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Philosophical Thought

The Semiotic Method as an Aspect of the Methodology of Social Philosophy: the Experience of S.S. Averintsev

Kuz'min Platon Alekseevich

ORCID: 0000-0001-9001-9167

Lecturer, Department of Modern Axiological Problems and Religious Thought, Russian State Social University

52, 346 Korneychuka str., Moscow, 129226, Russia










Abstract: The subject of the study is the correlation of the application of the semiotic method by S.S. Averintsev with social philosophy. The aim of the work is to demonstrate how and to what extent S.S. Averintsev applied the semiotic method and to identify the belonging of this method to the socio-philosophical field. The author identifies and concretizes the specifically semiotic features of Averintsev's methodology. The role of the sign in the worldview of early Byzantine society, the formation of this worldview and its adequate presentation, the sign as a reflection of the life of society and at the same time as a factor influencing it is revealed. The problem of the sign's ability to convey philosophical and theological meaning is considered. The material for the study is the work of S.S.Averintsev "Poetics of Early Byzantine literature". As a result of the work, the specifically semiotic features of Averintsev's methodology were identified and concretized. In his research, Sergey Sergeevich uses the terms "semiotics", "sign", "sign system", "structure", "context", "representation", "meaning", the concept of "word function" with varying degrees of intensity, which are characteristic of semiotics as a science. S.S. Averintsev touches on philosophical and ideological themes. It concerns such philosophical concepts and topics as being, ontology, anthropology, goodness, transcendence, otherness, meaning. The novelty of the research is due to the fact that the semiotic aspect of Averintsev's works has not been investigated, and there are also no scientific texts devoted to the relationship of the semiotic method and social philosophy in Averintsev's works. Averintsev reveals the correlation of the existence of society with the iconic universe. Being itself is a philosophical concept. Averintsev's work shows how meanings affect signs and the life of society, and at the same time, how signs themselves create new meanings.The Christian worldview presupposes such a view of man and society, in which a person in his unity with God is thought of as a being with the highest value and dignity in the created world.


social philosophy, semiotics, society, methodology, being, sign, meaning, anthropology, signification, Averintsev

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

In the Russian literature devoted to the works of Averintsev, little research has been done on the methodology he used. There are memoirs of O. A. Sedakova [1], V. V. Bibikhin [2]. There is a dissertation by G. G. Kvitkov, in which the historical approach of S. S. is considered.Averintseva in cultural studies. However, it must be stated that the semiotic aspect of Averintsev's works has not been studied, especially since there are no scientific texts devoted to the semiotic method in Averintsev's works. In general terms, the fact that the semiotic aspect takes place in Averintsev's works is mentioned by E. I.Dvornikova: "S. S.Averintsev developed a culturological definition of the symbol This is an image presented in the system of culture in the aspect of its signification, and as a sign endowed with all the organicity and inexhaustibility of the image" [3, p. 97]. About the fact that S. S.Averintsev dealt with semiotic issues, more specifically, but also more briefly mentioned by Fadeeva I. E. and Sulimov V. A.: "... the inconsistency in the definitions of the symbol, adjacent to its cultural?semiotic universality, required a "categorical methodological autopsy" of its nature. The situation has not changed today and despite a huge amount of research, starting with the works of A. F.Losev and ending with the works of M. K. Mamardashvili and A.M. Pyatigorsky, K. A. Svasyan, Yu. M. Lotman, S. S.Averintseva, S. S. Khoruzhego, - it has become even more complicatedThe symbol is the beginning of semiosis" [4, pp. 25-26]. As we can see, Averintsev's contribution here is mentioned simply among other researchers. In this paper, the author of the proposed text seeks to delve more closely into the semiotic aspect of Averintsev's works on early Byzantine literature and demonstrate how and to what extent Averintsev applied the semiotic method and identify the belonging of this method to the socio-philosophical field.

