The empirical data registered during anthropological, ethnographic and folklore
A similar stance towards the Quranic corpus was attested among some Muslim communities—both Sunni and Shia—in the Balkans4 and elsewhere.5 Thus, in the early 1950’s, while describing certain idiosyncratic features of the Alevi
The singer also sung one wise song of Tarikat, in which it was said that man was created from four components: earth, fire
, air, and water.8 Four books speak about what is known about air, earth, Şeriat, Tarikat, righteousness and truth. Tarikat is a burning fire, and wealth in material goods was given by Adam to mankind, whereas reasoning was given by Allah. When one goes towards truth, one makes sacrifices. At the end of the song, a question was asked about what is known regarding the destiny of each human being.9
Певецът изпя и една мъдра песен за тарикат, в която се казва, че човек е създаден от четири неща: пръст, огън, въздух и вода. Четири книги отговарят какво знаят за въздуха, земята, за шариаха, за тариката, за правдата и истината. Тарикат е горящ огън, имането—материалните блага били дадени от Адам на човека, съзнанието—от Аллаха. Когато се отива към правдата, дават се жертви. На края в песента се запитва какво се знае за съдбата на всеки човек.10
Тhis kind of sacred vocal music was traditionally performed by either male or female members of the Aliani Kizilbaş community, as there were no gender restrictions imposed upon those singing the “wise chants of Tarikat”;11 significantly, the above information was given by no one else but the local Head of the Village Council [Председател на Селсъвета], Hyusein Merdanov.12 Most remarkably, it was also comrade Merdanov who testified that “these songs are called by our people Quran” [тези песни нашите ги наричат Kуран].13 Obviously, in the above phrase this term did not refer to the Muslim
The academic discourse dominant today is that there are no surviving vernacular parallels to the ancient proto-Biblical oral corpus; yet, at the same time, it is taken for granted that certain literary parabiblical compositions (such as
Then again, the analysis of a parabiblical oral corpus
Thus among Orthodox Russian peasants
|От того колена от Адамова,||From the very knee/loin of Adam himself,|
|От того ребра от Евина,||From the very rib of Eve herself,|
|Пошли христиане православные,||Sprang Orthodox Christians,|
|По всей земли Святорусския.i||Around all the land of Holy Russia.ii|
The motif of Adam and Eve
|Оттого у нас в земле цари пошли||This is how the Tsars of our land sprang|
|От святой главы от Адамовой;||From the holy head of Adam;|
|Оттого зачадились князья-бояры||This is how noble princes came to be|
|От святых мощей от Адамовых;||From the holy relics of Adam;|
|Оттого крестьяны православные||While the Orthodox peasants [sprang]|
|От свята колена от Адамова.i||From the very knee/loin of Adam.ii|
Significantly, a strong phonetic similarity exists between the Russian
Then again, a similar—but much more extreme and hostile—axiological model in designating “the Other” is employed by Procopius of Caesarea
The latter case—which is far from unique—not only shows how ethnonyms
A similar phenomenon is observed in medieval European vernaculars; thus the expletive “bugger,” which is conventionally used to denote sodomy, is in fact a derivate from Anglo-Norman bougre, which, in turn, comes from the Latin Bulgarus,26 a name given to the members of the Bulgarian dualistic (Gnostic) heretical movement of the Bogomilism
As far as the actual heresiological term Bogomil is concerned, it is, in fact, an eponym associated with the legendary tenth century leader of the aforementioned Bulgarian dualistic movement who, according to the contemporary historiographical sources, was called Bogomil / Bogumil (Medieval Bulgarian Богоумилъ).28 The latter is a Slavonic calque of the Greek / Byzantine Theophilus (Θεόφιλος), deriving from the lexemes θεός (“God”) and φιλία (“love”). As such, it appears to be a theophoric appellation, the meaning of which may be rendered simply as the “Love of God,” or “Loved by God.” Needless to say, this particular meaning of the (most probably assumed) name of the charismatic heresiarch Bogomil / Bogumil was transparently clear to his contemporaries, regardless of whether adherents or adversaries. It was an ethnohermeneutical
It was exactly this reading of the name of the immanent heresiarch which was targeted by the medieval Bulgarian writer Cosmas the Presbyter
As pointed out above, in the West the term Bogomil was substituted by the ethnonym
The analysis of the vernacular thesaurus employed in parabiblical oral heritage provides fascinating results. Of particular importance is the corpus of the Folk Genesis, as attested among peasant Christian communities in Europe and elsewhere. Those storytelling the Bible consider themselves to be “a chosen people,” while their native tongue is distinguished as the language of Holy Scriptures; accordingly, their native landscapes are identified as the Holy Land.
Indicative in this respect are some folklore counterparts of the Biblical account about the creation of woman,30 as recorded among Bulgarians. Thus, after naming all the animals brought before him, Adam took a nap; it was then, during this slumber that the Matriarch was fashioned by God; the first man called upon her as soon as he woke up. The words he uttered while approaching her were, “Come, come here, as you are dear to my heart!” [Ела! Ела! Че си ми скъпа на сърцето!]; then again, in Bulgarian the articulation/vocalization of the imperative form of the verb “to come”—“ela!” [eлa!]—phonetically resembles the name of the first woman; in the local dialect
A similar rendition of the legend about the origin of the name of the “mother of all living,” Eve, was registered among other Slavonic communities. According to one such an account,32 God conceives the idea of giving the lonely Adam a companion by taking the ninth rib from the sleeping man, forming from it woman and putting her next to him. When Adam awakens, he exclaims: “Lo and behold! What is the meaning of all this? I was one when falling asleep, and now there are two of us!” [Е-во! Што такоя значить? Лех я адин а таперь ужу двоя!]. In the local dialect the expression “Lo and behold” is pronounced as “E-vo!”: hence the name “Eva” (Eve). Having heard Adam’s exclamation, God decides to name the woman after it [Гаспоть и ни пиримяниу названия Адамавый жаны—так и засталась ина Ева].33 As pointed out by Vladimir Dal’ in his Interpretative Dictionary of Vernacular Russian [Толковый словарь живого великорусского языка], “e-va” [е-ва] is a typical Russian vernacular expression used either as an interjection, or as a demonstrative pronoun.34 Obviously, according to the above quoted legend, the name of the first woman is believed to have originated from the exclamation which the Russian-speaking Adam utters when he sees her for the first time.
