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Tropes in Orthodox Liturgical Poetics and Their Perception by the Russian Ear

Olga Meerson. "Tropes in Orthodox Liturgical Poetics and Their Perception by the Russian Ear." AESTHETICS AS A RELIGIOUS FACTOR IN EASTERN AND WESTERN CHRISTIANITY. Ed. William van den Bercken, Jonathan Sutton. Utrecht, Holland: Leuven ; Paris ; Dudley, Mass. : Peeters, 2005.

Russian speakers perceive Church Slavonic not as an autonomous language but rather, as a stylistic layer of Russian. The paper investigates the outcome of this psychological phenomenon for the de-sensitization of the Russian ear to the generic and stylistic variance within the corpus of LITURGICAL texts written and used in Russia but allegedly in the Church Slavonic that does not depend on the Russian prism applied to it. Russian speakers often fail to perceive any difference between authoritatively dogmatic and metaphorically saturated texts in the liturgical corpus. The result is two-fold -- a shift from the conscious awareness of what the texts say to a form of mechanistic ritualism, and, on the other hand, the church-person's inability to lay out what he or she believes in rational, NON-metaphoric terms. Poetic tropes and articles of faith may then switch places or become incompatible in believers' minds.

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