Why Is The Term Folk Religion Unrecognized In Russia?


  • Anton Salmin


folk religion, anthropology, religion, ethnology, folklore, paganism


Both folk and world religions always focus on Homo religiosus. As long as a person takes part in ritual ceremonies, such a person is certainly religious. Thus, the rite precedes the concept of “belief”. However, the concept of belief came forward in religious acts during the development of the Reformation. For example, in Japan, the folk religion was denoted by the term minkan shinkō “folk beliefs”. Therefore we can state that, in ancient times, folk religion brought people and communities together much better than the world religions separated from each other. Moreover, ancient religions played a consolidating role to a larger extent than ethnic languages. The reason is the syncretism of folk religion. The need for this publication is dictated by irreparable problems arising in Russian Ethnography. The author believes that no further progress in ethnology (socio-cultural anthropology) is possible unless the problem mentioned in the headline is removed from the agenda. Without bringing light to the problem or finding an appropriate solution, we will come to a standstill or pretend that the problem does not exist at all. The author of these lines does not incline to obtrude his own opinion. The goal of the publication is to provide a critical analysis of existing and a priori established opinions. Let us observe the bunch of views presented in Western sources (in which the problem seems to be much less severe, at least – much less vague), and then compare with the ones existing in Russia.

Author Biography

Anton Salmin

Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.






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