A similar example of ethnohermeneutical decoding of the name of Eve is attested among the Ukrainians. According to one such anthropogonic legend, man was created from earth, whereas woman was made from the willow tree, which in the narrator’s mother tongue
A similar idea is represented in some Slavonic legends about the origins of the dog. According to these texts, dogs are believed to have sprung from Cain’s dead body—hence the phonetic similarity between their “language” and the name of the Biblical character from whose flesh they originated. While “speaking,” they are believed to be calling his name. Thus the sounds of dog’s barking (rendered by the storytellers as “Kaine! Kaine!”) are perceived as a vocative form of the name of Cain [Каин] (pronounced as “Kain”).36
Another example of deciphering the “language” of animals
Furthermore, even Aetiological legends
Over the many years of my field research I kept encountering the same type of narrative over and over again in different villages. As a rule, the storytellers insisted that the Flood had taken place in their own vicinity; some even showed me the place where Noah’s Ark was believed to have landed.40 (A similar case is represented by legends binding the story of the wife of Lot, who was turned into a pillar of salt within the local landscape). To return to the Flood story, as attested in the Balkans, in some cases the Biblical Patriarch was given a typical local (Bulgarian, Serbian, etc.) name, thus becoming an honorary ancestor of the village in which the Flood story was narrated. In the account of another storyteller, a peasant woman Zonka Ivanova Mikhova (born in 1909 in North-Western Bulgaria), the Biblical legend of Noah and the Flood
And the grapevine
had grapes but they were still green, not yet ripe. He ate from it and said: “No, you can’t eat that!” And when they were ripe, he pressed them and drank wine from them. And he drank and drank, and had more than enough, and got drunk and lay down to sleep. He had taken his clothes off as well. And one of his sons came, and said: “Look! My father is naked!” And the other said: “Forget about him! It’s well deserved—he was so greedy he drank himself to death!” And he woke up and said that he who said that his father should sleep, he will be blessed. Wherever he goes, he will be happy. He who said that his father was naked, he will roam and roam, and never find peace to settle! He will have nothing! [...] And the one who obeyed his father, he was the forefather of the Bulgarians.41
The above quoted oral tale also shows how the Folk BibleFolk Bible
Thus in Christian folklore, as registered among the Southern Slavs, the songs of “Abraham’s sacrifice”
Then again, the vernacular Slavonic and Balkan terminology related to the Kurban
Thus, the life of Abraham
As for Islamic
As for the functional parameters of folklore counterparts of the Quranic account of the filial sacrifice, they remained constant.58 Whatever way it is narrated, the story of Abraham (whose name now changes to Ibrahim) validates the main custom of Muslim communities—the annual ritual slaying of the lamb or ram at the end of the Ramadan fast, on the feast day traditionally called Kurban-Bayram
It is significant for our line of argument that some peculiar motifs in the filial sacrifice story (but surprisingly absent from the canonical narrative), which feature prominently and systematically in parabiblical Jewish writings from the Hellenistic period, are also attested in medieval Slavonic apocryphal writings and in contemporary Slavonic and Balkan Christian and Muslim folklore. One such detail concerns Isaac’s request to be bound by his father before being slaughtered on the altar as a sacrificial offering to God.
|8||be[lieved] God, and righteousness was reckoned to him. A son was born af[ter] this|
|9||[to Abraha]m, and he named him Isaac. But the prince Ma[s]temah came|
|10||[to G]od, and he lodged a complaint against Abraham about Isaac. [G]od said|
|11||[to Abra]ham, ‘Take your son Isaac, [your] only one, [whom]|
|12||[you lo]ve, and offer him to me as a burnt offering on one of the [hig]h mountains,|
|13||[which I shall point out] to you.’ He aro[se and w]en[t] from the wells up to Mo[unt Moriah].|
|14||[ ] And Ab[raham] raised|
|1||[his ey]es, [and there was a] fire; and he pu[t the wood on his son Isaac, and they went together.]|
|2||Isaac said to Abraham, [his father, ‘Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb]|
|3||for the burnt offering?’ Abraham said to [his son Isaac, ‘God himself will provide the lamb.’]|
|4||Isaac said to his father, ‘B[ind me fast’]i|
|5||Holy angels were standing, weeping over the [altar]|
|6||his sons from the earth. The angels of Mas[temah]|
|7||rejoicing and saying, ‘Now he will perish.’ And [in all this the Prince Mastemah was testing whether]|
|8||he would be found feeble, or whether A[braham] would be found unfaithful [to God. He cried out,]|
|9||‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Yes?’ So He said, ‘N[ow I know that]|
|10||he will not be loving.’ The Lord God blessed Is[aac all the days of his life. He became the father of]|
|11||Jacob, and Jacob became the father of Levi, [a third] gene[ration.]ii|
5.3 iThis hypothetical restoration of the text (with a reference to the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan) is explained in Fitzmyer (2002, 218); the “plausibility of this reconstruction,” however, is challenged by Kugel who provides arguments against it and offers an alternative reading (Kugel 2006, 86–91, 97). See also VanderKam (1997, 241–261).iiSee Fitzmyer (2002, 216–217). See also the discussion in Fitzmyer (2002, 218–222, 225, 228–229).
