| Where Recherche duTemps Perdu|
---- meets Kirchliche Dogmatik
Let me run a puzzle past you and give you a chance to solve it. Wilhelm Schmidt's contribution to ethnology lay largely in establishing a chronological sequence among various culture found in a certain geographical area. A part of that process is to identify which culture originated a particular cultural feature, which is then going to be distributed ("diffused") with some changes among adjacent ones.
So, here's an easy example. Imagine four adjacent groups, inventively called A, B, C, and D, whose lore includes similar stories, which I will summarize as follows:
Can we figure out which culture probably had the story first? All other things being equal, the obvious choice is B. It is the one that appears to have the basic elements, and the the other each modified one element.
|A: girl, garden, berries||B: girl, garden, flowers|
|C: girl, meadow, flowers||D: boy, garden, flowers|
If the culture of origin were A, then the story would have to undergo one change to get to B's version, and then another change to get to either C or D. A similar complexity would obtain if either C or D were the origin, but only one change is required with B as the origin, so that's the obvious choice.
Unfortunately things are not as simple as that in reality. So, let's take a look at how things may actually look in the field:
So, now the question is, which of the above version is most likely the original one, and on what basis do you arrive at that conclusion?
Looking forward to your answers.