3 Lauri Honko

Lauri Honko

Lauri Honko (born in Hanko 6 March 1932, died in Turku 15 July 2002) was a professor in Folkloristics and Comparative Religion.

Life and work

Honko was a disciple of Martti Haavio. He wrote his doctor thesis about "Krankheitsprojektile. Untersuchung über eine urtümliche Krankheitserklärung" (1959) at the University of Helsinki and developed a special typology for the analysis of ethnographic data in folk medicine. Here he put the Finnish folk tradition explanation of illness and healing into global perspective and found distinct features and differences in geographical regions.

Honko’s seminal work, "Geisterglaube in Ingermanland" was very influential for Finnish folklorists because it set apart the old and new science of religion. In this work he used new insights from social anthropology, phenomenology of religion, social psychology and sociology. Honko also interpreted the experience of guardian spirits in Ingrian peasant society by developing a genre-analytic and role-model theory. In "Geisterglaube in Ingermanland" he classified rituals into three main categories, rites of passage, calendrical rites and crisis rates. Honko even stresses the importance of analyzing rituals within cultural context and the need to differentiate between small-scale and complex systems of belief.

In 1961 Honko became a docent in Folkloristics and Comparative Religion. In 1963 he was an extraordinaire professor in both subjects at the University of Turku. In 1971 he got a special seat. In 1996 he was Professor Emeritus.

Lauri Honko was also since 1972 the head of the "Nordic Institute of Folklore" (NIF) in Turku.From 1974 to 1989 he was president of the International Society for Folk Narrative Research and then also the editor of "Folklore Fellows’ Communications". He was editor of "Temenos" 1965-1969 and 1975-1990, for "NIF Newsletters" from 1972, and for "Studia Fennica" 1981-1989.

During the 1980’s and 1970’s, Honko compared popular traditions and developed a research methodology. .


* "Krankheitsprojektile." Untersuchung über eine urtümliche Krankheitserklärung. Helsinki 1959 (Folklore Fellows' communications; 178).
* "Geisterglaube in Ingermanland." Helsinki 1962 (Folklore Fellows' communications; 185).
* "Textualising the Siri epic." Helsinki 1998 (Folklore Fellows' communications; 264 = Vol. 118).


*Anna-Leena Siikala: "Honko, Lauri." In: Enzyklopädie des Märchens Vol. 6 (1990), Sp. 1236-1239.

External links

* [http://www.folklorefellows.fi/netw/ffn24/lauri_honko.html From May 2003]


1. Anttonen, Veikko. "Comparative Religion At the University of Turku and the University of Helsinki: a Brief Survey." Department of Comparative Religion. University of Turku. [http://www.hum.utu.fi/oppiaineet/uskontotiede/en/research/history/]

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