Averintsev, before starting a discussion about aesthetics in his work "Poetics of Early Byzantine Literature", stops at the term "aesthetics" itself, as well as the related terms "beautiful" ( ), "sublime" ( ), "harmony" (? ), etc. that he semiotically analyzes them. These are the first signs that we encounter in this chapter of his work. Sergey Sergeevich designates the complexity of the problem precisely through those criteria that are characteristic of the semiotic method. He directly writes about the need to clarify the function of these signs-terms, showing that, depending on the context, they may have different semantics. Considering the ancient Greek adjective , Sergey Sergeevich clearly demonstrates that if initially this word is quite naturally associated with a purely aesthetic category of beauty, then in the context of the Christian tradition, expressed including in the patristic collection "Dobrotolubie" (), this adjective is interpreted rather as an ethical category of "good". And here Averintsev immediately points to the cultural influence of the Bible, the translation of the Sixth Day into Greek, which is the reason for the change in the semantics of this ancient Greek adjective. God sees that His creation is "good" ("God looks like good"). Averintsev turns to the Hebrew original to show that the Greek word translates an adjective that is usually translated into Russian as "kind, good", that is, here it is more likely moral or ontological semantics.

Another sign that Averintsev analyzes in this chapter is the verb "to be". He also compares the change in its connotations and correlations with a specific philosophical meaning, depending on the change in the historical context of its use. The word-sign "to be" in Kant and the holy fathers not only refers to different meanings (with the identity of the literal meaning), but also to fundamentally opposite worldviews, as Sergey Sergeyevich writes in detail. At the same time, he points out the special significance of the ancient Greek verb to be and the participle "being" in the Christian tradition, most vividly emphasized in the ancient Greek translation of the name of God, which the Lord Himself calls Himself in the narrative of the prophet Moses' vocation in the book of Exodus. Sergey Sergeyevich points out that the sign word "Being" was chosen by the translators of the Old Testament under the influence of the Hellenistic mentality, which sought to apply philosophical categories in the theology of Revelation. This is what can be considered as the use of a diffuse method, Averintsev traces the influence of Greek culture in the history of the use of the term "being", "being", "being" and names the theological and philosophical consequences of this influence. Christian theologians consider these terms as designations of fundamental ontological content. Being is the true Good, God Himself is Being, and everything that exists takes place only by participation in this Being. The sign-the term "being", "being" here denotes a key category of theology and philosophy. As Averintsev further shows, this term is used and understood by Kant in a completely different way for him it is only a verb-bundle.

In the chapter "Dignity and humiliation of man" Averintsev considers such a sign as an image of a person, his development. This image of a man, which is reflected in early Byzantine literature, gives us the opportunity to better study the society of that period itself. Averintsev traces the history of the human image from antiquity and, in parallel, the period of the Old Testament to the early Byzantine period. In fact, it is impossible to interpret the image of a person that has developed in Byzantine society without studying these periods that preceded it. The application of the diffuse method is also manifested here, the researcher designates cultural phenomena that influenced the formation of this sign, and at the end of the chapter outlines cultural phenomena that he himself influenced in turn, Averintsev mentions at the end of the chapter the culture of ancient Russia, which experienced a decisive Byzantine influence.

Averintsev begins the analysis of the human image by considering the context in which this image was formed. This context, according to Sergei Sergeevich, is formed by the principle of "Byzantinism", a combination of the poles of the ideology of Caesarism, the power of the emperor, and Christianity. Averintsev touches upon the problem of the correlation of state power and religion in the public consciousness. The image of man is interpreted exclusively in the light of Christian anthropology, which in turn is focused on Christology. To speak of the image of man is to speak of the image of Christ. Averintsev quotes Cassia's Christmas stichera "To Augustus the one-in-command of the earth," explaining that on the one hand the emperor's power over man receives the highest, Divine sanction, because the Incarnate God Himself becomes a subject of Caesar, but on the other hand, it is this Incarnation that ultimately cancels all power over man, except the power of God. A person, even humiliated as a slave, retains the dignity of a royal son, which is further considered in detail by Averintsev.

Describing the image of Christ, Averintsev refers to the Christian texts of the Byzantine period. He quotes the Chalcedonian Oros of 451, quotes formulations from the Nicene-Constantinople Creed, and quotes the holy fathers. This is the Holy Martyr Methodius of Lycia, St. John Chrysostom. Very often Sergey Sergeevich turns to the Areopagite corps. With dogmatic precision, he expounds the content of the Christian doctrine in order to correctly present to the reader the Byzantines' idea of Christ in particular and of man in general. Averintsev emphasizes that God not only incarnates, but also becomes human. For this, Averintsev even cites the corresponding ancient Greek term from the Creed - incarnation. This in itself emphasizes the special dignity of man, given to him by God. However, this dignity is not self-sufficient, as it was in ancient culture. Without Divine grace, man falls into sin and experiences the consequences of this sin, from which the Son of God came to free man. Averintsev, in order to correctly describe the image of man that prevailed in early Byzantine literature, quotes the words of St. Methodius of Lycia that a fallen man is like soft pliable clay, but God Himself gives spiritual strength to a person in the act of Incarnation in a virgin womb. It is God who strengthens the dignity of man. To reinforce this idea, Averintsev also quotes such a writer of early Byzantium as St. John Chrysostom: "Christ placed a man who was lower than stones above angels, archangels, thrones, dominions" [5].

