'Language is mankind's greatest invention - except of course, that it was never invented.' So begins Guy Deutscher's fascinating investigation into the evolution of language. No one believes that the Roman Senate sat down one day to design the complex system that is Latin grammar, and few believe, these days, in the literal truth of the story of the Tower of Babel. But then how did there come to be so many languages, and of such elaborate design? If we started off with rudimentary utterances on the level of 'man throw spear', how did we end up with sophisticated grammars, enormous vocabularies, and intricately nuanced shades of meaning? Drawing on recent, groundbreaking discoveries in modern linguistics, Deutscher exposes the elusive forces of creation at work in human communication. Along the way, we learn why German maidens are neuter while German turnips are female, why we have feet not foots, and how great changes in pronunciation may result from simple laziness...
"Guy Deutscher is that rare beast, an academic who talks good sense about linguistics... he argues in a playful and provocative way, that our mother tongue does indeed affect how we think and, just as important, how we perceive the world." Observer *Does language reflect the culture of a society? *Is our mother-tongue a lens through which we perceive the world? *Can different languages lead their speakers to different thoughts? In Through the Language Glass, acclaimed author Guy Deutscher will convince you that, contrary to the fashionable academic consensus of today, the answer to all these questions is - yes. A delightful amalgam of cultural history and popular science, this book explores some of the most fascinating and controversial questions about language, culture and the human mind.
Leading sixteenth-century scholars such as Martin Luther and Desiderius Erasmus used print technology to engage in dialogue and debate with authoritative contemporary texts. By what Juan Luis Vives termed 'the unfolding of words,' these humanists gave old works new meanings in brief notes and extensive commentaries, full paraphrases, or translations. This critique challenged the Middle Ages' deference to authors and authorship and resulted in some of the most original thought - and most violent controversy - of the Renaissance and Reformation. The Unfolding of Words brings together international scholarship to explore crucial changes in writers' interactions with religious and classical texts. This collection focuses particularly on commentaries by Erasmus, contextualizing his Annotations and Paraphrases on the New Testament against broader currents and works by such contemporaries as François Rabelais and Jodocus Badius. The Unfolding of Words tracks humanist explorations of the possibilities of the page that led to the modern dictionary, encyclopedia, and scholarly edition.
The Political Theology of Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem
Author: Eric Jacobson
Pubpsher: Columbia University Press
Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem are regarded as two of the most influential Jewish thinkers of the twentieth century. Together they produced a dynamic body of ideas that has had a lasting impact on the study of religion, philosophy, and literary criticism. Drawing from Benjamin's and Scholem's ideas on messianism, language, and divine justice, this book traces the intellectual exchange through the early decades of the twentieth century—from Berlin, Bern, and Munich in the throws of war and revolution to Scholem's departure for Palestine in 1923. It begins with a close reading of Benjamin's early writings and a study of Scholem's theological politics, followed by an examination of Benjamin's proposals on language and the influence these ideas had on Scholem's scholarship on Jewish mysticism. From there the book turns to their ideas on divine justice—from Benjamin's critique of original sin and violence to Scholem's application of the categories to the prophets and Bolshevism. Metaphysics of the Profane is the first book to make this early period available to a wider audience, revealing the intricate structure of this early intellectual partnership on politics and theology.
Hagi Kenaan argues that philosophy's concern with abstract forms of linguistic meaning and the objective, propositional nature of language has obscured the singular human voice. In this strikingly original work Kenaan explores the ethical and philosophical implications of recognizing and responding to the individual presence in language. The Present Personal fuses phenomenology and aesthetics and the traditions of Continental and Anglo-American philosophy, drawing on Wittgenstein, J. L. Austin, Kant, Kierkegaard, and Heidegger as well as literary works by Kafka, Kundera, and others.
Theology after Heidegger must take into account history and language as constitutive elements in the pursuit of meaning. Quite often, this prompts a hurried flight from metaphysics to an embrace of an absence at the center of Christian narrativity. In this book, Conor Sweeney explores the "postmodern" critique of presence in the context of sacramental theology, engaging the thought of Louis-Marie Chauvet and Lieven Boeve. Chauvet is an influential postmodern theologian whose critique of the perceived onto-theological constitution of presence in traditional sacramental theology has made big waves, while Boeve is part of a more recent generation of theologians who even more wholeheartedly embrace postmodern consequences for theology. Sweeney considers the extent to which postmodernism a la Heidegger upsets the hermeneutics of sacramentality, asking whether this requires us to renounce the search for a presence that by definition transcends us. Against both the fetishization of presence and absence, Sweeney argues that metaphysics has a properly sacramental basis, and that it is only through this reality that the dialectic of presence and absence can be transcended. The case is made for the full but restless signification of the mother's smile as the paradigm for genuine sacramental presence.
What role does race, geography, religion, orthography and nationalism play in the crafting of identities? What are the origins of Singlish? This book offers a thorough investigation of old and new identities in Asia's most global city, examined through the lens of language.