On the Concept of Chernebog and Bielbog in Slavic Mythology

On the Concept of Chernebog and Bielbog in Slavic Mythology

By Myroslava T. Znayenk

Acta Slavica Iaponica, Vol. 11 (1993)

Introduction: The origin of Slavic cosmogonic and cosmological dualism – that is, dualism as a religio-historical phenomenon – is a controversial issue. On the basis of cosmogonic motifs in Slavic folklore, some scholars believe that the concept of a dualistic origin of the world was already present in pre-Christian Slavic tradition. These beliefs are linked, on the one hand, to postulates emerging from the study of comparative mythology and linguistics and, on the other, to the assumption that the Slavs had worshiped two opposing deities of good and evil: a white god, called Bielbog, and a black god, named Chernebog. While acknowledging the presence of some fundamental dualistic concept s in the pre-Christian Slavic  tradition, one nevertheless feels uneasy with the sweeping generalizations that have elevated Bielbog and Chernebog to a central position in the sphere of Slavic religious beliefs without a clear statement on the etat de question concerning these controversial Slavic deities.

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