Medieval Christian society understands itself as a unitary, global space that centers around Hellenism as the ideal and develops in contact with it. Antagonism and rivalry with, or imitation of Hellenism creates both a similar and a different, which forms a complex world of the Eastern Christianity. Therefore, Political, religious, cultural, linguistic and literary relationships in this world should be understood, viewed and studied in a comprehensive way as well.
Georgia – the kingdoms of Iberia and Egrisi – was one of the first among those countries that proclaimed Christianity as their state religion. By adopting the global, supra-national religion the Georgian mentality immediately realized itself as a part of the global world and as a co-creator of this world. It started to talk within this world with its own tongue – its own literature, architecture, art and music. It is impossible to characterize global and individual aspects of the Georgian culture separately from each other.
Georgia is a special part of the Eastern Christian culture: its culture had been formed not only through relationship with the center – the Byzantine Empire and interaction with the Greek world – but also through tight interrelationship with the provincial cultures – Armenian, Syrian, Arabic etc. In this perspective, the Georgian cultural experience is quite unique.
Today, when the idea of the unitary Europe is being searched, one can observe intensifying of conflicts between proponents of the national states and the global space, between Islamic and Christian worlds, the historical Christian East has become a polygon of conflicts, one of the ways for overcoming the conflicts is an in-depth study of cultural-historical roots. The geographical position of Georgia, its historical experience, its living religious tradition and also the novelty of the Georgian material, the experience in study of ancient languages (Ancient Georgian, Ancient Armenian, Ancient Greek, Syriac and Hebrew) and cultures provides the Center of Eastern Christian Studies established at the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University a well-grounded ambition for becoming a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research center the final aim of which is to study the way in which the local traditions and national cultures were developed and formed within the global Christian civilization.
The form of activity
The Center is oriented towards coordination of teaching and research; attraction of younger scholars; internationalization of researches. It functions in the forms of:
1. Permanent seminars “In search of own language”, that represents a discussion venue of Georgian and foreign scholars of different branches and different generations, in which communication of ideas and search for a common research platform is made feasible;
2. Research projects: the idea and methods of the projects are being negotiated during seminars, established at the council of the Center and carried out in the form of individual and group researches.
3. The Center functions also as a host and participant of international conferences and workshops.
4. The results of the work of the Center are represented in individual and group publications and presentations at domestic and international forums.
The governing body of the Center:
The Director: Prof. Anna Kharanauli.
Research interests: biblical philology, techniques of translation, textual criticism, exegesis.
The council of the Center:
Prof. Tina Dolidze.
Research interests: Patristc theology, Philosophy of the late antiquity.
Professor Magda Mchedlidze.
Research Interests: Medieval Georgian-Byzantine relationships (philosophical-theological texts, traductology, lexicology, historiography, hagiography); Byzantine reception of antiquity.
Prof. Zaza Skhirtladze.
Research interests: Medieval Georgian art, its relationship with Eastern Christian artistic tradition; monasticism and monastic art; Christian iconography and religious imagery; epigraphic.
Prof. Levan Gigineishvili.
Research interests: Medieval philosophy-theology; Medieval Platonism; Byzantine studies; New Testament; Classical (Greek) literature; history of philosophy