Libmonster ID: U.S.-1534

Klavdia Borisovna Starkova... I first heard this name when I was a first-year student of the Moscow State University Faculty of History, when I chose the Qumran manuscripts as the topic of my course work. K. B. Starkova was the first in our country to publish the article "Manuscripts from the surrounding area on the shore of the Dead Sea "(Bulletin of Ancient History. 1956, No. 1. pp. 87-102). In the memoirs of an outstanding Russian orientalist, a group member of K. B. Starkova, I. M. Dyakonov, there is such an anecdote: "One rabbi was asked:" Is it true that everything that was, is and will be written in the Talmud?" He said it was true. - "What does the Talmud say - is it possible to build socialism in one country?" "The Talmud says it's possible." - "But the Rashi (medieval Talmudist Rabbi Shlomo Ben Yitzhak, abbreviated Rashi. - A. L.) says that it will be impossible to live in this country" (I. M. Diakonov. Book of Memories, St. Petersburg, 1995, p. 330). It was in this country that almost the entire life of the outstanding semitologist-Hebraist K. B. Starkova (1915-2000) passed.

St. Petersburg: European House, 2006, 356 p.


page 204

Thanks to the efforts of the St. Petersburg researcher V. L. Vikhnovich, who managed to make an audio recording of Starkova's memoirs in 1994-1997, and the International Research Center for Russian and Eastern European Jewry Foundation, this publication was made possible. The book includes: an introductory article by I. R. Tantlevsky and V. L. Vikhnovich about K. B. Starkova, which also includes a far from complete list of her main scientific works; actually memoirs of K. B. Starkova; "Memoirs of Klavdia Borisovna Starkova" (V. L. Vikhnovich, E. N. Meshcherskaya, G. M. Gluskina)"; " Review of K. B. Starkova's monograph by G. M. Gluskina; "Articles by K. B. Starkova" (both published: "Semitology in the USSR for Forty Years", and first published in this book). the book: "Jews of Europe", "Jews in Russia and the USSR"); Review "about the doctoral student K. B. Starkova" by Academician I. Y. Krachkovsky (April 1947). Unfortunately, K. B. Starkova's illness prevented the complete completion of her memoirs-the memoirs dictated by her were brought only until 1938.

Klavdia Borisovna Starkova was born into a family of typical Russian St. Petersburg intellectuals. In 1933, she entered the Leningrad Institute of Philosophy, Linguistics and Literature (LIFLI) at the Faculty of Linguistics in the Department of Semitic Languages and Literatures. Among the teachers who continued the brilliant traditions of Russian semitology at that time were outstanding Hebraists M. N. Sokolov, A. Ya. Borisov, I. G. Frank-Kamenetsky, Arabists academician I. Yu. Krachkovsky, V. I. Belyaev, N. V. Yushmanov, Assyriologist A. P. Riftin, orientalist academician V. V. Struve. The young researcher managed to find in the collections of the Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library previously unknown poems by the great Jewish poet, philosopher and doctor of the XII century. Yehuda Halevi, and she began working on a dissertation on his work. The war prevented these plans. During the siege, K. B. Starkova was an assistant professor at the Department of Semitology at Leningrad State University. She had to survive the terrible famine winter of 1941-1942, her father died of starvation, but nevertheless she was able to find the strength to continue her scientific work. After being evacuated in Central Asia, K. B. Starkova worked at the Tashkent Institute of Oriental Studies, where in 1944 she defended her PhD thesis. After returning to Leningrad, she continued her studies in Hebraic studies, choosing the work of another great Jewish poet and philosopher of the twelfth century, Shlomo Ibn Gabirol, as the subject of her next study. At the same time, Klavdia Borisovna teaches at the Eastern Faculty of Leningrad State University at the Department of Assyrology and Hebraic Studies. However, for Soviet Jewry and its culture, the "black years" began: the struggle against "rootless cosmopolitans", the policy of state anti-Semitism, and the "doctors ' case". Jewish culture in its most diverse forms was outlawed. That terrible time affected the fate of not only the Jewish intelligentsia, but also the Russian person who was engaged in Jewish philology, K. B. Starkova. The department where she worked was closed. For several years, she had to work outside of her specialty in the libraries of the Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Archeology. Having a deep understanding of Jewish culture and religion, K. B. Starkova, as V. L. Vikhnovich recalls, "the Orthodox tradition never died out in her soul. She celebrated the main Christian holidays... Her funeral service was also held in the Orthodox church."