As shown above, the motif of “Isaac as a willing victim” plays a significant role in the Pseudo-Jubilees
“O my father! Bind for me my two hands, and my two feet, so that I do not curse thee; for instance, a word may issue from the mouth because of the violence and dread of death, and I shall be found to have slighted the precept, ‘Honour thy father’ (Ex.20:12.)” He bound his two hands and his two feet, and bound him upon the top of the altar, and he strengthened his two arms and his two knees upon him and put the fire and wood in order, and he stretched forth his hand and took the knife [...]60
A similar scenario is revealed in Targum Pseudo-Jonathan
“Tie me well lest I struggle because of the anguish of my soul, with the result that a blemish will be found in your offering and I will be thrust into the pit of destruction.” The eyes of Abraham were looking at the eyes of Isaac and the eyes of Isaac were looking at the angels on high [...]61
And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son Isaac. Isaac answered and said to his father Abraham: “Father, tie me well lest I kick you and your offering be rendered unfit and we be thrust down into the pit of destruction in the world to come.”62
It is rather astonishing that the motif of Isaac’s request to be bound by his father before the sacrifice, first attested in Qumran
Против колдунов и ведьм употребляли траву чернобыльник, крапиву и плакун-траву, которая и сейчас в Москве имеется, вместе с Адамовой головою и Петровым крестом у Москворецких ворот и на Глаголе продается за хорошую цену.66
A brief survey of internet sources indicates an abundant corpus of rather curious popular manuals describing the properties of “Adam’s head,” along with the necessary rituals accompanying its proper harvesting and usage. One such source is Andrey Romanovsky’s booklet
Практически все из компонентов магических рецептов можно приобрести в магазине или на рынке, в крайнем случае, в специализированном магазине. Кстати, нельзя сбрасывать со счетов и интернет-магазины, в которых можно заказать все что угодно.68
Incidentally, the first item in his list of recommended herbs is, of course, “Adam’s head,” which is supposed to “guarantee omnipotence and invincibility” [дарующая всемогущество]. The elaborate instructions for both root-cutters and users are likewise presented. These types of online sources could be considered as samples of contemporary urban folklore, which so far has been neglected by those studying popular culture of post-Soviet Russia.
As advised by yet another website,69 an additional “Adamic herb” called “Adam’s root” [Адамов корень] is recommended as a remedy against paralysis, epilepsy, impotence, cardio-vascular and infectious diseases, eye problems, a virtual panacea for all kinds of ailments; the potential buyers are further instructed that it can be purchased online; “the price for 55 milliliters is only 250 RUB.”
On the other hand, recent surveys of Russian magic folklore
Так же раб божий (имя рек) не слышал бы в себе в белом теле ходячей грыжи, отныне и до века, век по веку веков.81
The concept of the pain-free body of the dead ancestor, who continues to protect his progeny and take care of their health problems, is likewise attested in traditional Russian spells against toothache. As pointed out by Yudin, the role of the “heavenly dentist” may be attributed not only to the forefather Adam, but also to Noah
Then again, a survey of traditional Russian medical incantations points to the distribution of healing specializations among various Biblical prophets, patriarchs and kings; thus Abraham and Elijah (along with the Virgin Mary and the apostle Simon the Zealot) are responsible for a good harvest of curative herbs and other medicinal plants [При собирания целебных трав].90 Those suffering from evil eye invoke the Prophet Elijah
Finally, there are prophets and kings who are believed to be able to deal with all kinds of ailments; thus Enoch annihilates all diseases by simply shooting them,103 and Solomon by subduing them; the latter motif most probably stems from Solomon’s portrayal as master of the demons,104 which is attested in the Babylonian
On the other hand, the scope of protective functions attributed to some Biblical figures goes far beyond healing rituals. Thus the prophet and the wonder-worker Elijah is petitioned in collective litanies and rain-making ceremonies (implicitly referring to the Biblical narrative of his having stopped and/or obtained rain in 3 Kings 17 and 18). He also features in incantations against fire, due to his reputation as someone who may call down blazes from heaven, as in 3 Kings 18: 36–39 (see also Figures 5.4 and 5.5).106
5.4 The Holy Prophet Elijah in his fiery chariot ascending to heaven. Miniature from the illuminated Ms copied and illustrated by the Bulgarian priest Puncho (Поп Пунчо). The Ms is kept in the Bulgarian National Library under record № 693 (1796). Publication courtesy of the Bulgarian National Library. Photo FBG.
As noted by Viktor Zhivov,113 this kind of practices reflect the existence of a certain “Russian jurisprudential dualism” [русский юридический дуализм], which may be regarded as a civic counterpart to religious and cultural dualism. In this kind of context, law courts in general may be perceived as personifications of demonic powers. Thus, in juridical vernacular incantations, magistrates appear to be symbolically equated with diseases or evil spirits;114 accordingly, the antidote against them is similar to that used in healing spells
On the other hand, those embarking on a journey may pray either to Jacob or to Joseph (who was sold by his brothers as a slave and taken away from his homeland); this kind of incantation most probably reflects not only Jacob’s own travels from Canaan to Padan-Aram, after having defrauded his twin brother Esau of his birthright, or Joseph’s forced exile to Egypt, but also, and most importantly, the motif that the journey was safely accomplished. In fact, the incantations associated with “going to a law court” and/or “embarking on a journey” have a rather similar structure; this is also the case with apocryphal tradition. As pointed out by Yatsimirskiĭ in his seminal work, On the History of False Prayers in South-Slavonic Literature, this type of “false prayer”
Last but not least, there are special incantations intended to blunt the weapons of one’s opponents, and in these the name of the Jacob features prominently once more, perhaps because of his successful wrestling with an angel and at the same time averting the anger of his threatening brother Esau when returning to his homeland.
