Дихотомия господь / господинъ и кирилломефодиевская лингво-теологическая инновация

Translated title of the contribution: “The Dichotomy of господь / господинъ and Cyrillo-Methodian Linguo- Theological Innovation”

Alexander Kulik*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article investigates early Slavic exegesis and its influence on Slavic languages (and, more broadly, models for transferring Judeo-Christian thought onto the Slavic soil). The investigation is based on an example of a unique phenomenon related to the sacro-secular homonymy in the terminology defining the God of monotheistic religions. Out of all the languages of Christian civilization, only the languages belonging to Slavia Orthodoxa depart from this general pattern. The development of a dichotomy between the forms gospod' ("lord") and gospodin" ("master") is connected with a particular translational exegesis unknown in other early ecclesiastical traditions. This therefore stands as a unique and, at any rate, independent Slavic innovation in the interpretation of the biblical text. This new Slavic dichotomy compensated for the ambiguous polysemy of the underlying Greek term, κυριος (kyrios), and restored a semantic distinction present in the original Biblical Hebrew text. This phenomenon represents one of the not yet completely elucidated and comprehended cases of independent Slavic exegetical thought, which at this early stage manifested itself not so much in the composition of biblical commentaries and theological works as in translational and editorial choices. It is also significant that certain processes in the allocation of meanings depending on the grammatical form, attested already in early Slavic biblical texts, are cognate with analogous processes in contemporary Slavic languages. Moreover, such semantic distinction between related and highly cognate forms has even enriched the modern Slavic languages connected to this tradition, thus creating means of artistic expression that remain impossible in most other languages of Christian civilization.

Translated title of the contribution“The Dichotomy of господь / господинъ and Cyrillo-Methodian Linguo- Theological Innovation”
Original languageRussian
Pages (from-to)25-54
Number of pages30
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Institute for Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.


  • Bible
  • Cyrillo-methodian
  • Exegesis
  • God
  • Linguo-theological
  • Lord
  • Monotheism
  • Nomina divina
  • Nomina sacra
  • Slavia orthodoxa
  • Translation


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