Vol. 42 (2022)
Georgian Religious Literature

Ivane Javakhishvili’s Theoretical Statement about the „Martyrdoms“ and „Lives“ of the Saints

Nana Gonjilashvili
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University
Nestan Sulava
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University

Published 2022-04-30


  • Old Georgian Literature,
  • Iv. Javakhishvili,
  • „Martyrdoms“,
  • „Lives“,
  • Civil Historical Works

How to Cite

Gonjilashvili, N., & Sulava, N. (2022). Ivane Javakhishvili’s Theoretical Statement about the „Martyrdoms“ and „Lives“ of the Saints. Literary Researches, 42, 9–25. Retrieved from https://literaryresearches.litinstituti.ge/index.php/literaryresearches/article/view/6477


Iv. Javakhishvili’s multifaceted work, his comprehensive area of fundamental research, his amazing talent and ability for contemplation, scientific scrupulosity, culture and dignity in general are unique. All his papers and monographs demonstrate these qualities.

The present paper is also conducted by Iv. Javakhishvili’s research “Martyrdoms” and “Lives” – which is the part of his fundamental work “Old Georgian Historical Writing“ in which the most important issues of the old Georgian literature are discussed and evaluated for the first time. It should be noted that most of the conclusions presented in his research are universally recognized and established in the scientific surcles, some – supplemented  deepened and presented with new interpretations.

Very important is the issue of the title – “Old Georgian Historical Writing” (instead of “Old Georgian Literature”). Javakhishvili was the first who gave a classification of Georgian hagiography. He also differentiated its types: “ Martirdoms” and “Lives”, outlined their order, first – “ Martirdoms”, then – “Lives”. Iv. Javakhishvili’s opinion was also division of two types of historiography – “civil and military history”. According to Javakhishvili, the word “life” would be used as a general title of civil historical works.

Iv. Javakhishvili also touched upon the issue of the metaphysics of keimenon editions, however, he did not mention the terms “keimen” and “Metaphrase”. He explained the reasons for the “renewal” of the texts – “dissemination”, “rewriting and correction”, which are mainly related to the current changes in the orthodoxy (in particular, on the basis of the previous “ecclesiastical life” after the formation of dogma and the proclamation of “universal confession”). However, he also cites an increase in “educated ecclesiastical requirements and tastes” as the reason for the above, which the old editions could not meet. In this regard, the scholar pays special attention to the texts of the “Lives of the Thirteen Assyrian Fathers”, which are discussed in an attempt to date them. There are various opinions expressed in the scientific literature on the issue, which we have tried to highlight in our paper.

Also noteworthy is Iv. Javakhishvili’s view that “ Martyrdom” was, in “many” cases, written in the form of a sermon to be read in the church (at the “Anniversary Liturgy”) and to be heard by the worshipers there.

The scholar considers the “Martyrdoms” of Shushanik and Evstati of Mtskheta to be ancient works, however, he considers the late manuscripts containing these works. Based on the historical-philological research, we have expressed different opinions on this issue.