One final point: a survey of Slavonic vernacular
In general, however, the perception of Biblical figures in all aspects of healing and magic
Following the template of Biblical cosmology
І[оаннъ] р[ече]: Отъ чего громъ и молнія сотворена бысть?—В[асилій] р[ече]: Гласъ Господень въ колесницѣ огненной утверженъ и ангела гр(ом)ная приставлена.120
In Slavia orthodoxa (and especially in Russian
Visual counterparts of Holy Scriptures represent yet another code of transmission
For to adore a picture is one thing, but to learn through the story of a picture what is to be adored is another. For what writing presents to readers, this a picture presents to the unlearned who behold, since in it even the ignorant see what they ought to follow; in it the illiterate read. Hence, and chiefly to the nations, a picture is instead of reading.122
Indeed, the rustic Homo legens lacked scribal eloquence yet could “read” the “sentences” of icon-painting, not envisaged as an act based upon the knowledge of letters. Without being familiar with the alphabet, believers were able to “read” the Bible
I, the servant of God, So-and-so, after my having blessed myself, will set off, and having crossed myself, I will go from the dwelling through the doors, and then through the courtyards and gates, into the pure fields. In the pure fields, in the green bushes, in the seashore there is a cave; in this cave, an elderly woman is sitting on a golden chair between three gates. I, the servant of God, So-and-so, pray to her:
And then the old senior woman, merciful, sweet-hearted, the gold-footed one,123 is dropping the silk yarn and silver spindle and begins to pray to Christ, Heavenly King, and to the Virgin
As bulls jump on the cow or as the cow raises her head on the Feast Day of St. Peter and curls her tail, so may it be in the same way that the [female] servant of God, So-and-so, run and search for me, the servant of God, So-and-so, without fear of God or shame of people. May she kiss me in the mouth, embracing me with her arms and make love.
Как цвела утренная роса, дожидаясь краснова солнца из-за гор из-за высоких, так бы дожидалась раба Божия (имя рек) меня, раба Божия (имя рек), на всякий день и на всякий час, всегда, ныне и присно и во веки веков, аминь.124
In the blue sea, there is a holy island of God. On this holy island of God is a holy Church of God. In this holy Church of God there is the Lord’s throne. On this throne of the Lord’s sits the Holy Martyr of Christ Antipas
[Hereby I pray:] “Please heal the suffering and [illness of] tooth pain, and ‘white’ hernia.” And then the Most Holy Martyr of Christ Antipas said, “In this Church of God is Adam’s corpse. Adam’s corpse does not hear the chiming of the bells or church-singing; nor does this, his white corpse, sense ‘walking’ hernia.”
The dead corpse of Adam answers, “I don’t hear the chiming of the bells or church-singing, neither do I sense the ‘walking’ hernia in my white body, either in my nape, or in my sinews, or in my belly, or in my joints, or in my bones, or under my skin, or in my ears, in my eyes, or in my teeth.” So in the same way may the servant of God, So-and-so, not sense in his white body the ‘walking’ hernia, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
И отвещает мертвое тело Адамово: “Я не слышу звона колокольнева, пенья церковнаго, в белом теле ходячей грыжи, тильной, жильной, пуповой, суставной, становой, подкожной, ушной, глазной, зубной.” Так же раб Божий (имя рек) не слышал бы в себе в белом теле ходячей грыжи, отныне и до века, век по веку веков. Аминь.127
В том младу месяцу два брата родные: Кавель да Авель. Как у них зубы не болят и не щипят, так бы у меня, раба Божия (имя рек), не болели и не щипели.130
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,131 amen. O Lord and the Mother of God, the Most Holy Virgin Theotokos
The Holy righteous Father Abraham was ploughing the fields, Simon the Zealot [see Figure 5.8]132 was sowing it. [The Holy Prophet] Elijah was watering it. And the Lord was helping. The sky is father while the earth is mother. Please O Lord, bless this herb, to be collected for all kinds of benefits, for all Orthodox Christians. Amen, amen, amen.
Когда идешь траву рвать, нужно сделать шесть поклонов дома и шесть при самой траве.133
I will bow before the most wise King, having armed myself with God’s word, and with this book will I find my way to treasure hidden in the earth, and with God’s blessing I will go excavating. Grant me—So-and-so—O Lord, to be rid of evil adversaries and to extract gold from the earth for good deeds, to please little orphans, to build God’s temples, to distribute [it] among poor brethren, and for me, So-and-so, for honest business and trade.
На семи горах на Сионских стоит великий столб каменный; на тем столбе каменном лежит книга запечатана, железным замком заперта, золотым ключем замкнута. На семи горах на Сионских, на столб тот каменный положил книгу запечатану, железным замком заперту, золотыим ключем замкнуту сам премудрый царь Соломон.
Я премудрому царю поклонюся, Божиим словом воорожуся, в книге той о поклажах земных справляюся, с благословением на рытву отправлюся. Подаждь, Боже, мне (имя рек) приставников злых от поклажи отогнати, злата из земли на добрыя дела взяти, сиротам малым на утешение, Божиих храмов на построение, всей нищей братии на разделение, а мне (имя рек) на честну торговлю купецкую.134
As a dead person lies in the damp earth without moving his legs, without speaking with this tongue, and without causing evil with his heart, may, in the same way, judges, officials, enemies and foes not speak with their tongues, may they not create trouble with their hearts, may their legs not move, may their hands not rise, may their mouths not open, may instead their blood coagulate, may their eyes blur and be covered with darkness, and may their heads fall off their shoulders.
