William Whiston (1667-1752) was an English divine, mathematician and astronomer. His works nicely reveal the close relationship between science and religion in the early modern period. The paper aims to characterize Whiston's way of thinking in the light of his Astronomical Principles of Religion, Natural and Reveal'd (1717). In the 17th and early 18th century cosmologies, the location of Hell in the universe was a major issue. This horrible place of punishment could be located beneath the earth or on the sun. Whiston's view on this issue relies on the juxtaposition of biblical descriptions of Hell and scientific evidence regarding comets.
Research for this paper was supported by Estonian Science
Foundation grant no. 6099.
According to basic religious-phenomenological principles a supreme being resides in heaven or is the heaven, an omnipotent creator, who is often assigned the function of thunder, is called either Father or Grandfather, is sacrificed the primal offering, and has turned into deus otiosus.
Comparative linguistics has revealed that the earliest conception of
a Balto-Finnic and Estonian supreme god dates back to the
Finno-Volgaic etymological stratum, to the Neolithic period (3rd millennium BC),
in archaeological terms. This is evidenced by the Estonian word
juma(l) [face?/god], which had formerly signified heaven, but also the
Indo-European loan taevas [heaven] in the Estonian language. The divergence of the
conception of thunder god Uku or Ukko apparently took place in the 1st
millennium BC; this is also indicated by archaeological data. According to
the 13th-century Henrici Chronicon Livoniae and other chronicles the
thunder god of the coastal Estonians has also been called Taara or Tooru,
which may be a derivation of the Old Scandinavian Thor.
The paper analyses the development of knowledge in children and the problems children face in the process of constructing this knowledge. The results of the empirical studies, carried out on Estonian preschool and school children are described and the reasons for difficulties analysed.
Knowledge about the world is mediated by senses and by various mental and material tools. Infants rely on perceptual information, but, additionally, certain perceptual and conceptual structures (beliefs) help them to interpret and integrate pieces of this information. When children grow older, their learning about the world will be increasingly based on language. Children synthesise information from different sources and form their own interpretations and models. Vosniadou and her colleagues have studied astronomical concepts among children of different age and cultures using interviews and drawings. They have shown that children first construct initial models (e.g. flat disc or quadrangle model of the earth) and afterwards synthetic models (dual, flattened and hollow earth models). Similar models have been found while studying Estonian children (e.g. in their drawings).
However, in studies carried out in Estonia, these integrated models were found in the minority of children. The articles present examples which illustrate children's difficulties in understanding the earth as a planet.
It is even more difficult for children and adults to understand the reasons for seasonal changes. Several factors influence the changes of temperature: these are taught at school as separate subjects; also, diagrams, which interpretation is not taught to students, also inhibit understanding.
A wide-spread explanation behind seasonal changes is `the
distance theory', which states that the temperature in summer and winter
differs because the distance between the earth and the sun is different
during these seasons. The schoolchildren's difficulties in explaining the
reasons for seasonal changes are illustrated with examples from interviews
Archeoastronomical field work and research conincided in the
1960s-1990s with the national awakening movement and helped construct a
satisfactory history and national identity within the Soviet system.
Myths, folklore and mythological motifs were related by people to ancient
sky picture and time reconing, the calendar, timekeeping system; holy
sites, rock paintings were studied, the symbols and markings were
decoded. Art and documentaries on the topic became very powerful media
influencing mentality and culture also outside Estonia. Central to the
movement were charismatic persons. Research interdisciplinary in its
nature was conducted outside of institutions, allowing for liberal choice of
topics, interpretations and methods.
The aim of this artice is to observe the evolution of descriptions of
the starry sky. The star chart is viewed as a mental composition, a
collection of symbols that allows us to orient in the starry sky by following a
complete narrative storyline. Different possibilities for the emergence of such
stories and the astral mythological nature of these stories are discussed.
