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The “Laodicean Epistle” is an enigmatic monument of ancient Russian literature of the late fifteenth century. Researchers often refer it to the literature of the “Judaizers” and consider it the author of the heresiarch Fyodor Kuritsyn. One of the main signs of the unorthodoxy of the monument is the concept of “Pharisaism”. In the article, the author defines the meaning of this fact considering the variety of meanings of the concept of “Pharisaism” in ancient Russian literature. It is established that the direct source of borrowing was one of the articles of the Nomocanon by Ivan Volk Kuritsyn (“The Word about Heresies” by Epiphanius of Cyprus). The reason for the borrowing was a controversy with the statement of the opponents of heresy that heretics do not believe in an afterlife judgment and resurrection from the dead. This position was designated by the term “Sadduceism”. The author of the “Laodicean Epistle” used the term “Pharisaism” to declare that he and his followers profess dogmas about the afterlife judgment and resurrection from the dead. Also, the term “Pharisaism” allowed the author of the “Laodicean Epistle” to determine his position on the relationship between predestination and the will of man, crime and punishment, secular and spiritual power. This allows us to evaluate the “Laodicean Epistle” as a pre-philosophical text.

Key words: “The Laodicean Epistle”, the heresy of Judaizers, Fyodor Kuritsyn, Pharisaism, Sadduceism, afterlife judgment, resurrection from the dead, free will, crime and punishment, pre-philosophy

DOI: 10.22250/20728662_2022_4_22

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About the author

Alexey A. Isakov - PhD (Philosophy), Assistant Professor at Department of History, Social science and Law,
Lobachevsky State University of Nizhniy Novgorod, Arsamas Branch; 36 K. Marx str., Arzamas, Nizhniy Novgorod region, 607220, Russia; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.