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Studies of Armenian Christian Tradition in the Twentieth Century

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  • Department Of The Study Of Religions
  • Department Of The Languages And Cultures Of The Near And Middle East
  • Department Of Art And Archaeology
  • London Middle East Institute At Soas
  • Department Of History
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • History


Annualis 2012.indb 137 STUDIES OF ARMENIAN CHRISTIAN TRADITION IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY Igor Dorfmann-Lazarev The exploration of Armenia and its civilisation has a long history, but the foundations for systematic scholarship in the fi elds of Armenian archaeology, language, historiography, and culture were laid only in the nineteenth century. This happened in different parts of the world almost at the same time: in Armenia itself, in the Armenian monastic academies of Venice, Vienna, and Jerusalem, in Constantinople, in Germany, in France, and in Russia. Nevertheless, only during the twentieth century were the studies of Armenia and the Caucasus elevated to the status of an internationally recognised discipline, whilst the past forty years have seen a particular growth in these fi elds in the Caucasus, Russia, Europe, and the USA. We shall survey here several key developments that took place in the study of Armenian Christianity during the twentieth century, limiting ourselves to the formative period, i.e., from the establishment of the fi rst Christian centres on the territory of the Armenian kingdom in the third century to the stabilisation of the Armenian Church’s doctrine and canonical practices at the beginning of the eighth century, i.e., in the aftermath of the Islamic conquest. The past century saw a number of radical changes in Armenian geography; many eminent scholars were born at the beginning of the twentieth century in Western Armenia, a country which disappeared after the First World War. Whilst before that war the architecture, archaeology, literature, and ethnology of Western Armenia had been widely studied, the relics of Armenian civilisation on this territory were almost inaccessible in the aftermath of the war, and they remained hardly attainable even until recent times. As for Eastern Armenia, the study of Christianity there was seriously hindered during the Soviet rule. The history of scholarship in this fi eld is there

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