Как мертвый человек в сырой земле лежит, ногами не движет, языком не говорит, сердцем зла не творит,—так бы судьи, начальники, враги и супостаты языком не говорили, сердцем зла не творили, ноги бы их не подвигалися, руки не подымалися, уста бы не отверзалися, а кровью бы они запекалися, очи бы у них помутилися, темнотою покрылися, с плеч буйна голова свалилася.135
Затуй се тачи Гергьовден! Затуй се коли агънце—курбан на Бога, за здраве и берекет.136
|AEH||Acta Ethnographica Hungarica. Magyar Tudományos Akadémia (Budapest), Akademiai Kiado, Vol. 1–, 1950 –.|
|BF||Български фолклор. Институт за фолклор при БАН, София, Кн.1–, 1975–.|
|Le Muséon||Le Muséon: Revue d’Études Orientales. Louvain-la-Neuve, T. 1–, 1881–.|
|SbNU||Сборникъ за народни умотворения, наука и книжнина, Кн. 1–27, 1889–1913; Сборник за народни умотворения и народопис, Кн. 28 –, 1914–.|
|SMS||Studia mythologica Slavica. The Institute of Slovenian Ethnology at ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana, and the Department of Linguistics of the University in Pisa, T. 1–, 1998– ; from 1999 onwards it is published in cooperation with the University of Udine.|
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This article incorporates results of the author’s earlier publications on the topic of vernacular renditions of some Biblical and Quranic narratives; see Badalanova (1994; 1997–1998; 2001; 2002a,b; 2003; 2008) and Badalanova Geller (2008; 2010).
See in this connection the discussion in Mochul’skiĭ (1886; 1887); Gaster (1887; 1900; 1915); Dähnhardt (1907; 1909); Utley (1945); Tolstaya (1998); Nagy (1986–1988; 2006; 2007). For a typological analysis of multilingual transmissions of Bible-related narratives in non-European traditional societies (with special emphasis on indigenous mythologies and folklore of Western American Indians, after their conversion to Christianity), see Ramsey (1977). On similar processes characterizing the domestication of Islamic textual traditions among the indigenous Gayo communities in highland Sumatra (Indonesia), see Bowen (1992, 495–516).
See Georgieva (1991); Lozanova (2000; 2002; 2003; 2006); Mikov (2005; 2007); Stoyanov (2001; 2004). See also the discussion in Utley (1968); Schwarzbaum (1982); Calder (1988); Bowen (1992); Dundes (2003).
On the “narrators for the common folk” (quṣṣāṣ al-ʿāmm) as “popular theologians” consult the discussion in the Introduction to the English translation (by W. M. Thackston) of the eleventh century collection of the Tales of the Prophets attributed to Muhammad ibn Abd Allah al-Kisai (Thackston 1997, xvii–xxiv, xxviii). See also Schwarzbaum (1982, 9, 11–12, 62–75).
On Alevi communities and their social organization see Georgieva (1991); Shankland (2003; 2006, 19–26, 67–129, 134–146, 185–206) and Gramatikova (2011). See also Olsson, Özdalga, Raudvere (eds.) (1998) and Dressler (2013). Further on Islamic heterodox traditions see Birge 1937; Melikoff (1992; 1998); Mikov (2005; 2007) and Norris (2006); on Alevi poetry see Dressler (2003).
Excerpts of the Sevar Quran spiritual stanzas are published in the present volume; see Chapter 6. Similar vernacular usage of the term “Quran” among the Kizilbaş communities in the Rhodope mountains, South-Eastern Bulgaria, was noted by Frederick de Jong (1993, 206–208).
According to the Alevi anthropogonic scheme, “the four basic cosmic elements, water [Şeriat], air [Tarikat], fire [Marifet] and earth [Hakikat]” are related “to the four levels of being [ervâh] in Man: mineral [ruh-i cismani], vegetable [ruh-i nebati], animal [ruh-i haywani] and human [ruh-i insani]. When all four ervâh are annihilated and replaced by the ruh-i safi (the pure spirit) the stage of the Perfect Man [insan-ı kâmil] has been reached” (Jong 1989, 9). Further on the “four doors of enlightment” (Şeriat, Tarikat, Marifet and Hakikat) in Alevi tradition, see Shankland (2003, 85–86,187). See also the discussion in Crone (2012, 483–484).
The author’s translation.
See Marinov et al. (1955, 111) and Badalanova Geller (2008, 3).
For a thorough analysis of the semantic coverage of the term Tarikat (frequently used in conjunction with the term Şeriat) among the Alevis see Shankland (2003, 84–89, 99, 112–113, 116–118, 121, 139–140).
In Bulgaria, during the Soviet period, this top-rung position in the local government was usually assigned to a Communist Party member.
Cf. Marinov et al. (1955, 112).
See earlier discussion in Badalanova (2008) and Badalanova Geller (2008). On orality and Biblical textuality see Kelber (1983); Aune (1991); Andersen (1991); Ruger (1991); Elman and Gershoni (2000); Kawashima (2004); Bauckham (2006); Grafton and Williams (2006); Hasan-Rokem (2009, 29–55); Sabar (2009, 135–169) and Yassif (2009, 61–73). On traces of oral traditions in parabiblical writings see Mochul’skiĭ (1894); Flusser (1971) and Adler (1986–1987; 2013). On Biblical folklore see Niditch (1985; 1993; 1996; 2000); see also Kirkpatrick (1988), as well as Brewer (1979) and Rose (1938). Dundes (1999), on the other hand, suggests that Holy Writ is, in fact, oral literature and advocates that the Biblical corpus should be considered “as folklore”; a similar approach is employed by him in the analysis of the Quranic text; see Dundes (2003).
They were performed by a particular social subclass of wandering blind minstrels [калеки перехожие].
The term used in vernacular genre taxonomy to designate this type of religious poem/song is “psalm” [пса́льма]; see Sumtsov (1888, 36); Speranskiĭ (1899, 7–9, note 5) and Fedotov (1991, 36). Significantly, “the Russian Tsar” David Eseevich / Avseevich [Давид Есеевич / Асеевич] (that is, “David, the son of Jesse,” to whom the authorship of the Psalter is traditionally attributed) features in many such chants as the “key-interpreter” of divine wisdom encapsulated in the allegorical language of the texts; see Mochul’skiĭ (1886, (16: 4): 216); Bezsonov (1861, 269–278) (texts № 76, 77). On the other hand, among Slavonic scribes the Psalter was often referred to as “Glubina” [Глубина], that is, “depth”; see Mochul’skiĭ (1887, (17:1): 138–139). Furthermore the same term was likewise employed to label The Discussion Between the Three Saints and The Apocalypse of John apocryphal writings. The use of similar genre taxonomy in relation to the Psalter on the one hand and Slavonic parabiblical literature [апокрифическая Библия] and oral spiritual stanzas [духовные стихи] on the other suggests that the latter were perceived as vernacular counterparts of Scriptures; see Mochul’skiĭ (1887, (17:1): 131–132, 136, 138–139; 1887, (18:3): 90–91). See also the following note.
