Plamen Antov


18th century – Scientism and Mythology. Istorija Slavjanobulgarska (Slavo-Bulgarian History) Between the History and the National Epos



The study treats the problem for the statute of the historical knowledge in the mental and discursive (narrative) practice of the 18th century. Its place is looking for in the context of all fundamental duplicity of the Enlightenment, when the rational scientific discourse is transformed in basic and, at the same time, is started an opposite trend which – with the transition from the French Lumières to the German Aufklärung and simultaneously from “scientific” to “aesthetic” – is produced the Romantic values which are demonstrated a conceptual counter-rational “regress” including to the mythical. In all this large social-cultural context is put the problem of the self-relativity of the historical knowledge which is functioned between the modern scientific historicism and its simultaneously “soften-upping” (“softening”) to the artistic-epical which will be escalate in a national-mythical and national-ideological aspects during the 19th century.

On all this background, in course of an universal perspective and within the antithesis “French Enlightenment – German Enlightenment”, our interest is focused on the “Istorija Slavjanobulgarska” by Paisiy Hilendarsky in its capacity of an “manifesto” of the Bulgarian modernization project (or a program of the National Revival). The second point of the research is the spontaneous division of the discourse in the Paisiy’s History between the “scientific”, “historical” (what it is in the arising European scientific mind) and the “romantic”, “national-mythological”. How in the “Istorija Slavjanobulgarska” “cohabit” and make dialogue elements which characterize the work simultaneously as the first Bulgarian modern (i.e. scientific) history and as the first Bulgarian national epos. Namely, through its duality the Paisiy’s book predetermines a productive model which will be turns out functional during the whole Bulgarian 19th century.


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