With the beginning of the "thaw" in the position of K. B. Starkova changes occur. In 1954, she joined the Leningrad branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies. The main subject of her scientific research is the Dead Sea manuscripts. She has made scientific translations into Russian, commented on and prepared for publication more than 20 printed pages of manuscripts of the Qumran community. In 1971, Klavdia Borisovna defended her doctoral dissertation on the topic: "Monuments of Qumran literature (towards the study of the ideology of the Qumran community)". Not limited to philological analysis, she was able to show the ideology of the Qumran community in the context of the social and political situation in Judea at the time of the emergence of Christian civilization. K. B. Starkova's research in the field of Qumran studies has been recognized by the most prominent Hebraists in the world. However, politics again interfered with its fruitful work. The "anti-Zionist" campaign that began in the country in 1967 prevented her from publishing her book. The results of the truly heroic work of the scientist turned out to be unclaimed for 30 years, and only relatively recently prepared with the participation of A.M. Gazov-Ginzberg and M. M. Elizarova's "Texts of Qumran" was published (St. Petersburg, 1996).

A special page in the scientific biography of K. B. Starkova is occupied by working with the largest collection of Jewish manuscripts of the Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library. After returning from the evacuation, she provided invaluable assistance to the library (then

page 205

there were no employees who knew the Hebrew alphabet) in working with the most valuable collection of Jewish manuscripts collected by Avraham Firkovich. Klavdia Borisovna not only helped to return the manuscripts to their storage places, but also systematized their arrangement, thanks to which the librarian, even if he did not speak Hebrew, could independently and quickly find the necessary manuscript.

Due to the severe eye disease suffered by K. B. Starkova, her work was a real scientific feat. And even after the fruitful scientist was retired (1979), Klavdia Borisovna continued to work tirelessly and publish. Among the rather incomplete list of scientific works by K. B. Starkova given in the book are several publications in the Palestinian Collection dating back to the 1980s. It is no coincidence that the peer-reviewed publication also includes works that were first published. The fate of these materials, as well as all research in the field of Jewish culture and history in the Soviet Union, is quite dramatic. In 1948, the Institute of Ethnography of the USSR Academy of Sciences commissioned K. B. Starkova for the collection" Peoples of the World " two essays on the history of Jews in Europe and Russia. Despite the fact that these works were written under the pressure of Marxist ideology and Stalin's" teaching " about the nation, they have not lost their scientific significance to this day, especially those sections devoted to anthropology, language, writing, literature, religion, folk art and the character of the Jewish people. These scientific essays also present the horrific figures of the genocide of the Jews of Europe. However, since 1948 was the year when Jewish culture in the USSR came under severe ideological pressure, the collection "Peoples of the World" was published without essays by Klavdia Borisovna.

In my opinion, the most interesting thing in the reviewed book is personal memoirs of Klavdia Borisovna. In them, she appears as a great storyteller, who, despite her advanced age, has an exceptional memory and observation. In our time of increasing interethnic and religious tensions and conflicts, the stories that the memoirist tells from his childhood and youth are full of other examples and actions. K. B. Starkova's grandfather, Mikhail Ivanovich, served as a divisional doctor in Bialystok, where most of the population consisted of the Jewish poor, mainly weavers. Many of these people turned to Mikhail Ivanovich for medical help. "They usually paid him off during Passover, and he received a lot of matzoh from donors and patients. They were offended if my grandfather refused, but he knew that very poor people came to him with all possible gifts... In addition to the treatment, Mikhail Ivanovich was also remembered by Jews for the fact that thanks to him there was one less Jewish pogrom in Bialystok." Having learned that the workers of the railway under construction to Warsaw were going to organize a Jewish pogrom, Mikhail Ivanovich "went to the workers alone with his coachman early in the morning. Meeting the crowd that came out to the pogrom... he stopped and spoke directly to her, unarmed and unafraid. He said they were crazy, that they were putting themselves and innocent people in danger... The victims will be poor people like themselves... And he persuaded them in a simple, good way, appealing to their best human feelings " (p. 31). According to the memoirs of Klavdia Borisovna, her mother's cousins, like many other non-Jews, participated with weapons in the fight against rioters in the protection squads in the Kiev and Chernihiv provinces. "However, they did not have to fight, because the rioters were not fools. If they were opposed firmly, united, and with weapons in their hands, they dispersed" (ibid.). The story of Mikhail Ivanovich's funeral is connected with her first strong childish, as Klavdia Borisovna says, "Jewish, Hebraistic" impression: grateful patients of her grandfather from Bialystok and surrounding towns "could not enter the Orthodox cemetery because of their beliefs, but all of them, as they said, three or four thousand people, stood at his door." "all the time of funerals" (p. 40).