The formulaic phrase Голубиная книгa may be rendered in some versions of the poem as Глубинная книгa; considering the specific semantic diapason of the Russian form for “depth” [глубь], meaning both “profundity” and “wisdom” (see the discussion above), the connotation of the term Глубинная книгa may be thus construed accordingly as “the Deep / Innate / Profound / Unfathomable / Impenetrable / Incomprehensible / Secret Book”; indeed, the spiritual poems marked by this title contain elaborate cosmogonies and anthropogonies relating profound “holy secrets” of Creation of the Universe and Man. They are written in a mysteriously sealed divine Book which descends from Heaven to Earth. Then again, as pointed out by James Russell, the form “dove” [голубь], “referring presumably to the Holy Spirit, may have been a narratio facilior for an original ‘depth’ [глубь]”; see Russell (2009, 142). Following this line of argument, it may be suggested that the stock phrase Голубиная книгa may also be interpreted as “The Book of the Holy Spirit.” Therefore, in the current text I am tempted to interpret the concept of “deep” (as applied to knowledge) as “spiritual wisdom.” See also the discussion in Rozhdestvenskaya (2000, 394). On the other hand, Istrin had argued that the Slavonic “глубина” was most probably a domesticated version of the Greek term Μαργαρίται, which was conventionally used to designate either the cycle of John Chrysostom’s homiles, Adversus Judaeos (the first translations of which appeared among the Balkan Slavs no later than the fourteenth century), or other related exegetical compilations. Indeed, in Slavonic tradition the term глубина was part of a specific terminological cluster within the corpus, used interchangeably with titles such as Маргарит, Жемчуг, Маргаритъ Златоустовъ, Жемчюгъ Златоустовъ, Жемчюжная Матица, Златая Матица, etc.; see Istrin (1898, 478–489). Further on the content of The Rhyme of the Book of the Dove see Mochul’skiĭ (1886; 1887); Lincoln (1986, 3–12, 21–25, 32, 144–145).
See also in this connection the discussion in Turilov and Chernetsov (2002, 47).
Further on the conceptualization of Russia as a “Holy Land” see Uspenskiĭ (1996, 386–392).
Cf. Fasmer (1986–1987, (2), 374–375) and Uspenskiĭ (1996, 387).
Cf. Gen 1: 26–28.
As in Gen 2:7.
A similar approach to the origin of human speech—from the breath of God blown into the human mouth—is attested in the apocryphal Apocalypse of Enoch (1 Enoch 14: 2–3).
Together with the interpretation of the autonym “Slavs” as the “People of the Word/Logos,” in many Slavonic sources (and especially those composed during the Romanticism) there circulated another ethnocentric etymological construct based on the phonetic similarity between the ethnonym Slověninъ (var. Slavěninъ) / Slověne (var. Slavěne) and the lexeme denoting “glory” (slava). Hence the ethnonym “Slavs” was interpreted as the “Glorious People”; see Ivanov and Toporov (2000, 418). It was employed as a powerful rhetorical device in home-spun publicist writings and political pamphlets concerned with issues related to independence movements, especially among the Balkan Slavs in the period of their National Revival.
See also the discussion in Ivanov and Toporov (2000, 417–418).
See Partridge (1966, 66).
See Radchenko (1910); Ivanov (1925); Obolensky (1948); Turdeanu (1950); Dimitrova-Marinova (1998); Stoyanov (2000); Szwat-Gyłybowa (2010); Tsibranska-Kostova and Raykova (2008) and Bozhilov, Totomanova and Biliarski (2012, 23–49).
See Davidov (1976, 39).
See Kiselkov (1942 ) and Popruzhenko (1936, 1–80).
Gen 2: 18–24.
See SbNU 8 (1892, 180–181), text № 2 (Адам дава име на сички божи творения) and Tsepenkov (2006 (4), 19–20), text № 9. See also Badalanova Geller (2010, 40–42).
Recorded by Dobrovol’skiĭ in the second half of the nineteenth century in the former Smolensk Gubernia of the Russian Empire; see also the next note.
See Dobrovol’skiĭ (1891, 235).
See Dal’ (1880 (1), 513): воскилицание изумленья, а иногда и указания: вот где, погляди-ка: напр. Ева где лежит во.
See Tolstaya (1998, 32).
See Shapkarev (1973, 267) (Пак за кучиньа-та и за Каиньа).
See Badalanova (1994, 18–19) (text № 35).
See the discussion in Finkel (2014).
Coracles were still being used in Iraq until the 1930s.
Related accounts are published by some Russian folklorists; see for instance the legend recorded in the village of Knyazhevo [Княжево] in the Tambov region of the Russian Federation by S. Dubrovina (2002, 3) from the local storyteller Sergey Fedorovich Mazaev [Сергей Федорович Мазаев] (born 1915) and his wife Evdokiya Yakovlevna Mazaeva [Евдокия Яковлевна Мазаева] (born 1916).
The original Bulgarian text was published by the author; see Badalanova (1993, 147).
Gen 22: 1–19.
See Calder (1988); Firestone (1989; 2001); Popova (1995); Badalanova (2001; 2002a; 2002b); Noort and Tigchelaar (2002) and Kessler (2004).
