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Author: Tatiana G. Popova
Information about the author:

Tatiana G. Popova, DSc in Philology, Professor, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, А. Nevskу 14, 236041 Kaliningrad, Russia.

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8431-2962

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



For citation:

Popova, T.G. “Image of Fire in the ‘Ladder’ of John Climacus.” Germenevtika drevnerusskoi literatury [Hermeneutics of Old Russian Literature]. Issue 22. Ed.-in-chief O.A. Tufanova. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2023, pp. 292– 311. (In Russian) https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2023-22-292-311 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22455/HORL.1607-6192-2023-22-292-311
UDC: 821.161.1.0
Keywords: Old Russian translated literature, Ladder of John Climacus, hierotopy, fire, early Slavic translations from Greek, Preslav book school, Old Russian, Old church Slavonic.
Date of publication: 20.09.2023

Acknowledgements: The article was completed with the support of the Russian Science Foundation (project no. 22-18-00005, “Iconography and Hagiography of the ʽLadder’ of St. John Climacus”). 


The article examines the image of fire in the Ladder of John Climacus on the basis of the manuscripts of the first Slavic translation of monument. The main verbalizer of the concept “fire” is the lexeme πῦρ огнь, which occurs 71 times in the book: 17 times in the designation of fire as a physical phenomenon and 54 times in a symbolic sense (18 times as punishing fire and 36 times as blessed fire). Fire lives in heart of a monk, and it can be both the fire of love and the fire of passions. The main function of lexeme fire in the Ladder is to designate fire as a servant of God, who can both punish and pardon. The punishing fire can be God himself, Gehenna and passions in the human soul. The merciful fire can be God himself and good deeds (prayer, faith, crying, etc.). Statistical analysis led to the conclusion that the main function of image of fire in the Ladder is the designation of love for the Lord. The article names the Byzantine codices of the Ladder, close to the text of the lost original of the first Slavic translation, indicates the errors of scribe of the oldest manuscript of the translation, and also names 4 lexemes that are not recorded in the historical dictionaries of the Russian and Old Slavonic languages.


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