Sacred texts of Estonia – Tõnu Viik, Maarja Vaino and Urve Eslas

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Venue: Estonian Writers’ Union (see on map)
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Original language: Estonian
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How does one text or act of speech become sacred? Is every solemn text also sacred? Of course, the question can be posed in a different way: how does one even attain sanctity in today’s world? Take the Estonian anthem, for example. Few people would consider the lyrics of the anthem “Mu isamaa, mu õnn ja rõõm” by Johann Voldemar Jannsen a literary masterpiece – the majority of Estonians are no doubt more moved by Lydia Koidula’s poem “Mu isamaa on minu arm” (although one could argue that its effect is certainly amplified by the wonderful melody composed by Gustav Ernesaks). However, if one were to discuss how to adapt the lyrics of the anthem to the modern world, quarrels and bad blood would follow. While the text may not seem very expressive today, it is is still considered untouchable by many – revealing the paradoxical and mysterious nature of sanctity. This nature will be analysed by philosopher Tõnu Viik, literary scholar and director of the A. H. Tammsaare Museum Maarja Vaino, and journalist Urve Eslas.

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