See SbNU 1 (1889: 27), text № 4; SbNU 2 (1890: 22–25), texts № 1, 2, 3, 4; SbNU 3 (1890: 38); SbNU 10 (1894: 11–12), text № 3; SbNU 27 (1913: 302), text № 211. See also Miladinovtsi (1861), text № 29; Bezsonov (1864, 12–31), texts № 531, 532; Zhivkov and Boyadzhieva (1993 (1), 364–373), texts № 484–494; see also Part 2 of the Appendix (p.
See Gen 22: 17.
See Gerov (1897, (2), 433); Andreychin et al. (1963, 355); Marinov (1981, 84, 145, 344–352, 367–368, 605–616, 713, 721–722; 1984, 566–579).
See Gerov (1899, (3), 308); Andreychin et al. (1963, 507) and Marinov (1981, 84, 85, 348–352, 720–723; 1984, 571–579).
See Čajkanović and Đurić (1985, 317–318).
See Gerov (1904, (5), 527–528); Andreychin et al. (1963, 993) and Marinov (1981, 145–147, 344–345, 350–351).
See Marinov (1981, 347–349).
See Gerov (1897, (2), 424).
See Gerov (1899, (3), 78).
See Gerov (1904, (5), 194); Andreychin et al. (1963, 846) and Marinov (1981, 344–345, 713–720; 1984, 85–86, 553–565).
See Gerov (1899, (3), 15).
See Georgiev et al. (1971, 3–4).
See Bonchev (2002, (1), 22) and Fasmer (1986–1987, (1), 61).
Cf. Badalanova Geller (2008, 30–78).
See in this connection the discussion in Delaney (1991, 298–303).
The fragment quoted above follows the English translation of the original, as presented in the third part of the Appendix in Manns (1995, 200–201).
Translation by M. Mahler; see Manns (1995, 186).
The above fragment is quoted after McNamara’s translation of the original Aramaic text into English, as published in the first chapter of the Appendix in Manns (1995, 188).
See Dal’ (1880–1882, (1), 5).
See Dal’ (1880–1882, (1), 5) and Hrinchenko (1927, 4).
See Dal’ (1880–1882, (1), 5); Ryan (1999, 176, 271); Ippolitova (2002b, 425–426; 2002a, 446) and Chasovnikova (2003).
See Zabylin (1880, 241).
See http://fictionbook.ru/author/andreyi_romanovskiyi/magicheskie_svoyistva_trav_unikalnyie_ri/read_online.html, accessed April 7, 2017.
http://lechattravy.ru/lekarstvennye-travy/lechattravy-ru-adamov-koren-tamus-50g-458, accessed April 7, 2017.
See Hrinchenko (1927, 4).
See Georgiev et al. (1971, 60–61); Gerov (1895, (1), 54); Dal’ (1880 (1), 105); Čajkanović and Đurić (1985, 35–36, 259) and Ippolitova (2002b, 428; 2002a, 448).
See Sumtsov (1888, 151, 158–159); Gerov (1895, (1), 54); Marinov (1981, 618); Dal’ (1880 (1), 105) and Čajkanović and Đurić (1985, 301).
See Čajkanović and Đurić (1985, 104–105).
See Ippolitova (2002a, 443) and Čajkanović and Đurić (1985, 191).
Recorded in the Novgorod Gubernia of the Russian Empire in the second half of the nineteenth century by N. Chernyshev and published by L. N. Maykov in his famous collection of Russian spells (Maykov 1869, 13–14) (see text № 1 in Part 1 of the Appendix, p.
Cf. Faraone (1999, 168) on Greek magic spells which cause a woman to lose her sense of shame.
For similar oral love-inducing spells (заговоры приворотные, присушки и любжи) see Maykov (1869, 7–24) (texts № 1–33). See also the discussion in Toporkov (2005, 28–45, 110–141, 153–182).
Consult the monographs of A. Yudin (1997), V. Klyaus (1997) and others.
See Yudin (1997, 69–70).
Adam’s name is habitually mentioned in a similar context in other healing incantations against hernia and toothache.
See Maykov (1869, 54) (text № 123).
Due to the folk etymology of Noah’s name, which is considered to be related to the verb “ныть,” which in Russian means “to ache”; see Yudin (1997, 71).
See Yudin (1997, 68–69).
See Yudin (1997, 71).
See Yudin (1997, 68).
See Yudin (1997, 72).
See Yudin (1997, 220–221) and Klyaus (1997, 133).
For Bulgarian tradition see SbNU 11 (1894: 83) (text № 3); for Ukrainian tradition see Bushkevich (2002, 11–12); for Polish tradition see Bartmiński and Niebrzegowska (1996, 162, 166).
See Maykov (1869, 38) (text № 79).
See Maykov (1869, 103) (text № 253) and Yudin (1997, 69).
See Maykov (1869, 82) (text № 209) and Yudin (1997, 72–73).
See Yudin (1997, 137–138).
As shown by M. Gaster (1900), J. Spier (1993) and others, similar attestations of this type of incantation can be found in Jewish magic texts, as well as in Aramaic magic bowls. See also the discussion in Detelić (2001) and Badalanova Geller (2015).
See Yudin (1997, 137–138).
See Ryan (2006).
See Yudin (1997, 140).
See Yudin (1997, 138).
See Veselovskiĭ (1886) and Smilyanskaya (2002, 154–155) (texts № 1748–7, 1748–8).
See Gippius (2005).
See Yudin (1997, 138–139).
See Yudin (1997, 72–73).
Cf. 3 Kings 22: 34-36: But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor. The king told his chariot driver, “Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I’ve been wounded.” All day long the battle raged, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran onto the floor of the chariot, and that evening he died. As the sun was setting, a cry spread through the army: “Every man to his town. Every man to his land!”
See Yudin (1997, 71).
On Solomon’s wondrous exploits and his image as magus, conjurer and esoteric king see Torijano (2002).
See Tikhonravov (1863 (1), 254–258).