The high dignity of man is also emphasized by the contrast with his present sinful state, which is regarded in Byzantine culture as both improper and unnatural. Averintsev cites the text of a refrain from a poem of this period, in which this idea is expressed: "Oh, how great an honor man was sought!" (? ). Also note that Averintsev cites the ancient Greek original of this refrain. The poem described precisely the fall of the first people, the loss of the dignity that was given by God. Man is called to regain this dignity. And Sergey Sergeyevich confirms this idea with the words of St. Gregory Nazianzin that a person should not think low of himself. Man is a created God. He is destined for eternal glory and bliss, and the price of the return of this bliss is the sufferings of the cross of the Incarnate God the Lord Jesus Christ. It can be stated that by expounding the Byzantine idea of man, Averintsev adequately expounds Christian theology, the essence of evangelical preaching.

Dignity and humiliation are combined in the Byzantine image of a person in a special way, but there was no such combination in the previous epochs of antiquity and ancient Israel. In order to understand the Christian image-the sign of man, formed in the Byzantine era, Averintsev examines these aspects of the idea of man in these previous periods.

Ancient culture ignored all suffering. The human body itself was understood as a sign-regalia of his dignity. Not only his natural beauty is emphasized, but also his pose, expressing freedom and tranquility. It is the body of a free man, but at the same time it is the body of an aristocrat who has slaves. His protection from suffering and humiliation is ensured precisely by the presence of slaves, who by their status are subject and subject to the lash of the master. Averintsev pays attention to this and that is why he writes that the body itself becomes an insignia, a sign of social status. This is also evident in the texts of poets. In them we will not find the speech of the wounded and suffering flesh, tears, if described, are only a manifestation of weakness, something unworthy of the beauty and dignity of the hero.

The culture of ancient Israel, expressed in the literature of the Old Testament, very often described the suffering flesh. The sufferings of the flesh were coupled with the sufferings of the soul. For the prophet, there is nothing shameful in the fact that he openly and in vivid images writes about his sufferings. Here is the suffering flesh and the image of humility before God, the image of the fear of God, and the prototype of the redeeming sufferings of Christ, as in chapter 53 of the book of the prophet Isaiah, which is also quoted by Averintsev. Averintsev shows that the combination of these two opposite traditions occurred in the culture of Byzantium thanks to Christianity.

In the chapter "The Order of the cosmos and the order of history" Averintsev uses the term "sign system", applying it to the Christian tradition. He writes that the formation of this iconic system was influenced by the biblical tradition. Thus, Sergey Sergeyevich continues to trace the influence of biblical and ancient traditions on early Byzantine literature. It is noteworthy that in this chapter Averintsev distinguishes the Christian tradition proper, the faith of the New Testament, from the Byzantine ideology. The main idea of this chapter is that the linear historicism of the Bible, combined with the ancient legacy of Neoplatonism, its ontologism, in the early Byzantine era inspired the activities of two theological schools the Alexandrian and Antiochian, whose dialogue and confrontation determined the genres and content of early Byzantine literature. Averintsev lists the genres of texts that help us make sure of this. These are apocrypha, sermons, kontakion. Next, Averintsev considers the genre of the canon.

Sergey Sergeyevich also uses the term structure at least six times in this chapter. He talks about the structure of ideology, cosmology, the structure of the text.

