This article presents an attempt to reconstruct the so-called “Dionysian religion” of Vyacheslav Ivanov. Some original pre-religia, which was designated by Ivanov as a primitive “female monotheism” or telimonotheism, in its cult aspect, represents “female orgiasm” or the worship of an “invariably-residing female deity”. In the process of its historical evolution, it requires a “male correlate in the face of a periodically born and dying God” – and eventually finds it in the person of Dionysus, i.e., in the building up the Dionysian religion, which in its essence is still determined by the archetypal feminine principle. It is important that Ivanov's work is built on extremely extensive factual material, including a vast arsenal of documentary evidence and interpretive principles. At the same time, his innovation consisted in the rejection of positivistic methods and in the search for a way of more adequate penetration into the ancient religious consciousness. At the end of the proposed excursion it is noted that the Dionysian theory of Ivanov, already sufficiently well studied by philosophers and philologists, has not yet been awarded by the attention of religious scholars and historians of religion, and the more so theologians. So the problem remains: what Ivanov really describes – a certain historically real cult, evidenced by the fact that he presented the fact, or a religious project built on the same material, but questionably correlating with the religious history and religious practice of the ancient Greeks? It is assumed that its adequate solution, requiring further synthetic efforts by representatives of different human sciences, probably lies at the junction of the philosophy, history and psychology of religion.
Keywords: Vyacheslav Ivanov, Dionysianism, Telimonotheism, Dionysian cult, Semele, maenads, orgiasm, evolution, tragedy
About the author
Natalia A. Vaganova – PhD (Philosophy), Assistant Professor at the Department of Philosophy of St. Tikhon's Orthodox University;