THE ORIGIN OF 'THE OTHERS' IN THE LIGHT OF FOLK ETIOLOGY
In traditional folk cultures the attitude to peoples of another faith is shaped within the frames of ideas based on the universal opposition of 'us-them/the others' and evoking the features of 'pure-impure', 'sacred-sinful', 'sacral-secular' etc. An important role in confessional descriptions of 'the others' is played in folk culture by apocryphal motifs connected with the vernacular literary tradition. Such legends reflected religious polemics and tensions in the relationships between various confessions. One of such motifs is an account of the relatedness of people of other confessions (Jews, Muslims) with impure animals (the pig). The motif, in different versions, can be found in all Slavonic cultures. The following versions are analyzed in the article: a transformation of a Jewish woman into a pig as a consequence of the Jews' rejection of the teaching of Christ; the origin of Turks from the pig and the dog; the act of digging out from the ground, by a pig, of representatives of certain nationalities or confessions; the act of hiding a saint in the ground by a pig. These folk motifs are mixtures, full of inconsistencies, of ideas concerning various confessions. They can be easily classified as belonging to the archaic genre of the etiological legend. Such ideas probably have a soothing effect in conflicts arising in traditional communities.
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