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Augustine and the primaeval language in early modern exegesis and philology
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
2013 (English)In: Language and history, ISSN Print: 1759-7536 Online: 1759-7544, Vol. 56, no 2, 98-119 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In his influential work City of God — De civitate Dei — Augustine identifies Hebrew as the original, or primeval, language of mankind, and more accu- rately as the language that survived the confusion of languages at Babel in the house or family of Heber, a descendant of Noah in the fifth generation. This article surveys (1) how this claim is related to ideas about this topic in ancient Jewish and Christian sources before and after Augustine, (2) demonstrates how Augustine’s interpretation of biblical primeval history and his concept of history is interconnected with his view on the primordial language, and (3) explores how early modern exegesis and philology adopted this specific Augustinian model with regard to the topic in question. This study is both descriptive and analytical. It is based on primary sources which modern scholarship of the history of linguistic thought hitherto to a great extent has either failed to pay attention to or misrepresented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 56, no 2, 98-119 p.
Keyword [en]
Augustine, the City of God, Hebrew, primeval language, Bible exegesis, early modern philology
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-204360DOI: 10.1179/1759753613Z.00000000021ISI: 000326299600002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-204360DiVA: diva2:638637
Josef Eskhult
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P10-0188:1
Available from: 2013-08-01 Created: 2013-08-01 Last updated: 2013-12-02Bibliographically approved

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