About Center for Research of Kartvelian Civilization
For over 200 years, modern scholarship has tried to resolve a number of linguistic, religious, and historical problems without the benefit of employing the Kartvelian languages and culture in their study of ancient civilizations. With insignificant exceptions, both native Georgian and foreign scholars have neglected this very helpful tool.
A number of reasons, not necessarily a willful disregard by scholars, contribute to the neglect of the Kartvelian Languages in Near Eastern scholarship.
- Linguistic causes rely heavily on phonetic and grammatical difficulties. Among phonetic barriers we find few vowels, glottal consonants and consonant clusters, while with regard to grammatical obstacles, a learner must remember rich inflection and conjugation systems and diverse grammatical and lexical affixation. These challenges cause scholars to stop short and abandon efforts to master Kartvelian. The obvious result – lack of knowledge of Kartvelian – prevents scholars from utilizing linguistic, ethnological and cultural dimensions of research possibilities.
- The second factor is methodological which concerns the descriptive techniques of analysis applied in Near Eastern Studies to solve numerous mysteries that still defy solution. Effective at the initial stages of pre-historic studies, the traditional tools must be combined with other techniques that text linguistics and esoteric methods of linguistic investigation offer.
- Extra-Linguistic based on the socio-political and cultural life of the society are equally significant, mainly, the political causes. The Soviet regime literally persecuted scholars who attempted to investigate the ancient linguistic and cultural ties of the Kartvelian people with ancient civilizations. The officially declared freedom of scientific research was suppressed by government activities on the ground breeding conformist scholars and limited scholarship. Those who refused to comply were dismissed from work and blacklisted, and their works never published. However, if by some magic the unwanted works happened to be published, the books were instantly confiscated and locked in secret vaults of libraries. People, of course, were then denied access. For over eight decades, as a result of this shameless practice, one can only conjecture how many manuscripts are still sitting on the shelves of archives awaiting rescue from the years of darkness.
The combination of the described linguistic and extra-linguistic causes play a decisive role in breeding the attitude of rejection by academia to employ the Kartvelian languages and culture in the study of our past. Likewise, these are also the reasons that underpin one of the missions of the CRKC - to cooperate with and assist scholars outside Georgia with Kartvelian sources in their scientific endeavors.