The change of meanings of Christian terms over time and their interpretation in the popular religion of the Georgians




The paper examines a set of religious terms attested in the popular religion of the Georgians, the meanings of which had grown obscure and incomprehensible in the course of time, which, in turn, caused different opinions and formed stereotypes among scientists.

According to the first stereotype, pagan images and personages were developed and converted into the Christian ones in accordance with the Christian ideology; the second stereotype, on the contrary, argued that Christian symbols were filled with pagan content and had been modeled according to the pagan patterns; the mentioned processes, according to some arguments, formed space for the coexistence of two religious systems and the relationship between these systems were compared with the relationship of be-lingual systems in multi-cultural settings.

Applying ethnographic method, the paper tries: a). to identify the terms under scrutiny with their initial forms and meanings in the appropriate religious system; b). to reveal the changes when their names are twisted out of their true meaning; c). to show how one and the same unintelligible term could be perceived in different situations and what kind of connotations could be added to it; d). how a new construct is modeled, which neither with its form nor with its meaning is pagan or Christian in the strict sense of the words.