The Poetics of Grammar and the Metaphysics of Sound and Sign (Jerusalem Studies in Religion and Culture)
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This book examines the seemingly universal notion of a grammatical cosmos. Individual essays discuss how many of the great civilizations provide cognitive maps that emerge from a metaphysical linguistics in which sounds, syllables and other signs form the constructive elements of reality. The essays address cross-cultural issues such as: Why does grammar serve as a template in these cultures? How are such templates culturally contoured? To what end are they applied i.e., what can one do with grammar, and how does it work upon the world? The book is divided into three sections that deal with the metaphysics of linguistic creation; practices of encoding and decoding as a means of deciphering reality; and language in the widest sense as a medium for self- and cultural transformation. Contributors include: Jan Assman, Sara Sviri, Michael Stone, M. Finkelberg, Yigal Bronner, Martin Kern, Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony, Dan Martin, Jonathan Garb, Tom Hunter, David Shulman, and Sergio La Porta.
gods into being, but also as the maintainer of the universe who rules it by what the Egyptians call “Sia”, cognition” and “Hu”, authoritative and performative utterance. Hu and Sia are epithets both of the creator and of the ruler. Sia refers to the recognizing and devising heart, Hu to the speaking, ordaining and commanding mouth. 24 25 26 Cairo JE 11509; see J. Assmann 1995, 127. See J. Assmann 1995, 120–5. ÄHG, no. 87C; RuA, pp. 176–177. 24 jan assmann That the idea of a creation through
Breath of the Merciful, the hierarchical order of breathed-out existents and, by analogy, of human breathed-out letters and words, is only a prelude to a long and elaborate study by Ibn al-ʚArabī of what is the culmination of speech: sacred formulae of praise of God as well as supplication to God and the divine names. Before offering a list of chapter-headings on the various topics that he is going to discuss, Ibn al-ʚArabī refers briefly to kun again and says: Since mentioning His names is the
atiśayamˢ prathayantī. Ibid., 2. 26–7, 36: kimˢ padmam antar-bhrāntâli kimˢ te lolêksˢanˢamˢ mukham | mama dolāyate cittam itîyamˢ samˢ śayôpamā || na padmasyêndu-nigrāhyasyêndu-lajjā-karī dyutihˢ | atas tvan-mukham evêdam ity asau nirnˢayôpamā || na padmamˢ mukham evêdamˢ na bhrˢn֛ gau caksˢusˢī ime | iti vispasˢt ˢa-sādrˢśyāt tattvâkhyānôpamâiva sā || The lotus closes as the moon rises. this is no lotus, it is a face 103 to express the familiar and basic formula of similitude. We recognize
classifier is in no case a definite indication of the implied word; were readily interchangeable. Xu Shen’s graphs like ce 冊, , and Shuowen jiezi is an energetic if at times forced attempt to respond to this problem, and excavated manuscripts with their numerous graphic variants allow us to finally comprehend the magnitude of his project.111 Xu Shen, who glossed ce 冊 as “documentary charge” ( fuming 符命),112 was a champion of the written word; but he glossed simply as gao 告 (“to announce”),
phrase zuoce Yi gao 作冊逸誥, “the Maker of Records, Yi, made the announcement (gao 誥),” showing the Maker of Records in his usual role as speaking for the king. The third passage, “The testamentary charge,” reads dingmao, ming zuo ce du 丁卯, 命作冊度.121 In this sentence, which stands isolated, zuo ce may best be taken as a verb-object phrase, “to make a bamboo document.”122 Thus, two days after the king’s death, “an order was given to make a document [of the deceased king’s testamentary charge] and [lay