Feliks Koneczny

Feliks Koneczny

Feliks Karol Koneczny (November 1, 1862, Kraków – February 10, 1949 Kraków (Cracow)) was a Polish historian and social philosopher. Founder of the original system of the comparative science of civilizations.


Koneczny graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and began work as at the Jagiellonian Library. After Poland regained its independence, he became an assistant professor in 1919. In June 1920, after he had qualified received the degree of doctor habilitatus, he became a professor of the Stefan Batory University in Wilno. After having retired in 1929, he came back to Kraków. [Biliński P.. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=16208880&dopt=Abstract Feliks Karol Koneczny - academic career path] ( [http://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/ebm/record/16208880/full_citation/%5BFeliks_Karol_Koneczny___academic_career_path%5D alternate link] ), Kwart Hist Nauki Tech. 2005;50(1):95-115. Last accessed on 26 April 2007.]


His interests moved from purely historical research to the philosophy of history, religion and philosophy.Biliński P.. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=16208880&dopt=Abstract Feliks Karol Koneczny - academic career path] ( [http://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/ebm/record/16208880/full_citation/%5BFeliks_Karol_Koneczny___academic_career_path%5D alternate link] ), Kwart Hist Nauki Tech. 2005;50(1):95-115. Last accessed on 26 April 2007.] His pioneering works dealing with the history of Russia. Koneczny authored extensive monographs of Byzantine and Jewish civilizations, which he considered to be less developed than the Latin civilization of catholic Europe. In 1948, after sixty years of research work Koneczny calculated that his written scholarly output encompassed 26 volumes, each of them being 300 to 400 pages long, not to mention more than 300 articles, brochures and reprints. His theory of civilisatons might inspire Anton Hilckman, Samuel P. Huntington and others.

Types of civilizations according to Koneczny

Feliks Koneczny divided civilizations into about twenty types, of which seven types are still present in modern world. Four of them are ancient: "Brahmin", "Jewish", "Chinese" and "Turanian". Three of them are medieval: "Latin", "Byzantine" and "Arab". The differences between civilizations are based on their attitude to law and ethics.

For example, Koneczny claimed that in Latin civilization, the ethics is the source of law. If some laws are not ethical, then they are changed. Church is autonomous, independent and separated from the state. Individuality, self-rule and decentralization are highly valued. Government is judged based on adherence to ethics. The law is of dual nature, divided into public and private spheres.

In Byzantine civilization, church is dependent from the state. In that type of civilization, in politics all means are justified to achieve the goal. Politicians follow ethics in private life, but in public they are judged by their skill, not by ethics. The legal government has absolute authority and its orders are not doubted. Germany under Bismarck was example of that type of civilisation.

In Turan civilisation, the government is source of law, ethics and stand above the law and ethics. The ruler cannot be doubted. Koneczny considered Russia under Tsars as example of this type of civilization.

Jewish civilization considers the law as the most important. The law is source of ethics. The law cannot be changed. However, the same law can be differently interpreted, which leads to relativism of ethics. According to Koneczny, one of element of Jewish civilization is also belief in superior role of one nation or race.

Koneczny claimed, that civilizations cannot mix, and syntax of several civilization leads in fact to the victory of one of them, those which has lower moral standards, or to state of "un-civilization".

Koneczny did not tie civilization type to any particular race or nation. Hence, Pole could represent Turanian of civilization (as, according to Koneczny, Pilsudski). Germans could represent Jewish type of culture (shockingly, Koneczny considered Hitler to represent Jewish civilization). Ethnic Jew could represent Latin type of civilization.

Koneczny considered racism as something alien to Latin civilization, which he considered the highest type.

According to Koneczny, Europe in his time was battlefield between three types of civilization: Latin, Turan and Jewish. He argued that Byzantine type of civilization already lost the battle and was in deep crisis.


Polish historian Janusz Tazbir describes Feliks Koneczny as a dedicated antisemite, who looked for Jewish conspiracies wherever he could.Janusz Tazbir, " [http://www.niniwa2.cba.pl/protokoly_janusz_tazbir_1.htm PROTOKOŁY MĘDRCÓW SYJONU: Autentyk czy falsyfikat] "] Koneczny was one of the chief proponents of a theory that Jewish civilization threatened entire Latin-Christian world.Joanna Beata Michlic, "Poland's Threatening Other: The Image of the Jew from 1880 to the Present", U of Nebraska Press, 2006, ISBN 0803232403 [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0803232403&id=t6h2pI7o_zQC&pg=RA4-PA179&lpg=RA4-PA179&dq=Feliks+Koneczny&sig=bcrLG8YLlpgBpNnTAY6tx5D0GUk Google Print, p.179] ] In his publication "Hitleryzm zażydzony" ("The Judaized Hitlerism") Koneczny claimed that Nazism was example of Jewish civilization type..

His teachings are popular among certain members of modern Polish rightist and nationalist parties, like Maciej Giertych, which are occasionally accused of antisemitism.. [http://www.jewishtimes.com/News/6315.stm Polish Politician Blasts Jews] FEBRUARY 18, 2007 JTA Wire Service]


Most in Polish; one book available in English translation.

* "Dzieje Rosyi". Tom I. (do roku 1449), Spółka Wydawnicza Warszawska, Warsaw 1917 (in Polish)
*"Polskie Logos a Ethos", t. I–II, Księgarnia sw. Wojciecha, Poznań 1921.
*"O wielości cywilizacyj", Gebethner & Wolff, Kraków 1935. English translation (abridged) "On the Plurality of Civilisations", Polonica Publications, London 1962.English Translation: [http://sci.pam.szczecin.pl/~fasting/files/download/Koneczny/A4.doc Word (1.2 MB)] [http://sci.pam.szczecin.pl/~fasting/files/download/Koneczny/strona.htm HTML]
*"Święci w dziejach narodu polskiego" / "Saints in history of polish nation", t. 1–2, Tow. Sw. Michała Archanioła, Miejsce Piastowe 1937–1939.
*"Rozwój moralności" / "Extention of Morality", Tow. Wiedzy Chrześć., Lublin 1938.
*"Cywilizacja bizantyjska" / "Byzantine civilisation" , Towarzystwo im. Romana Dmowskiego, London 1973.
*"Cywilizacja żydowska" / "Jewish civilisation", Towarzystwo im. Romana Dmowskiego, London 1974.
*"O ład w historii" / "About order in history", Towarzystwo im. Romana Dmowskiego, London 1977.
* "Państwo w cywilizacji łacińskiej. Zasady prawa w cywilizacji łacińskiej" / "Land in latin civilisation. Rules of law in latin civilisation", Towarzystwo im. Romana Dmowskiego, London 1981 (in Polish)
*"Prawa dziejowe (oraz dodatek) Bizantynizm niemiecki" / "History laws (and bonus) German byzaninism", Towarzystwo im. Romana Dmowskiego, London 1982.
*"Dzieje Rosji" / "History of Russia". Tom III. "Schyłek Iwana III" / "Decline of Ivan III of Russia". 1492–1505, Towarzystwo im. Romana Dmowskiego, London 1984.
*Zionism and Polish cause (in Polish)


External links

* [http://www.archiv.cas.cz/a8_res-en.htm Slavism and Sciences and Humanities in the 19th and 20th Centuries]

Further reading

* P. Bilinski "Feliks Koneczny (1862–1949). Zycie i dzialalnosc". Ad astra, Warsaw 2001.

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