home page

This article has been subjected to double blind peer review

This article has been published in: Ocula 23, Flowers of the soul: The symbolism of flowers in the religious imagination

authors: Francesco Galofaro (Dipartimento di filosofia e scienze dell'educazione, UniversitÓ di Torino (UNITO), IT; Centro Universitario Bolognese di Etnosemiotica (CUBE), IT) and Marco Papasidero (Dipartimento di filosofia e scienze dell'educazione, UniversitÓ di Torino (UNITO), IT)

Foreword: flowers and religions: semiotic and historical remarks

language: english

publication date: July 2020

abstract: The semiotic problem of flowers is not merely the province of specialists. It is a shared object of analysis in a wide range of human sciences: literature, history, anthropology, religious studies. The value of flowers depends on their position in the system of the culture in question. This system can be identified with the semiotics of the natural world of the considered culture. Depending on the context, each feature of the flower can be relevant to manifest a meaning. For this reason, flowers constitute a poetic repertoire of ready-made elements and syntagmas, an imaginary which can be used in literature and in any other semiotic system to convey rhetoric effects. As they are inserted in narrative structures, these effects can further transform their value. These shifts of value entail functional changes which can be reconstructed by the researcher and can be useful to investigate the relationship between different cultures and different epochs. Flowers and plants are important elements of many religious traditions, also because they play a crucial role in cosmogonies and myths of the origin. From the analysis of the case studies considered, a radical opposition and a constant oscillation between a concrete and a metaphoric/symbolic use of plants emerges. Another significant aspect is the presence of miracle accounts, in which the concrete dimension of plants is filled of supernatural references. In fact miracles put in communication two different dimensions: visible and invisible. Many of the considered tales reveal an etiologic aspect, with the aim to explain the origin of places and plants on the basis of supernatural events.

keywords: fiori, flowers, religione, religion, symbols, simbolo, metafora, metaphors, storia, history


DOI: 10.12977/ocula2020-25

citation information: Francesco Galofaro and Marco Papasidero, Foreword: flowers and religions: semiotic and historical remarks, "Ocula", vol.21, n.23, pp.1-8, July 2020. DOI: 10.12977/ocula2020-25



Ocula.it publishes articles and essays in semiotic research, with a particular eye on communication and culture; it is open to dialogue with other research fields and welcomes contributions from all the areas of the social and human sciences.

Editorial Committee

Giovanni Baule (Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Design)
Anne Beyaert-Geslin (UniversitÚ Bordeaux- Montaigne, France)
Giovanni Boccia Artieri (Libera UniversitÓ di Urbino Carlo Bo)
Vanni Codeluppi (UniversitÓ Iulm, Milano)
Marcel Danesi (University of Toronto, Canada) president from 2014
Bernard Darras (UniversitÚ Paris 1, PanthÚon-Sorbonne, France)
Alessandro Duranti (University of California Los Angeles, USA)
Ruggero Eugeni (UniversitÓ Cattolica del Sacro Cuore , Milano)
Guido Ferraro (UniversitÓ di Torino)
Roberto Grandi (UniversitÓ di Bologna)
Gianfranco Marrone (UniversitÓ di Palermo)
Pino Paioni (1920-2013) (UniversitÓ di Urbino) president from 2009 to 2013
Guglielmo Pescatore (UniversitÓ di Bologna)
Susan Petrilli (UniversitÓ di Bari)
Isabella Pezzini (UniversitÓ La Sapienza di Roma)
Maria Pia Pozzato (UniversitÓ di Bologna)
Andrea Semprini (UniversitÚ de Lille, France; Iulm, Milano)
Junji Tsuchiya (Waseda University, Tokio, Japan)
Alessandro Zinna (UniversitÚ de Toulouse 2, France)

Editorial Board

Coordinator (Editor in Chief): Michela Deni (michela.deni@gmail.com) from 2020
Giampaolo Proni (giampaolo.proni@unibo.it) from 2020

Andrea Bernardelli (andrea.bernardelli@unife.it)
Cinzia Bianchi (cinzia.bianchi@unimore.it)
Michela Deni (michela.deni@gmail.com)
Nicola Dusi (nicolamaria.dusi@unimore.it)
Francesco Galofaro (galofaro_francesco@hotmail.com)
Davide Gasperi (davide@davidegasperi.it)
Valentina Manchia (valentina.manchia@gmail.com)
Antonella Mascio (antonella.mascio@unibo.it)
Federico Montanari (federico.mont@gmail.com)
Valentina Pisanty (valentina.pisanty@unibg.it)
Giampaolo Proni (giampaolo.proni@unibo.it)
Ruggero Ragonese (ruggero.ragonese@unimore.it)
Stefano Traini (straini@unite.it)
Salvatore Zingale (salvatore.zingale@polimi.it)

You can support our initiative by donating in a safe way using PayPal or your credit card

ISSN 1724-7810   |   DOI: 10.12977/ocula

Ocula adheres to the principles of Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI)

Ocula is indexed by Directory Open Access Journal (DOAJ) and Google Scholar

The content on this site is licensed under Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) 

  |  Privacy  |  Ocula.it is published by Associazione Ocula, via Berti 2, 40131 - Bologna