'Rain of God's Letters' - Glagolitic Alphabet as a Mystical Tool?

Medieval Mystical Theology 27 (1):3-21 (2018)
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The Glagolitic alphabet was intended as a political and religious tool for the Slavs in the ninth century. This paper argues that despite its quick suppression, Glagolitic – arguably composed by Constantine The Philosopher (a brother of Methodius) from Thessaloniki – could have been a mystical tool. The relevant historical context and hagiographical material are explored to establish the alphabet’s origins. Uspenskij’s distinction regarding the palaeographic and ideographic origins of scripts is then followed. A short survey of the most relevant graphic features of some letters, their arrangement in the alphabet, their names, and their possible origins is accompanied by a more in-depth discussion of some key graphemes and their mystical potential. Tschernochvostoff’s theory of Glagolitic being woven upon three basic Christian symbols is elaborated on and expanded. Finally, the stunning (acrophonic) naming of the letters is shown as coding comprehensible Christian, and arguably mystical, messages in Proto-Slavic.
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