Averintsev's reflection on such a genre as kontakion and the reason for its unpopularity in Byzantium is interesting. A modern church person is used to the fact that a kontakion is a short prayer in which the essence of the celebrated event is poetically summarized. However, Averintsev shows that initially the kontakion genre assumed the creation of an entire poem, in which there is dynamics, development, emotional background and dialogues. Sergey Sergeyevich draws attention to the fact that the holy Roman Sladkopevets at one time was known precisely because of the kondaks he wrote. But none of them has been preserved in the church tradition. Averintsev writes that if the kontakion poems, being a narrative in dialogues, were preceded by the text of meditation-reflections on the supreme essence of the event itself, then the Christian tradition preserved only these reflections without the narrative itself. In this Sergey Sergeyevich sees a manifestation of the crisis of Christian historicism and the triumph of the Alexandrian school with its desire to see a higher, timeless and supra-temporal spiritual meaning. Averintsev reinforces this idea by comparing the Areopagite corpus with the treatise of St. Augustine "On the City of God". The texts of the Areopagite corpus do not consider the Church in a historical perspective, but rather in an ideal aspect (Averintsev writes in this chapter that Neoplatonism with its doctrine of an ideal world was very convenient for Byzantine theologians and preachers to express their teachings). Averintsev shows that in the Areopagite corpus the Church is depicted as a static structure, a hierarchy of angels and people.

Analyzing the genre of the canon, Averintsev also refers to such an author of the early Byzantine period as St. Andrew of Crete. The Great Canon of this holy father is a vivid example of the continuation of the Alexandrian theological tradition. The Holy Father does not describe the events of Sacred History, he simply briefly mentions them (there is no historicism in this) and then deeply reflects on the spiritual essence of these events, making them images-allegories about the moral and spiritual tragedy of a man overcome by sins.

Averintsev points out the authors whose work was influenced by the philosophy of the Areopagite corps, these are the Monk Maxim the Confessor and St. Gregory Palamas.

In the chapter "Sign, banner, sign" S. S.Averintsev mainly considers the Early Byzantine culture semiotically, he even directly uses the term "semiotic". And to solve this problem, Sergey Sergeevich also applies the semiotic method in the study of texts of this period. He analyzes the texts of the historian Ammianus Marcellinus (330-400-ies. Averintsev indicates the images that Marcellinus used to describe the behavior of the emperor and their meaning. These images are designed to emphasize the semiotics of the figure of the king he is a sign-image of the Heavenly King, God. Precisely because the emperor is not a God, he is a sign of God. According to the texts of Marcellinus, the sovereign during official events behaved in such a way as not to show anything accidentally human, sometimes resembling an actor, then a sculptural statue nothing superfluous. Gestures or posture emphasize its role as a sign, its semiotic nature. S. S.Averintsev uses the term "sign" repeatedly when analyzing this testimony of Marcellin, he also uses the term "representation" characteristic of semiotics: "This is how a sovereign should behave, who is inspired that ... he is just a sinful person, but by his rank (in semiotic terms) represents the transcendent greatness of God" [6, p. 122].

Turning again to the legacy of St. Roman the Sweet Singer, Averintsev reveals the semiotic principle that he and his contemporaries adhered to. This is a metaphorical contrast of sign and meaning. A metaphor taken literally always looks absurd precisely because of its contrast, in which the reader encounters an unexpected comparison. The radical otherness, the dissimilarity of the image emphasizes that it is just a sign indicating a different being. As Averintsev shows, the sign of the redeeming Blood of Christ in St. Roman the Sweet Singer is the red stationery ink with which the emperor writes his decree. Averintsev emphasizes the surprise of comparing the majestic Sacrifice of Christ and clerical clerical work. As he further explains, this technique was characteristic of that period. In the texts of the Areopagite corpus, it is often used, being at the same time a form of application of the theological apophatic method. In order to talk about God through negation, in order to elevate the mind to the transcendent, divine things are compared with the most, if I may say so, base and prosaic. "According to the explanation of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, sharp discrepancies between the dignity of meaning and the unworthiness of the sign are purposely allowed to remind of the difference between the sign and the signified" [6, p. 127]. It should be noted that here Averintsev follows the Augustinian definition of a sign, according to which a sign is something that causes a memory of something else in the mind of the perceiver.Losev, whom S. S.Averintsev called his teacher, in the work "The Sign.Symbol.Myth" hints at the fact that contemporary representatives of semiotics often use the term "sign" based on different definitions, which prevents the creation of a coherent theory [7, p. 220]. The large intensity of the term "sign", which is evidenced by A. F.Losev, the ambiguity of his interpretation, the presence of a number of concepts corresponding to the term, significantly expands the field of semiotic research, as well as understanding the essence of the semiotic method itself.

