Though Speiser could not have been clearer when he insists that "The name need not be committed geographically, linguistically, or in any other way," explaining that "its sense would be primarily negative," the result was, he himself complains, "not entirely satisfactory," perceived to "imply ethnic or linguistic relations" (Speiser 1948: 10-11) and thus to endorse the hugely controversial thesis from which the term is derived: the Japhetic Theory developed by Soviet Georgian linguist Nikolai Yakovlevich Marr.
Working with the Comparative-Historical Method, he had tried to establish that Caucasian languages were a family descending from a single prototype, like Indo-European or Semitic: his original Japhetic Theory.
He could not, in any case, have failed to miss the controversy relating to Marr's Japhetic Theory as this unfolded in the language journals of the period.
In the most ancient periods the group works in connection with [Nikolai Marr's] Japhetic
In 1912, just four years after Marr had proclaimed the existence of the specific branch of "Japhetic languages," his Abkhaz associate Petr Charaia published a book in St.
Marr therefore suggested that the negative impact of the "survivals" could be overcome through their scholarly study with the help of his Japhetic theory, rather than through eradication.
(133) The academy's activities were in line with the vision of Abkhazia as a key area in Marr's world of "Japhetic culture." The lack of an established literary tradition in the vernacular until the 1920s was pronounced a major strength of the Abkhazians, which aided the preservation of their unique prehistoric Japhetic past and enhanced their ability to make rapid cultural leaps at present and in future.
God's providence allowed "a downward deviation from a stock coincident with the best Shemitic or Japhetic
, to the lowest negro" that even under the best paternal care might not be restored.
It is sometimes called the Indo - European, sometimes the Indo - Germanic, and sometimes the Japhetic
Georgian, Marr claimed, was the modern language most closely related to the primordial Japhetic tongue.
Academics struggled to reconcile conflicts between the mandates of Stalinist nationality theory, which established the ethnic and cultural specificity of diverse socialist peoples, and an equally mandatory Marrism--itself internally riven by Japhetic Theory, which explained languages as ethnographic phenomena, and a New Theory of Language that explained them as universal products of class differentiation.
In the 1920s, while Marr was transforming his "Japhetic
theory" into the "New Theory of Language," lambasting bourgeois linguistics, Ol'denburg outlined new foundations for Soviet Oriental Studies that were supposed to be different from those of European scholarship rooted in the imperialist exploitation of the East.