1. An essential orientation

Scholarly attention to Zoernikav has been limited (to such a degree, in fact, that there is no complete consensus on the spelling of his surname: we use the form adopted in the Königsberg edition). A signal exception is an article by Edward Kasinec of Columbia University and the late J. Robert Wright, Professor Emeritus at the General Theological Seminary (New York City). Available open-access, ‘A Manuscript Copy of Adam Zernikaw’s “De Processione” (Baturyn, 1682) at the New York Public Library’, Україна: культурна спадщина, національна свідомість, державність 15 (2006-2007), 353-62, describes Zoernikav’s life and the publication, translation, and later vicissitudes of his magnum opus, the manuscript of which is now held by the New York Public Library. Kasinec and Wright also comment briefly on Zoernikav’s theological stance and scholarly methods, and offer an outline of the work. Their article remains the essential ‘first stop’ for anyone interested in Zoernikav and On the Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father Alone.

2. Editions

Neither the NYPL manuscript nor the first Latin publication named by Kasinec and Wright (Gotha, 1772) appears yet to have been digitized. The 1774-1775 edition, published in Zoernikav’s native Königsberg, is available in two volumes on Google Books. The first volume, which we have taken as the basis for our own translations, includes a publisher’s preface, a biography based on Zoernikav’s incomplete account of his own life, and the first seven tractates of On the Procession of the Holy Spirit. The second volume includes the remaining tractates 8 through 19, as well as a topical index and a few corrigenda.

3. Previous translations

i. A Greek translation of On the Procession of the Holy Spirit was completed at St Petersburg in 1796 and published in 1797 (it, too, is now on Google Books: volume 1, volume 2). The work of an expatriate cleric of Greek origin (identified by Kasinec and Wright as Evgenii Bulgaris), it was published with financial support from the Russian Empress, Catherine the Great. The translation includes Greek versions of the Latin translator’s preface and of the biography. It also appends a text of the argumentshanded down, like Zoernikav’s own knowledge, through Western libraries and made known by the bibliographic researches of an illustrious Protestant scholar, Johann Albert Fabricius—that had been advanced at the 15th-century Council of Ferrara-Florence by the Eastern champion, Mark of Ephesus.

Of special historical interest is the translator’s preface, which explains (in thoroughly Classicizing Greek) why the translator undertook the arduous task of translating so massive and so often dry a work, and how his text actually came to publication. A zealous adherent of the Russian Orthodox church, the translator was inspired, above all, by what seemed a boon of divine Providence to the Orthodox faith: the partition of Poland and the return of a large portion of previously Orthodox territory to Orthodox rule. He revels in the defeat of the Catholic Uniates—apostates, in his view, from the true faith—and the return (entirely unforced, he assures readers) of some three hundred thousand people to the Orthodox fold. The Orthodox remain buffeted, however, by their opponents, especially the partisans of the Roman church, and so he offers Zoernikav’s treatise—a work, as he stresses, of unparalleled thoroughness and erudition—as a bulwark against the flood of distorted doctrinal novelties issuing from their polemics.

That project was not, the translator quite frankly admits, one likely to succeed on its economic merits (evidently, giant tomes of academic theology did not sell themselves, even in 18th-century Orthodox Russia). A translation that failed to commend itself to printers concerned with the bottom line also did not find noble backers, and so Bulgaris appealed directly to the Empress herself. A copy of a letter laden with biblical and historical allusions is embedded in the preface, along with a notice of its favourable reception and a line apparently quoted from Catherine’s reply. The translator concludes by contrasting Zoernikav’s expansiveness with the brevity of Mark of Ephesus; their works were both glorious additions nonetheless to the defence of the true Christian faith.

ii. A Russian translation was prepared in 1902 (available through our own website in PDFs: volume 1, volume 2). The work of multiple translators, it likewise offers a preface of particular interest not just for Zoernikav’s theological reception, but also for its function as a mirror for Eastern Orthodox and Slavic self-perception. We plan to upload a translation, into English, of this preface when it has been prepared by the project team.

4. English translations

We offer two new translations based on the Latin Königsberg edition of 1774-1775.

The first is an annotated English version of the authorial vita, included in all editions and translations known to us, that was based on Zoernikav’s own, incomplete account of his life.

The second is a translation of the third of his nineteen tractates on the procession of the Holy Spirit. Here, Zoernikav details places in which the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son has been inserted into works attributed to the Latin Fathers. Some of these interpolations are real and reveal Zernikav either learned or perspicacious, some are merely plausible or involve works now known to be spurious in their entirety, and yet others are illusory, often patently so. These last, naturally, become most frequent as Zoernikav approaches the ninth century, the period in which he (quite incorrectly) believes the Filioque to have been invented out of whole cloth. Along with extensive notes, we offer a detailed analysis of Zoernikav’s method and a translator’s note.