Significantly, the folk image of the Prophet Elijah as “the master of celestial fire” is further enhanced by numerous vernacular renditions of the canonical narrative maintaining that he was taken up in a whirlwind to heaven, in a fiery chariot to which horses of flames are harnessed (4 Kings 2: 11). The motif is also attested in iconography.
In Slavonic apocryphal writings and oral tradition (legends, incantations and spells) David also comes to be regarded as an exorcist, perhaps because of his ability to expel evil spirits by his music (cf. 1 Samuel 16: 14–23); see also Speranskiĭ (1899, 13).
See Yudin (1997, 137).
Cf. 2 Samuel 11.
See Maykov (1869, 106–107) (text № 265) and Yudin (1997, 138).
For similar patterns in other traditions see Meyer and Smith (1999, 45–46) (text № 21).
See Maykov (1869, 149–150) (text № 342).
See his seminal article “History of Russian Law as a linguistic and semiotic problem” (Zhivov 1988).
A similar typology of “magistrate” demons (gallû) are known from Mesopotamia; see Geller (2011).
See Zhivov (1988, 116, note 83).
See Yatsimirskiĭ (1913, 76–92).
As cited in Gen 12:10–20.
Cf. Exodus 19: 19; Psalm 104: 7; Job 36: 32; 37: 2, etc.
Parallel traditions exist, according to which thunder is produced by the wheels of the chariot of the Prophet Elijah rolling in the heavenly firmament, whilst lightning originates from his whip. These will be analyzed elsewhere.
See Pypin (1862, 169).
I am indebted to Boris Uspenskiĭ for this idea; on the aesthetics of the low bass (basso profondo) voice in Russian musical culture see Uspenskiĭ (2001, 292–293). It should be pointed out in this connection that in classical Russian opera, the role of the male protagonist is usually designated by the lowest vocal range within the modal register (bass), and that of the male antagonist—by the highest male voice within the modal register (tenor). This type of voice designation is totally opposite to Western opera, where the roles of the protagonists tend to be played by tenor singers whilst those of the antagonists by bass singers.
Cf. Dialogues of Saint Gregory, Book 11, Epistle 13.
Lit. golden-mortar one; most probably, the Russian noun стопа (= “foot”) is misspelled and rendered as ступа (= “mortar”), due to the phonetic resemblance of the latter with the verb ступать / ступить (= “to step”), derived from Church Slavonic стѫпити. The latter is also related to Greek forms στέμβω (“step on,” “walk over”) and ἀστεμφής (“invincible”).
Recorded in the Novgorod Gubernia of the Russian Empire by N. Chernyshev and published by L. N. Maykov (1869, 13–14) (text № 11).
Saint Antipas of Pergamum / Pergamon was martyred during the reign of Domitian (in c. CE 92). As pointed out by Hastings (1898, 107), “according to one form of his Acts (quoted by the Bollandists from a Synoxarion), he prayed that those suffering from toothache might be relieved at his tomb.” Saint Antipas is commemorated April 11th.
Saints Cosmas and Damian were twin brothers and physicians, who did not accept payment for their services. In the Orthodox tradition there are three different sets of saints by the same names: Cosmas and Damian of Cilicia, Arabia (feast day October 17); Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor (feast day November 1); Cosmas and Damian of Rome (feast day July 1). They are conventionally depicted holding medicinal boxes and cross-shaped spoons for dispensing remedies.
Recorded in the Olonetsk Gubernia of the Russian Empire by E. Barsov and published by L. N. Maykov (1869, 54) (text № 123).
That is, Cain. The name of the firstborn of Adam and Eve is transformed into the fictitious anthroponym Kavel’ [Кавель] which is phonetically linked to the name of the name of the second son Abel (pronounced in Russian as Avel’ [Авель]).
That is, Abel; see the previous note.
Recorded in the Arkhangel’sk Gubernia of the Russian Empire by P. Efimenko and published by L. N. Maykov (1869, 38) (text № 79).
Used in the incipit of this spell is the Trinitarian formula (referring to the three persons of the Christian Trinity); cf. Matthew 28:19 (“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”).
Simon the Zealot (Zelotes) was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus; cf. Luke 6:15, Acts 1: 13.
Recorded in Voronezh County of the Russian Empire by M. Popov; published by L. N. Maykov (1869, 103), (text № 253).
Recorded in Simbirsk County of the Russian Empire and published by L. N. Maykov (1869, 106–107) (text № 265).
Recorded in Simbirsk County of the Russian Empire by V. Yurlov and published by L. N. Maykov (1869, 149–150) (text № 342).
The text was recorded by the author in July 1977 in the village of Glavan, Stara Zagora region (Bulgaria). The account was given by Stana Bozhkova Vlaeva, a peasant farmer with no formal education who was born in 1915 in the same village.
Table of Contents
Markham J. Geller, Jens Braarvig
Markham J. Geller, Jens Braarvig
Part I: General Reflections
2 Dependent Languages
Part II: Europe
4 Konrad of Megenberg: German Terminologies and Expressions as Created on Latin Models
5 What Language Does God Speak?
Florentina Badalanova Geller
6 Islamic Mystical Poetry and Alevi Rhapsodes From the Village of Sevar, Bulgaria
Florentina Badalanova Geller
Part III: Ancient Near East
8 Sumerian in the Middle Assyrian Period
9 The Concept of the Semitic Root in Akkadian Lexicography
Markham J. Geller
10 Multilingualism in the Elamite Kingdoms and the Achaemenid Empire
12 Some Observations on Multilingualism in Graeco-Roman Egypt
Alexandra von Lieven
Part IV: India and Central Asia
14 Aspects of Multilingualism in Turfan as Seen in Manichaean Texts
Part V: China
15 Multilingualism and Lingua Franca in the Ancient Chinese World
William G. Boltz
Part VI: The Americas
18 Multilingualism and Lingua Francae of Indigenous Civilizations of America
Lars Kirkhusmo Pharo
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