Citing the texts of the Areopagite corpus, Averintsev draws attention to the fact that they borrow the mystical terminology of antiquity. The very word "mystery", "mystery, mystery", is often found in them. A characteristic term is also the word "mystagogy", "mystery science". Averintsev explains that if the form, that is, the word itself, the sign, was borrowed from the pagan tradition, then the content in the context of the Christian-Biblical tradition in this form is completely different. The word "mystery" refers to the biblical image of the Church as the army of Christ God, which will not tell the Mystery of Christ to the enemies of God, that is, it will remain faithful to God and preserve the holy. This topic is discussed in detail in the chapter "Sign, banner, sign". Outlining the meaning and connotations of the mentioned terms in the Christian tradition, Averintsev calls them elements, that is, considers them as a structure and defines their organizing center this is a sign of faith and loyalty to Christ. This meaning dominates the connotation of a secret hidden from the uninitiated, and it is more important than the function of psychophysical influence on a person.

In the chapter "The World as a riddle and a solution," Averintsev examines the relationship between the content plan and the expression plan in the texts of Nonna Panopolitan (V century A.D.) and the Areopagite corpus, studying the structures of these sign systems using a philological approach.

Averintsev begins with the form of expression. He determines and analyzes the size by which Nonna's poems are written, then the metric and then the vocabulary. When Averintsev writes about the size of Nonna's poetry, he reveals the semiotic aspect of its application specifically by this poet, his individual creative approach. Nonne writes in hexameter, traditional for the Greek epic. The basis of the hexameter the juxtaposition of long and short syllables is preserved by Nonnom, but this style was already outdated in the period under review. Therefore, the use of such a traditional size by Nonn in combination with modern linguistic trends, as Averintsev writes, emphasizes its seemingly inappropriate archaism and turns the hexameter of Nonn into a conventional sign: "... the simplest elements of the artistic whole, starting with the traditional hexameter, go out of equality with themselves and turn into conventional signs of themselves It is the "revival" of the hexameter that signals that this size is dead" [6, 143]. Further, Sergey Sergeyevich describes in detail how Nonn and the author of the Areopagite corpus use a lot of words in such a way as to show the inability of these words to adequately express reality, to emphasize the ineffability and inexpressibility of Divine Mysteries, which corresponds to the apophatic method in theology and proof against the contrary in logic. And seemingly inappropriate and pretentious, as Averintsev writes, mannered, the use of a hexameter also serves this purpose. A form of expression is chosen that is fundamentally opposite to the content plan.

Analyzing the vocabulary of Nonna, Averintsev draws attention to the purpose of the poet's use of words, which is the application of the functional method of semiotics, the study of the function of the sign in the modeling system. "Words are, as it were, destroyed in the act of performing their function" [6, p. 146]. This goal is not limited to emphasizing the difference between the word and the described reality and/or its inexpressibility, since such exposure of the sign's inconsistency, its emptiness, unsuitability generates a special reaction in the reader's mind, the word-sign affects the reader. Such an analysis of the sign's impact on the perceiver's consciousness corresponds to such a section of semiotics as pragmatics [8, p. 44] according to the terminology of Charles Morris (1901-1978). The reaction of consciousness to the perceived sign in semiotics is called an interpretant. Although Averintsev does not use these terms, he reveals exactly these mechanisms. "... Nonna has his own goals, and for these purposes one metaphor is not enough for him... The more numerous metaphors are piled up, the more clearly this inviolable space between them is felt. Of course, such a path leads ... to obsessively hypnotizing tautologies" [6, p. 144]. Averintsev writes about the same thing, considering the Areopagite corpus: ""Light", which is "darkness", and "darkness", which is "light", is... with all the power of hypnotizing repetitions, tautologies and other emotional stimuli, an unimaginability imposed on the imagination, a contradiction embedded in the human psyche, which is designed to "transform" this psyche."

Averintsev's application of the semiotic method is also evident in the general assessment of early Byzantine poetics in that it reveals the general structure of "Christian paradoxalism" that constitutes the literature of this period. This is not the first time Sergey Sergeyevich uses the term "structure" itself, while identifying a characteristic sign-word for this structure - ("incredible, glorious") [6, p. 151], while referring to the famous Orthodox liturgical text, the Christmas canon of Cosmas of Mayumsky.

