2021, Volume 18, Issue 1

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Anna V. Tsepkova
Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University
Novosibirsk, Russia

Sacred and Profane in Onomastics
Review of the book: Onomastics between Sacred and Profane / ed. by O. Felecan. Wilmington, Del. : Vernon Press, 2019. 412 + xxvi p.

Voprosy onomastiki, 2021, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp. 272–282 (in English)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2021.18.1.015

Received on 2 April 2020

Abstract: The article reviews the volume Onomastics between Sacred and Profane (ed. by O. Felecan, 2019), highlighting its contribution to the field of onomastic research as well as to multidisciplinary spheres of knowledge dealing with the concepts of the sacred and the profane. The review follows the structural principles of the volume, summarizing the main findings presented in 26 chapters within five thematic sections: onomastic theory and divine names; toponymy; anthroponymy; ergonymy; literary onomastics and wordplay. In relation to sacredness, the essays cover such issues as genuinely sacred names (divine names) and secular names with motivational and functional exponents of sacredness. Most articles dealing with the concept of the profane, either explicitly or implicitly, confirm the modern tendencies of secularization/desacralization of the sacred and (pseudo-)sacralization of the secular, particularly in Western cultures or cultures, affected by westernization. These tendencies become evident in a number of onomastic practices as exponents of socio-cultural interaction (breaking onomastic taboos, renaming due to ideological reasons, naming secular things after sacred objects for manipulating purposes, etc.). The review is concluded with recommendatory remarks to continue this project and extend its representativeness by drawing data from other geographic regions and national cultures.

Keywords: sacred, profane, religion, secularization, onomastics, theonymy, toponymy, anthroponymy, ergonymy, literary onomastics.


Basik, S. (2019). [Review of the book Onomastics between Sacred and Profane ed. by O. Felecan]. Journal of Cultural Geography, 37(1), 113–114.

Felecan, O. (2017). Foreword. In O. Felecan (Ed.), Name and Naming. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Onomastics. Sacred and Profane in Onomastics (Baia Mare, September 5–7, 2017) (pp. 11–12). Cluj Napoca: Editura Mega; Editura Argonaut.

Kohlheim, V. (2019). [Review of the book Onomastics between Sacred and Profane ed. by O. Felecan]. Onoma, 53, 113–118.

OLD — Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries. Retrieved from https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/worldly?q=...