For the first time, Tata Starkova's interest in the Hebrew language was born in elementary school due to a special passion for reading, or rather, thanks to Theodor Hoffmann's" Serapion Brothers". "While reading these fantastic narratives, I noticed that when something extremely interesting is done, there are letters, some texts that help the characters communicate with supernatural forces. In such circumstances, the Hebrew language often appears on the scene. I wanted to master it. It was then that I was first introduced to this language by the grandfather of Reeva Zalman, my friend from the fourth grade." It was "the first meeting with a real representative of the Jewish people. The old man had very beautiful white curly hair, a real pair of paces, and a long black coat... He opened the book in front of me, explained that vowel signs are written under letters, not next to letters. I'm with the greatest

page 206

she took the book reverently, looked at everything, gave it back to him with the same reverence, bowed and thanked him. The old man looked at me with a benevolent smile. I told him that I would try to learn Hebrew " (p.152). Even at an early age, the girl realized that she was extremely capable of languages, but when entering the university, she hesitated between biology and philology. Having chosen the latter, she spent her long life studying Oriental languages - Hebrew and Arabic.

A significant part of the memoirs is devoted to stories about teachers and friends-Orientalists: the Hebrew teacher Mikhail Nikolaevich Sokolov, the last one who received the title of master of the Moscow Theological Academy before the revolution; Andrei Yakovlevich Borisov, whom K. B. Starkova called her Teacher and wrote about him as a brilliant scientist. The fate of these two people, as well as many others about whom the memoirist tells, turned out to be tragic. Subsequently, K. B. Starkova did a lot to publish the scientific legacy of A. Ya. Borisov, an untimely deceased scientist and a person close to her. The memoirs recreate vivid portraits of outstanding Orientalists P. K. Kokovtsov, I. Yu. Krachkovsky, and I. N. Vinnikov.

The last chapter of the memoirs is dedicated to Ilya Grinberg , a talented semitologist who failed through no fault of his own, who did not have time to publish a single scientific work, but was admired by his professors. Ilya Grinberg is also a victim of the Soviet regime's terror. One of the most striking characters in the book is I. G. Frank-Kamenetsky, a Leningrad orientalist, author of dozens of works on mythology, poetics, and the history of the Middle East and Egypt. K. B. Starkova recalls that he was "a truly holy man, full of sincere benevolence towards everyone with whom he communicated, and towards his students - those who were interested in him." more than. I can't imagine him treating different people differently. He never gave bad marks and sincerely believed that once a person went to study the Hebrew language, then already for this he has the right to be considered as having full-fledged abilities " (p. 210). "Memoirs" tells about those times when a scientist existed practically in an airless space, without participating in international congresses, without meeting with colleagues, in isolation from the problems and achievements of world science. All the more impressive is the steadfastness and perseverance with which scientists such as K. B. Starkov, continued to engage in "science for the sake of science" - as a rule, despite considerations of career and personal safety.

Reading the book, one feels a sense of bitterness over the crippled destinies, early and irreparable losses suffered by Russian Oriental studies, in particular Hebraism, as a result of wars, mass terror and discrimination policies, and gratitude to the memoirist, who managed to remain an example of unselfishness, selfless devotion to science, truth-telling, scientific and human decency until the last days of his great life - all that is characteristic of the great Russian intelligentsia


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A. E. LOKSHIN, K. B. STARKOV. MEMORIES OF THE PAST. LIFE AND WORK OF A SEMITOLOGIST-HEBRAIST IN THE USSR // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 03.07.2024. URL: https://libmonster.com/m/articles/view/K-B-STARKOV-MEMORIES-OF-THE-PAST-LIFE-AND-WORK-OF-A-SEMITOLOGIST-HEBRAIST-IN-THE-USSR (date of access: 24.07.2024).

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