Although S. S.Averintsev, according to the testimony of the late S. S. Khoruzhego, was not a structuralist and was not a representative of the Tartu-Moscow semiotic school, but his analysis of Nonna poetry is partly characterized by the use of similar methods. Just as Yu. M. Lotman drew attention to the correlation of the form of A. S. Pushkin's poem "I visited again..." [9, p. 64] with its content (lack of rhyme) and the context of using such a technique in modern Russian literature to Pushkin, S. S.Averintsev draws attention to the form of the poem Nonna (hexameter), to the special archaic Homeric vocabulary, and just like Yu. M. Lotman, to the context of the use of such a size and such phrases in the era, modern Nonna and the content of the text. S. S.Averintsev writes that the contrast created by the combination of the ancient form, which was previously used to convey pagan content, and the evangelical core of the plot of his work, generates discord "between the independent and contextual meaning" of linguistic units and their combinations. The same sign, word, refers to opposite meanings and meanings in different contexts. Such an original combination of form and content changes them, "both are transformed in mutual confrontation" [6, p. 153]. In the passage of Nonna's poem cited by Averintsev, we are not talking about the distortion of the Christian faith in it. As Averintsev himself comments on this text, Nonna's peculiar literary style emphasizes the materiality, the sensual tangibility of the gospel events, while the evangelists mostly describe only their very essence without unnecessary details.

Sign (representative)An object

Value ("basis")1


aesthetics / ethics, ontology


the verb "to be", the name "Being"

The True Good (God) / verb-bundle



the image of a person

Christ: Servant / King's son, God (image of God)



the king of the earth

The King of Heaven, God

greatness, power


stationery ink

The Blood of Christ

Redemption, suffering, pardon


(mystery, mystery, mystery)

faith and loyalty

The Church, the host of Christ


hexameter in the poems of Nonna


inexpressibility, pretentiousness, deadness, transcendence


incredible, paradoxical

the paradox


incarnation, incarnation of God

human dignity, christianity


the human body

human dignity, aristocracy/

suffering, slavery

dignity and humiliation


identification of Light and darkness


unimaginability, contradiction, transcendence

Since S. S.Averintsev studied the poetics of early Byzantine literature, and it is directly related to the poetics of Byzantine culture and describes it, then in his writings on this topic, Averintsev applied the semiotic method to cultural phenomena of this period, and not only to texts. It can be said, as G. G. Kvitkov writes [10], that this manifested his holistic, holistic approach to culture, but he uses the semiotic method to study it. The semiotic method, as a more general and universal method, includes a philological component at a more specific textual level. As N. B. Mechkovskaya writes, "semiotics has no object that would not be considered in other fields of knowledge." The specificity of this science lies in the fact that "a semiotic researcher always goes beyond the boundaries of one sign system: the comparison of different semiotics ... turns out to be the main method for clarifying the essence of the uniqueness of a direct object in a specific study" [8, pp. 36-37], which is what S. S. does.Averintsev in almost all his works, comparing the contexts of using the same image in different cultures. This is vividly demonstrated in his analysis of Nonna's poetics of the Panopolitan and Areopagite corpus.

In this article, the specifically semiotic features of Averintsev's methodology were highlighted and concretized. In his research, Sergey Sergeevich uses the terms "semiotics", "sign", "sign system", "structure", "context", "representation", "meaning", the concept of "word function" with varying degrees of intensity, which are characteristic of semiotics as a science. Averintsev has no works in which he would take any one text of the early Byzantine period, and using the semiotic method, would analyze in detail this one text in parts throughout the entire article or book. However , S. S.Averintsev uses the semiotic method to comprehend the totality of texts of the specified period, in which cultural trends were mainly reflected, in their correlation with each other, that is, in context. As it was shown in this work, Sergey Sergeyevich abundantly quotes texts of the early Byzantine period and reveals their content, tries to delve into their meaning precisely with the help of the semiotic method.