The nature and refinement of different layers of folk astronomical
constellations is studied in depth. The article will be published in English in
issue 31 of "Folklore. An Electronic Journal of Folklore."
The mythological motif of the Cosmic Hunt (F59.2) is characteristic of northern and central Eurasia and the Americas but seems to be missing in other parts of the globe.
Two distinct Eurasian versions demonstrate North-American parallels at the level of minor details which could be explained only by particular historic links between the corresponding traditions. According to the first variant, three stars of the handle of the Big Dipper are hunters and the dipper itself is an animal (elk in Siberia, bear in North America), while Alcor (a weak star near Mizar, which is the second star of the handle), occupies a special place in this picture. Its association with a dog (Orochon Evenk, Udeghe, Oroch, Lillooet, Coastal Salish, Wasco, Mohawks, Delaware, Fox) and especially with a cooking pot (Khakas, Khanty, Selkup, Ket, the northern and western groups of Evenk, Seneca, Cherokee) carried by the second hunter is highly specific and could not emerge independently in Asia and in the New World. According to the second variant of the Cosmic Hunt motif, the stars of the Orion's Belt represent three (sometimes one) deer, antelopes, mountain sheep or buffaloes.
The hunter is Rigel or some other star or constellation below the Orion's Belt. Hunter's arrow has pierced the game and is seen either as the red star Betelgeuze (in Asia) or as the stars of Orion's Head (in America). Both in Asia (Hinduism, Tibetans, Kalmyk, Kazakh, Kirgiz, Tuva, Teleut, Altai, Telengit, Khakas, Tofa, Buryat, Mongol) and in North America (Gros Ventre, Cahuilla, Paviotso, Chemehuevi, Ute, Yavapai, Mohave, Maricopa, Kiliwa, Seri, Western Apache, Mescalero, Lipan), the second version of the Cosmic Hunt is localised further away from the Bering Strait than the first variant. It is an argument in favour of its slightly later introduction into the New World. Both episodes, however, probably date to the first settling of the New World; their absence in the circum-Beringian region excludes the possibility of their late spread.
Unlike both these versions, the circum-Arctic one(s) (hunter or
game are associated with Orion or the Pleiades) are represented by
neighbouring traditions which form almost a continuous chain from the Lapps to
the Polar Inuit. This version is not recorded among the Yupik Eskimo
and could have been brought across the American Arctic with the spread
of Tule Eskimo after 1000 AD.
The article explores the relationship between oral narrative heritage and specific material monuments on the example of two actual objects situated near the Kolyvan settlement in Western Altai. The State Hermitage Museum's archaeological fieldwork in the Sayan-Altaic region was conducted in 1993 and 1996 on Mt. Ocharovatelnaya and Mt. Sinyukha.
There is a rock precipice of zoomorphic shape on
Mt. Ocharovatelnaya that has been used as a sanctuary, but possibly also for astronomic
observation by prehistoric people. In one observation site, the sun can be
observed as setting in the mouth of an animal-shaped rock during
vernal equinox - the animal as if swallows the sun. A Christian sanctuary
was later erected on Mt. Sinyukha, and a wooden cross stood there even in
the early 20th century. On the foot of the mountain there was an
Old-Believers' nunnery. Mt. Ocharovatelnaya rises 670 m and Sinyaya Sopka, the
highest peak of the Kolyvan ridge south of Mt. Ocharovatelnaya, 1,210 m
above the sea level. It is a rule rather than a coincidence that the
zoomorphic pagan sanctuary on Mt. Ocharovatelnaya in the north is located twice
as low compared to the Christian cross on the Sinyaya mountaintop in
the south. In the Christian tradition the warmer South is more revered
than the cold North. In several ancient Russian geographic maps, south
was situated above and north below. The position of cultic objects on
mountaintops situated opposite of each other appears to symbolise the
triumph of Christianity over paganism in the 18th century.
The article explores the laws in the seeming movement of the moon and which aspects of this need special consideration while interpreting ethnoastronomy. The examples used refer to the Estonian geographical latitude 58-60 degrees north.
