« 2020. № 2 (152)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2020. № 2 (152), 378—384

UDK 393:82-32/96 (=161.2)]:236.1: 128(477.86)”18/19″





Researcher at the Institute of Ethnology

of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine,

Department of Ethnology,

15, Svobody Avenue, 79000, Lviv, Ukraine,

Contacts: e-mail:

Abstract. This article deals with the people’s «philosophy of death» which is inherent to Ukrainians from Pokuttia and reflected on the pages of the works by V. Stefanyk and L. Martovych — two Ukrainian writers of the late XIX and early XX centuries. This article is relevant, since it is necessary to gain a deeper and comprehensive scientific knowledge of the spiritual world of past generations of Ukrainians.

The object of the research concerns the religious beliefs of Pokuttians as to death in accordance with the works of V. Stefanyk and L. Martovych — two Ukrainian novelists. The subject of the research is the features of the philosophical and psycho-emotional perception of this phenomenon in traditional culture, as reflected in the way the characters speak. The goal of the research is to describe and analyze the people’s interpretation of a spectrum of religious concepts (patience, confession, death, soul, sense of purpose, God’s justice, etc.) using prose works which reflect a concentrated worldview of ethnos, moral and ethical principles, and people’s spiritual values. The methodological background of this article is comparative historical and semantic research methods.

Conclusion. By analyzing the texts of a number of short stories, we prove that the issues of patience, death, sense of purpose, conception of this earthly life as a transitional stage to Eternity, and notion of absolute God’s justice were of decisive importance in people’s consciousness and aroused anxiety. People’s beliefs about death were shaped under the influence of Christian doctrine and were associated with ancient worldviews.

In the works analyzed, the traditional attitude towards death, from the point of view of religion, is recorded for the people`s world view. V. Stefanyk and L. Martovych reflected in their novels the people`s understanding of the earthly live as a preparation for another, better live.

Further explorations on this topic provide an opportunity to trace the organic connection of traditional religious beliefs of Ukrainians with the philosophical foundations of spiritual culture embodied in the works of Ukrainian thinkers.

Keywords: Death, people’s visions, «philosophy of death», soul, confession, folk saying, people’s consciousness.

Received 2.03.2020


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