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Tselkovskii Gennadii

The Linguistic Roots of Religious Studies


Tselkovskii Gennadii (2014) "The Linguistic Roots of Religious Studies ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia, 2014, vol. 54, pp. 97-108 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201454.97-108

Abstract

The author discusses how linguistics influenced the formation of the methodology and the theory of religious studies. Changes in religious paradigms were connected with the following new theories in linguistics: comparative methodology, structuralism, and cognitive linguistics. It was these three branches of linguistic studies which were most influential for the formation and later development of religious studies. The author asks precisely why it was that linguistics constituted the source of global changes in the methodology of religious studies. According to the author, this fundamental role was played by the understanding of language and its rapport with religion. By examining both language and religion together, one may study religious phenomena through the prism of linguistic phenomena. Models for combining religion and language include the following: 1) religion as a linguistic phenomenon; 2) religion as the product of linguistic processes; 3) religion and language are homologous phenomena; 4) religion is formed by means of linguistic instruments. All this allows us to understand the history of religious studies in rapport with the development of linguistics. The author demonstrates that the problem of the rapport linking language and thought helped constitute the tie between linguistics and religious studies. It unifies in itself all the various linguistic theories of religion: nature-mythological, structuralist, and cognitive. The author then discusses the various attainments of each of these theories. Comparative-historical linguistics begets the comparative and nature-mythological theory in religious studies. Structural linguistics and semiotics explains the symbolic nature of religion and its communicative character. The appearance of extra-linguistic science will allow religious studies to defi ne new subjects of study, such as the link uniting religion language and the religious group (ethno-linguistics and socio-linguistics) or to reveal the variables of religious experience (psycho-linguistics).

Keywords

linguistics, comparative methodology, M. Müller, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Vyacheslav Ivanov, stucturalism, semiotics, cognitive studies, mythology

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Tselkovskii Gennadii