation, Introduction and comentary by Svetlana V. Mesyats. – Moscow: MGL, 2012. – 416 p. This edition offers the first Russian translation of the 1st Book of Proclus’ “Commentary on Timaeus”, the most important commentary on a text of Plato in the late Antiquity. The present volume contains line-by-line interpretation of the prefatory material of Plato’s dialog (17а–27b), in which Socrates gives a summary of the political arrangements described in Plato’s “Republic” and Critias the younger tells the story about the defeat of Atlantis by ancient Athens. Both the exposition of Plato’s State and the Atlantis story are interpreted by Proclus as an allegorical description of the sensible cosmos and its supernatural causes, which description anticipates the scientific treatment of nature by its symbolic and figurative exposition. The volume contains also a substantial introduction and notes designed to help readers unfamiliar with Proclus’ philosophy.
- Mesyats S.V. Johann Wolfgang Goethe and his "Farbenlehre" (Part 1) / Translation and introduction by Svetlana V. Mesyats. - Moscow: Krugh, 2012 - xxxii + 464 p. Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1742 - 1832) generally known as a great german poet and thinker was also an outstanding scientist and author of the original theory of color that appears to be remarkably different from that of Isaac Newton. Goethe set forth his doctrine of colour in a number of writings, composed in the period between 1791 and 1830. Best known and the most important of them is a treatise Zur Farbenlehre, published in 1810, which is divided into three parts. The first, Didactic Part of Farbenlehre (also known as Entwurf einer Farbenlehre, Project of a colour theory) presents Goethe’s own views on colour phenomena. The second, Polemical Part, contains his refutation of Newton’s theory. The third, Historical Part, provides materials for the history of color science from Antiquity to the end of the 18th century. This edition offers first russian translation of the Didactic Part of Goethe's treatise.
- Ysabel de Andia. Mystiques d’orient et d’occident / Translated by A. Seregin. Moscow: Institute of philosophy, theology and history of St. Thomas, 2011. En une quinzaine de chapitres, l’auteur présente trois grands spirituels d’Orient (Antoine, Basile et Isaac) et trois grands spirituels d’Occident (Thérèse d’Avila, Jean de la Croix et Édith Stein), ainsi qu’un certain nombre de thèmes spirituels autour de la Transfiguration et de la Croix, de la souffrance et de la consolation de Dieu, du Nom de Jésus et de la pureté du cœur.
- Giordano Bruno. De la causa, principio, et Uno / Translated into Russian with introduction and commentary by Andrey A. Rossius. Moscow, 2011. One of the most important metaphysical dialogs of Giordano Bruno is newly translated into Russian within the framework of the international research project, directed by the International Center of Bruno's Studies. The Edition contains a substantial introduction and commentaries designed to help readers unfamiliar with Bruno's philosophy.
- Giordano Bruno. De l'infinito universo et Mondi / Translated into russian with Introduction and commentary by Andrey V. Seregin. Moscow, 2011. One of the most important metaphysical dialogs of Giordano Bruno is newly translated into Russian within the framework of the international research project, directed by the International Center of Bruno's Studies. The Edition contains a substantial introduction and commentaries designed to help readers unfamiliar with Bruno's philosophy.
2000 - 2010
- Intellectual Traditions of Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Studies and Translations). The book is prepared in cooperation with the Centre for Intellectual History (Institute of the World History, Russian Academy of Sciences). Edited by Maya S. Petrova. Moscow: Krugh, 2010.The essays of the book treat the intellectual traditions of Antiquity and the Middle Ages in their continuity and interpenetration. The contributors of the book show how often different traditions of science and education, ideology and culture, and also different ideas and concepts interacted, transformed each other and were influenced by each other. Russian translations of the works by Aristotle, Macrobius, Cassiodorus, Bede the Venerable, John Scottus (Eriugena), Thomas Aquinas, Aldhelm of Malmesbury, etc. are published with commentaries.
- COSMOS AND SOUL. Part 2: Teachings on Nature and Mind in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Modern Time (Studies and Translations). Ed. Andrei V. Seregin. Moscow: Progress-Tradition, 2010. The teachins on nature, mind and God in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Modern Time are under consideration in this collections of essays. The includes scholarly studies and also translations into Russian of the works of Origen, Plotinus, Thierry of Chartres, Roger Bacon, Petro Hurtado de Mendoza.
- Vdovina Galina V. Language of non-evident. Doctrines on signs in the 17th century scholasticism. Moscow: Saint Thomas Institute of Philosophy, Theology and History Press, 2009. The monograph investigates doctrines on signs elaborated in the early modern scholasticism by such authors as Francisco Suarez, Pedro Hurtado de Mendoza, Thomas Compton Carleton and others. The main topics are concepts and typology of signs, nature and specific characteristics of semiotic representation, functioning of signs in different areas of human cognition and practice.
- COSMOS AND SOUL. Teachings on the Universe and Man in Antiquity and the Middle Ages (Essays and Translations). Eds. Piama P. Gaidenko and Valery V. Petroff. Moscow: Progress-Tradition, 2005. The book includes studies pertaining to the ancient and medieval teachings on man, the world, and God. The articles are written by leading Russian specialists in the history of philosophy and science. New translations of the works by Aristotle, Themistius, Plotinus, Origen, Maximus the Confessor, Thomas Aquinas, and Robert Grosseteste are published.
- Philosophy of Nature in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Eds. Piama P. Gaidenko and Valery V. Petroff. Moscow: Progress-Tradition, 2000. This collection of essays is dedicated to the memory of Ivan D. Rozhansky (1913-1994) - the prominent specialist in the history of ancient science and philosophy. The book includes the essays by contemporary scholars and also translations of the philosophical works of late Antiquity and early Middle Ages. The works by Plutarch, Alexander of Aphrodisias, Plotinus, Proclus, Thomas Aquinas are publiched. Selected parts of the writings by Simplicius, Macrobius, Bede the Venerable, John Scottus (Eriugena), and some anonymous Carolingian commentators are translated and published with extensive notes.
Collective research projects
2011-2015. Man in the history of European philosophy (№ 01201160102). Heads: Valery V. Petroff and Galina Vdovina.
2009-2010. Intellectual Traditions of Antiquity and Middle Ages. Head: Valery Petroff.
2005-2010. Cosmos and Soul: Teachings on Nature and Mind in Antiquity, the Middle Ages and Modern Time. Head: Andrey Seregin.
2000-2005. Cosmos and Soul: Teachings on the Universe and Man in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Heads: Piama P. Gaidenko and Valery V. Petroff.
Center for Ancient and Mediaeval Philosophy and Science (CAMPaS) is a special structure associated with the Department and oriented towards inter-institutional cooperation and research. A monthly seminar Philosophy and Theology of Antiquity and the Middle Ages is held at the CAMPaS.
Department for Ancient and Mediaeval Philosophy and Science
Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Goncharnaya 12/1, Moscow, 109240, Russian Federation
Тел.: (495) 697-58-55