The classical worldview originates mainly from the area of 40 degrees latitude. If we consider the three main economic regions of the world - Europe, the USA and Japan-China - all these remain roughly on the latitude of the Mediterranean region. Since most science and pedagogical theories originate in these regions, the one-sidedness of textbooks is quite understandable. There are no long-term changes in the movement of the moon. The precession of the orbit (the node shift) and the repetition of eclipses (the Saros) fall into a cycle of less than 20 years. Secular changes (such as the precession of the axis of the earth) do not influence the seeming movement of the moon.
On greater latitudes (55 to 70 degrees) the moon's axis is usually
perpendicular to the horizon. Thus, the full moon is always seen in the
same position and figures seen on its surface should be stabile. The
uniqueness of northern folklore, its astronomical aspects included, has enchanted
researchers for more than a century.
The article provides a short overview of the central Chukchi myths,
concepts and beliefs concerning celestial bodies at the end of the
19th and beginning of the
20th century. The Chukchi starry sky is related to
their main means of making a living, breeding wild reindeer. Chukchi are
one of the few Siberian peoples that have maintained their own
religion. Peoples of the far north, among them the Chukchi, personified the
Sun, Moon and starts. Reindeer breeders today still make sacrifices
considering the help or influence of a constellation or planet, e.g. sacrifying at
full moon. The Chukchi believe the most important character in the sky
is the Sun. They describe it as a separate being
(vargn). In addition, the special (upper/higher) beings include Creator, Dawn, Zenith, Midday
and Northern Star. In Chukchi mythology, the Moon is a
human-creature. He is the ketlja `bad spirit' of the Sun. Several Chukchi star myths
(e.g. concerning the Northern Star and the Orion) are very similar to those
of other nations.
Long-distance drivers are a special kind of people. There are not
many who find this kind of job acceptable or even agreeable. Still, thousands
of road trains are daily racing along the roads, taking goods to the
destination. A cursory glance at the work of truck drivers may suggest
that their life is romantic and adventurous: they load on the cargo, enter
the destination address in the computer and race to the destination,
harassing smaller vehicles on the way. A better insight into the life on the road
and the minds of truck drivers can be obtained from the truck drivers'
log books. Two cargo travels on the highways of Europe (one from
Sweden to France, and the other to Spain) offer an altogether different
travel experience than can be obtained on a guided tourist trip.
Yuri Berezkin, who is married with an Estonian woman and speaks
Estonian freely, is the head of the American Department of the
St. Petersburg Ethnographical Museum. He has conducted considerable fieldwork in
Turkmen, and when travelling there became too complicated he turned
to folklore studies and has been actively involved in compiling a
digital database of myth motifs for years. The database contains only motifs
of particularly wide spread. Interviewed by Ave Tupits.
Pille Kippar, born in the family of schoolteachers, has throughout her
academic career been involved with studying and systematising animal
folk tales and has compiled the type register of Estonian animal folk
tales. She has not restricted herself to these activities only: for years she
has lectured at the Tallinn University (formerly Tallinn Pedagogical
University) and is currently professor emeritus at this university, she has also
actively promoted folklore and has been a keen choir singer, collector and
transmitter of oral family history. Pille Kippar was interviewed by Karin Maria
At the beginning of September, 2005 Anu Vissel, PhD in philology,
an outstanding scholar of folk music and dance and children's lore,
publisher and collector of folklore, and the winner of the Folklore Prize of the
Estonian National Section of CIOFF, the Kristjan Torop Prize of the
Foundation of Ethnic Culture and the Annual Folklore Prize of the Estonian Cultural
Endowment tragically died in a traffic accident. Her four-volume
anthology of Estonian herding songs (Eesti
karjaselaulud [Estonian Herding Songs], 1-4, published in 1982-1992) and her PhD thesis on
children's lore Lastepärimus muutuvas
ajas [Children's Heritage in Changing Times] (2004), as well as material, video and sound recordings in
the Estonian Folklore Archives and her major contribution to collecting
the folklore of Estonian children are monumental in Estonian folklore studies.
