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Views on language history around 1700: Reception and innovation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
2012 (English)In: Acta Conventus Neo-Latini Upsaliensis: Proceedings of the fourteenth International Congress of Neo-Latin Studies / [ed] Astrid Steiner-Weber, 2012Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper describes views on language history in the decades about 1700 in issues such as the debate on the primaeval language of mankind and the ideas of the origin of languages and peoples in Europe. The focus is on the reception history, insofar as several ancient traditions asserted themselves in the discussion of these issues, namely the biblical, the patristic, the late Jewish and the classical. According to the patristic tradition, Hebrew was the primordial language of mankind. Jewish Bible scholars in the middle Ages arrived at the same conclusion, and the Christian Hebraists in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries approved of this opinion. In the delineation of nations and their languages, the humanists set out from the biblical genealogies, but supplemented them from classical ethnographical authors such as Herodotus and Pliny the Elder. Various rationalistic, historical-philosophical and nationalist currents exerted influence against these ancient traditions and contributed a critical attitude towards the ancient sources. This paper elucidates the interplay between the reception of ancient authors and the innovation through rationalism and critical historiography. In doing so, the author concentrate on some prominent representative scholars and shed light on the key-words, conceptual categories and horizon of understanding in their discourse.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
, Acta conventus Neo-Latini, ISSN 2212-6007
Keyword [en]
primaeval language of mankind, patristic tradition, medieval Jewish tradition, rationalistic and nationalistic opposition to traditional views, the reception of the classical tradition, Jean Bodin's explanation of linguistic change
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-147718OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-147718DiVA: diva2:400752
The fourteenth congress of the international association for Neo-Latin studies, Uppsala 2-8 August, 2009
Available from: 2011-02-28 Created: 2011-02-28 Last updated: 2012-10-15Bibliographically approved

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