The Myth of the Hussite-Protestant Community
Authors: Martin Braxatoris
Number of views: 17
The article focuses on the structure and functions of the myth of the Hussite origin of (a part of) Slovak protestants. The narrative, based on claims of late Middle Ages historians, started gaining momentum in the 18th century and fully developed in the 19th century literary production (especially in the works of Pavol Jozef Šafárik, Samuel Tomášik, several representatives of Romanticism and, later, in the writing of Ladislav Pauliny and Július Botto). During the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, its elements were dismantled on historical, linguistic, architectural and liturgical grounds. Those who contributed to the deconstruction of the myth included František Palacký, Jan Koula, Emil Edgar-Kratochvíl, Pavol Križko or Jozef Škultéty. The work of Branislav Varsik marked a significant break in the dismantling of the fictitious origins of Slovak protestant community. Once the mythological character of the narrative was revealed, it became accessible to analysis from the point of view of mythology, poetics and rituals. Its structure contains such features as separation phase, mythical trials, death, revival and gaining the prize – mythical wedding and settling in the “promised” land. The narrative helps form and maintain a new collective identity: it is invested with explanatory and consecrating functions and serves as a legitimising argument for the identity, religious rituals and cultural customs of the protestant community.