The Ukrainian Bible, the Polish Uprising, and the Imperial censorship in 1863

August 4, 2009, by Andriy Danylenko (Pace U, New York)  

Dr. Danylenko argued that the translation(s) of the Bible into 'Little Russian' was not the immediate reason behind Valuev's anti-Ukrainian circular of 1863, according to which the Censorship Administration could license for publication only such books in Ukrainian that belong to the realm of fine literature. Dr. Danylenko cast doubt on the so-called circumstantial theories of David Saunders, Johannes Remy, and especially Ricarda Vulpius who claimed that allegedly the translation of the Gospels into Ukrainian by Pylyp Morachevs’kyi (1860) could have provoked the appearance of the circular. The ban, as was demonstrated by Alexei Miller, appeared to be a corollary of the complex bureaucratic process, predetermined largely by the Polish uprising of 1863 and, to a lesser extent, the Ukrainophile activities (e.g., The Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius in 1847 and the periodical Osnova in 1861-1862).

Contrary to Ricarda Vulpius, the translation of Morachevskyi could hardly compete with that made by Kulish and Puljuj in 1871 in Galicia. Morachevs’kyi’s work remained within the semantics of the vernacular paradigm (Kotliarevshchyna), while Kulish tried to synthesize his translation through the prism of contemporary West European translations. This is why Kulish’s work proved most dangerous and harmful to the all-Russian imperial idea. It was never allowed in the Russian Empire, though Morachevs’kyj’s translation went eventually to press in 1906.

After the presentation, the audience showed keen interest in socio-political circumstances of the preparation of the two translations, placing them into the context of the all-imperial language and education policy in the second part of the 20th century.


*The views expressed in the essay belong solely to the author and do not represent the official position of any organizations to which the author is permanently or was temporarily affiliated.


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