Exploring the culture of Byzantium using the semiotic method, S. S.Averintsev touches on philosophical and ideological themes. It concerns such philosophical concepts and topics as being, ontology, anthropology, goodness, transcendence, otherness, meaning. An integral part of semiosis is meaning. The sign systems in which culture expresses itself reflect the worldview systems, religious and philosophical trends that have significantly determined the life of both an individual and society as a whole. Regardless of how the problem of the correlation of being and consciousness is solved (which is traditionally a philosophical problem), the very fact of their relationship is expressed precisely in the sign and sign systems, that is, semiotically. A vivid example is the reflections of S. S. considered above .Averintseva on how Christian theologians used the categorical apparatus of ancient philosophy to express the meaning of the Biblical tradition, in particular, how to interpret the name of God. Averintsev shows that the Christian Church found it possible to correlate this Name with the concept of Being understood as Good. However, the limited possibilities of semiotic tools are also manifested here. Any sign, as a linguistic unit of a certain system, has its own limited extensionality of meanings. In this case, when the Hebrew word, the name of God "Yahweh" was translated into Greek by the participle o , and into Russian "Existing", a certain shade of the original meaning is lost. The Latin translation of this name (Ego sum Qui sum I am Who I am) reflects a different semantic connotation, it is rather a departure from a positive answer to the question, to which Joseph Ratzinger, in particular, draws attention [11, p. 102].

From this it can be seen that, on the one hand, the sign expresses philosophical meanings, it is with its help that one or another picture of the world is created, but the limited nature of the sign causes the problem of adequate translation of meaning from one sign system to another. The difficulty here lies in the fact that an essential part of the concept may be lost during translation, the meaning may be impoverished.

The semiotic analysis of Byzantine culture, which is carried out by Averintsev, explicates the problem of the correlation of the existence of society with the iconic universe. Being itself is a philosophical concept. It is in Averintsev's works on early Byzantine literature that we see how meanings influence signs and the life of society, and at the same time, how signs themselves create new meanings.

The study of S. S. textsAverintsev's work on early Byzantine literature showed that Christian metaphysics presupposes a view of man and society in which man is thought of as a being with the highest value and dignity in the created world in the eyes of God, but such a high position a person can maintain only with the help of Divine Grace in Christ. A person receives this Grace precisely through the Church as a society of Christians, included in the hierarchy of the unity of heaven and earth established by God.

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The subject of the research of the presented article is the semiotic method of S.S. Averentsev. The author notes that the semiotic aspect of Averintsev's works has been poorly studied, and scientific texts devoted to the semiotic method are absent from the works of the Russian thinker. The work refers to early Byzantine literature in order to demonstrate the belonging of Averentsev's semiotic methodology to the socio-philosophical field. The research methodology consists in reproducing Averentsev's views related to the application of the semiotic method to social research. The relevance of the work is related to the lack of knowledge of the methodology developed and applied by the philosopher in his writings. The scientific novelty lies in the interpretation of the semiotic attitudes of Averentsev's philosophy as a methodology of socio-philosophical research. The author of the article sees in the use of the terms "semiotics", "sign", "sign system", "structure", "context", "representation", "meaning", the concept of "function of the word" signs of its appeal to the subject field of semiotics as a science. The author admits that although Averintsev has no works in which he would take any one text of the early Byzantine period and consistently apply the semiotic method to it, nevertheless, the philosopher actively quotes texts of the early Byzantine period and reveals their content, tries to delve into their meaning using the semiotic method. Style, structure, content. The style of the article corresponds to the scientific one, but the text as a whole produces the impression of a fragment of a more general work. This explains the insufficiently detailed introduction, without specifying the subject and methodology of the study, and some confusion in the content of the article. On the one hand, the author repeats in his text the sequence of construction of the analyzed work of Averentsev, abundantly quotes the texts of the philosopher, on the other hand, he turns to an independent analysis of early Byzantine material in order to show that Averentsev's reflections and methods of his analysis can be called socio-philosophical. The author reasonably concludes that the semiotic analysis of Byzantine culture, which is carried out by Averintsev, explicates the problem of the correlation of society's existence with the iconic universe. It shows that it is in Averintsev's works on early Byzantine literature that one can trace how meanings affect signs and the life of society, and at the same time how the signs themselves create new meanings. The bibliography is the weakest place of work, except for Averentsev's work "Poetics of Early Byzantine Literature" analyzed in the article, the bibliography includes 10 titles that do not reflect the entire range of works devoted to the work of the Russian thinker. There is practically no appeal to opponents, except for the first paragraph of the article, in which the author claims that the stated topic was not the object of scientific consideration. Conclusions, the interest of the readership. In conclusion, the author states that it highlighted and concretized the specifically semiotic features of Averintsev's methodology, which make it possible to identify a socio-philosophical view of man and society in Christian metaphysics. The article is of interest to researchers of the Russian semiotic tradition and Averentsev's work and can be recommended for publication.
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