ALEXANDER V. RIASANOVSKY (Philadelphia, U.S.A.) Pseudo-Varangian Origins of the Kievo-Pecherskii Monastery: The "Finger in the Pie" Hypothesis Eighteenth and early nineteenth-century advocates of the extreme "Nor- manist" position in Russian historiography asserted outright that Scandina- vians either imported or created all of the major political, social, economic, military, juridicial-legal, cultural, and even religious institutions of Kievan Rus'.1 Characteristically, too, such sweeping pronouncements were delivered with an air of total and final authority. Little attention was paid to the need for proof or documentation. In contrast, modem "Normanist" scholars now tend to regard the institu- tional origins of Kievan Rus' from a broader historical perspective. Describing the various manifestations of the process, they no longer neglect evidence pointing to the generic importance of Slavic and of other non-Scandinavian contributions. As a result, all along the line, former Norse centered assump- tions and explanations have given way to a new pluralism. This conceptual change, in turn, has produced altered modes of expression. The language of "Normanism" has become progressively less dogmatic. Yet, on some specific issues, "Normanist" scholarship has continued to re- flect the influence of old ideas and to echo the old doctrinaire rhetoric. The recent categorical reassertion of
Russian History – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1980
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