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Keywords: trees, apocrypha, etiological legends, symbolism, ethnobotany, Slavs.
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Agapkina T.A. The Flight to Egypt in Slavic Etiological Legends about the Trees. Studia Litterarum, 2018, vol. 3, no 1, pp. 302–317. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-1-302-317

Author: Tatyana A. Agapkina
Information about the author:

Tatyana A. Agapkina, DSc in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Leninsky Ave., 32 a, 119991 Moscow, Russia.

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Received: September 15, 2017
Published: March 25, 2018
Issue: 2018 Vol. 3, №1
Department: Folklore Studies
Pages: 302-317
DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-1-302-317
UDK: 398
BBK: 82.3

Abstract

The paper examines Slavic etiological legends on the Flight to Egypt plot. These legends feature trees and bushes growing on the way of Maria’s and Joseph’s flight to Egypt. Some of these plants helped Christ and his parents escape while others betrayed them to the Herod’s army. Virgin Mary endowed the plants with “positive” or “negative” qualities respectively, as either a reward or a sign of damnation. The author analyzes folk legends that were familiar to Eastern, Western, and Southern Slavs; points out which plants were mentioned in the legends and describes the circle of plant symbols; enlists themes, types and motifs of these legends and compares them to other apocryphal legends that had the same source, namely the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew. The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew seemed to be influential mainly in Western Slavia where the main core of etiological legends was recorded.

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