Rus’ – Byzantium – Europe: An Attempt at Triangulation?
The critique of Francis Thomson constitutes only part of Ostrowski’s book. The other
part, completely unrelated to the first one, is dedicated to a comparison of the in-
tellectual development of the two halves of the Christian world in the Middle Ages.
Ostrowski’s assertion that the Byzantines did not include logic in their school cur-
riculum is untrue. What seems to him to be the main difference between East and
West does not take root until the end of the 12th century. The West was drifting away
from the common patterns of ancient Mediterranean civilization. The East largely
remained the same. The Byzantines did not feel any special inclination toward the
practical application of theoretical ideas. The people of Old Rus’, on the contrary, were
quick at learning and innovating. Respect for tradition inevitably played a smaller role
in a nascent culture than in a culture that had been born old.