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Functions of Bible Motifs in the XX-th Century World Literature's Art Constants System

Author: Igor Alenin
Degree:doctor of philology
Speciality: 10.01.06 - World and Comparative Literature
Scientific adviser: Rita (decedat) Kleiman
doctor habilitat, associate professor (docent), Institute of Cultural Heritage of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova
Institution: Institute of Interethnical Researches of the ASM
Scientific council:


The thesis was presented on the 4 April, 2007
Approved by NCAA on the 14 June, 2007


Adobe PDF document0.31 Mb / in romanian
Adobe PDF document0.34 Mb / in russian


CZU 8(100) (09) «19»

Adobe PDF document 1.16 Mb / in russian
178 pages


motif, myth, image, allusion, reminiscence, symbol (символ), archetype, ritualem, chronotopos, constant, metatext


This thesis analyzes motifs in different literary contexts of the XX century, defines separate archetypes and world civilization mythologems and, by doing so, studies the role of the Bible as metatext for world historical/cultural literature.

Ideas of dialogue between cultures, religious traditions, civilizations, key concepts of which we find in the works of M. Buber and M. Bakhtin play a principal role for the general methodology of this work as well as the fundamental works of M. Eliade on the theory of myth, which help to understand a worldview of religious people, religious experience formation, and the influence of this experience on the worldview of a non-religious person. In this light one of the most important Eliade's thoughts in the context of the thesis is that a non-religious person is not free from a religious heritage and the conscience of his ancestors.

The analysis that has been undertaken brings this research into the habitual boundaries of eurocentrism and in practice widens the term “world literature” closer to its theoretical scope.

The research is based on a broad selection of literary material. It includes the works of writers and poets who belonged to German, British, Russian, American, Jewish ethnic traditions and to different religions (Christianity in its Catholic, Puritan and Orthodox traditions, along with Judaism). The genres include novel, short story, epic poetry, lyric poetry, and prose, and represent different literary movements, from Modernism at the beginning of the XX century to postmodernism at its end.

All these writers, despite differences in nationality, religion, genres, use the Bible as a metatext, or as a common ground. Selection of the writers at first glance may seem arbitrary, but in fact the selection is done in order to contribute to an unprejudiced, representational exposure of the creative realization of Biblical motifs.

Numerous intertextual dialogues, recurring motifs, allusions, reminiscences and basic mythologems found in the works of various artists assert that the Bible constitutes a single metatext of XX century world literature and serves a common cultural language. The systematic analysis, undertaken in the dissertation, points to a number of conclusions of a hermeneutical, theoretical, methodical, historical literary nature; rooting the discussion of the Bible in the context of world archetypes and mythologems