On September 24, 2005 Lilia Briedis, a long-term member of the Department of Folkloristics at the Estonian Literary Museum and the Folklore Section of the Institute of Language and Literature celebrated her 80th birthday. Overview of her professional career by Rein Saukas.
On September 30, 2005 folklorist Ellen Liiv, a member of the Estonian Literary Museum of many years (academic secretary in 1968/69-1977, substitute treasurer for a short period in 1969, and the head of the Department of Folklore (now Estonian Folklore Archives) in 1977-1988) celebrated her 75th birthday. She has recorded about 3,200 pages of folklore material and her research entailed the study and popularisation of ogre and hero legends, and took active part in the board of the Folklore Section of the Estonian Language Society (predecessor of the Academic Folklore Society). Overview by the life and work of Ellen Liiv by Rein Saukas.
On October 24, 2005 Pille Kippar, PhD in philology, a long-term scholar of the Estonian Institute of Language and Literature, professor emeritus at the Tallinn University and expert in Estonian animal folk tales turned 70. Overview of her activities by Rein Saukas.
Folklorist Liina Saarlo's PhD thesis entitled Eesti rahvalaulude stereotüüpiast: Teooria, meetod ja tähendus [The Stereotypy of Estonian Runo Songs: Theory, Method and Meaning], defended in 2005 at the University of Tartu, is introduced by Kristi Salve.
Overview of Finnish folklorist Pauliina Latvala's PhD thesis Katse menneisyyteen: Folkloristinen tutkimus suvun muistitiedosta [A Glimpse into the Past. A Folkloristic Investigation into Oral History of the Family] defended on June 10, 2005 at the University of Helsinki by Tiiu Jaago.
in Estonian Kalevala-Metric Songs
Introduction of ethnomusicologist Taive Särg's PhD thesis Eesti keele prosoodia ning teksti ja viisi seosed regilaulus [Estonian Prosody and Words/Music Relationships in Estonian Old Folk Songs] defended in June 2005 at the University of Tartu by Žanna Pärtlas.
Analysis of the head of the Estonian Open Air Museum Merike Lang's MA thesis on museological communication and the role and responsibilities of open air museums in modern society Museoloogiline kommunikatsioon. Vabaõhumuuseumi koht ja ülesanded kaasaegses ühiskonnas [Museological Communication. The Role and Tasks of the Open Air Museum in Contemporary Society], defended at the Department of Culture of the Tallinn University by Aivar Jürgenson.
Overview of folklorist Piret Voolaid's MA thesis on Estonian riddle periphery and digital online databases Eesti mõistatuste perifeerne aines: Elektroonilised andmebaasid internetis [The Periphery of Estonian Riddles: Digital Online Databases], defended in June 2005 at the University of Tartu by Tiiu Jaago.
The workshop of online databases exploring the issues of studying and collecting Internet folklore played an important role at the 14th Congress of the International Society for Folk Narrative Research Folk Narrative Theories and Contemporary Practices held on July 26-31, 2005 in Tartu. Overview of the topics discussed by Mare Kõiva.
Focused on Key Words
At the time of the 14th Congress of the ISFNR in July 27-28, 2005, the international Bibliography Workshop was held in the archive library of the Estonian Literary Museum in Tartu. An overview of issues posed at the workshop, and particularly those exploring the compilation of key words by Karin Maria Rooleid.
Overview of the 10th Congress of Finno-Ugric Studies, held in August 15-20, 2005 in the Mari Republic by Kristi Salve.
Overview of the land art festival Kahe vee vahe 2005: Ajutised aiad [Between Water and Water: Temporary Gardens], held in Tartu on the area between the Emajõgi river and Anne Kanal on July 29-31, 2005 by Evelin Jõesalu.