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Debates in Continental PhilosophyConversations with Contemporary Thinkers$
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Richard Kearney

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780823223176

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823223176.001.0001

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Georges Dumézil

Georges Dumézil

Myth, Ideology, Sovereignty

(p.53) Georges Dumézil
Debates in Continental Philosophy

Richard Kearney

Fordham University Press

Georges Dumézil's work is primarily linguistic, or, to be more precise, philosophical. That is, the classification and interpretation of ancient myths in terms of textual structures or types. His first concern was to discover what the earliest texts of the various Indo-European civilizations might have in common, what similarities of function might exist in different mythic or religious orders to suggest a shared source. Eventually, he discerned the “Ideology of the Three Functions”—Sovereignty, Force, and Fecundity—firstly in texts representative of diverse layers of Vedic, Germanic, and Roman civilization. This led Dumézil to ascertain that there existed a specific conception of the three functions in all of the Indo-European cultures from India to Ireland. In short, philology enabled him to posit the existence of an underlying Indo-European ideology.

Keywords:   Georges Dumézil, ancient myths, textual structures, Indo-European civilizations, philology, Indo-European ideology, Sovereignty, Force, Fecundity

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