Problems of Lexical Semantics (On Material from the Works of Patriarch Euthymius)

Summary: 

The present study is based on the thesis that the language of mediaeval texts is much more allegorical and symbolic rather than metaphorical. The thesis is derived from the idea of the mythological orientation of mediaeval culture and requires in practice a refusal to separate metaphorical meanings and figurative uses of one or another word in mediaeval texts, because metaphoricity is not inherent in them, and the mediaeval notion of figurativeness differs from the modern notion of figurativeness. The thesis is illustrated with examples from the works of Patriarch Euthymius in comparison with examples from dictionaries of the Old Bulgarian language, in which in one form or another the idea of metaphoricity and figurativeness in mediaeval texts is present.
            The meaning of mediaeval texts, which are a mythological description, is revealed by recognizing the transformations of the object in the text; the mythological description refers to the metatext – in this case to the Bible and its interpretation by the Church Fathers. For that reason, when describing the lexical material of such texts, we should beware of modernising the interpretation, which would lead to a distortion of meaning. Lexicographical notes such as metaphoric and figurative do not help us to reveal the meaning of the mediaeval text, but lead us away from it.

Rostislav Stankov (Sofia, Bulgaria)
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