an ideal tool for an enterprise designed to peel away layers of inauthentic accretions in search of apostolic origins. Though Lord Acton may not have realised it, here was a context where history did indeed go on 'invading other provinces, resolving system into process, and getting the better of philosophy -for a whole generation'.30
In some ways, however, the church's scholars became victims of their own success. In the face of rapidly accumulating evidence, the attempt to differentiate Orthodoxy lost its initial clarity of focus. Though cataloguing projects offered a safe retreat from philosophical speculation and a valuable preliminary to research - Savva (Tikhomirov)'s catalogue of the synodal library and vestry went through three editions in as many years31 - the riches they revealed were overwhelming, and it was always possible that more remained to be discovered. No sooner had the liturgist A. A. Dmitrievskii completed his work on the manuscript holdings of Orthodox monasteries in Palestine than he began to contemplate work in western Europe.32 Scholars who planned an edition of the Slavonic Bible's 'fundamental texts' in 1915 proposed to examine some 4300 Old Testament manuscripts.33 As the prospects of further work stretched towards infinity, so the chances of definitive conclusions dwindled. Though most Orthodox scholars unwittingly illustrated Trevor-Roper's claim that specialists 'in any subject, by a kind of natural law, tend to bury themselves deeper and deeper in the minutiae of their own dogma', none would have shared his preference for 'fertile error' over 'sterile accuracy'.34 No Russian theologian who sought to 'correct' the service books could escape the shadow of the schism, a product of some notoriously fertile errors in the seventeenth century.35 So long as it seemed wiser to enumerate defects in current practice than to suggest improvements, hesitation and confusion were bound to prevail. The entire history of the translation of the Bible into Russian - contentious since the collapse of the Bible Society and further discredited by the discovery in 1841 of unauthorised translations by G. P. Pavskii - may be characterised as an
30 Quoted in H. Butterfield, Man onhis past (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1955), 98.
31 Ukazatel' dlia obozreniia Moskovskoi Patriarshei nyne, Sinodal'noi, riznitsy i biblioteki, third edition (Moscow: Universitetskaiatipografiia, 1858). See also OpisanieSlavianskikhrukopi-seiMoskovskoiSinodal'noibiblioteki, ed. A. V GorskiiandK. I. Nevostruev3 parts (Moscow: Sinodal'naia tipografiia, 1855-69).
32 B. I. Sove, 'Russkii Goar i ego shkola', Bogoslovskie Trudy 4 (1968), 39-89.
33 K. I. Logachev (ed.), 'Dokumenty Bibleiskoi Komissii, 11: organizatsiia, printsipy raboty i deiatel'nost' komissii, 1915-1921', Bogoslovskie Trudy 14 (1975), 167-8.
34 H. R. Trevor-Roper, History, professional and lay: an inaugural lecture delivered before the University of Oxford on 12 November 1957 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957), 19, 22.
35 B. I. Sove, 'Problema ispravleniia bogosluzhebnykh knig v Rossii v XIX-XX vekakh', Bogoslovskie Trudy 5 (1970), 25-68.
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