La topographie de Cosmas Indicopleustès. Théologie et Science au Vie siècle.
Presses Universitiares de France, Paris, 1962. XV,329,XVp. ills.(15 B&W photographs). Series: Bibliothèque Byzantine, Études 3. ‘Previous studies on Cosmas were all devoted to peripheral issues; they primarily saw in the ‘Topography’ a source of historical and geographical information, or a landmark in the history of science, or restricted their interest to manuscript illumination. Mrs Wolka for the first time makes an attempt to examine Cosmas for his own sake and to define the purpose of the book as a whole. Thus it appears that Cosmas’ essential aim is to build a cosmology which could fit into certain finite theological presuppositions and to refute contemporary theories which, according to him, were based upon a pagan view of the world. The first part of Mrs Wolska’s book (pp.37-143) is devoted to the theological views of Cosmas (…). The second part of the book (pp.147-271) is dedicated to Cosmas’ polemics against the Monophysite philosopher John Philoponos. (…) the main defect of Philoponos’ cosmology, according to Cosmas, is that it is Hellenic and pagan, while his own pretends to be Biblical and Christian. However, as Mrs Wolska clearly shows, Cosmas himself accepts many ancient Greek views as his own conception of the world. (…) The great merit of Mrs Wolska’s work is in the clear establishment of the essential historical co-ordinates, and even more in the adoption of the right key to the understanding of the ‘Topography’: the main concern of Cosmas is neither science nor geography, but theology, although his approach to both theology and scientific knowledge is extremely rudimentary. (…) Her analysis of the text itself is extremely careful (…). Cosmas was not a great mind, but his role and influence, so richly analysed by Mrs Wolska, are very revealing for our understanding of the sixth century and of some later aspects of Byzantine civilization.’ (JOHN MEYENDORFF in Speculum, 1964, pp.373-375).