In modern intellectual life, the definition of language remains unsettled. Is it thought—or, is it an expression of thought? For the fourth issue of Renovatio, we chose "The Enigma of Language" as a broad theme because the free and virtually limitless nature of language might be the stubborn holdout to the prevailing concept of a world without spirit. If we reflect on the reality of language, might we begin to renew our trust in both words and things?
Table of Contents
Self Addressed Speech
Speech may be for communication, but when the soul speaks to itself, who is communicating with whom?
The Listening of the Soul
Speaking distinguishes the human, but the soul’s capacity to listen helps us fulfill our human potential.
“Using the Brain You Gave Me”
Words may be the way that we learn and understand, but, shows Augustine through a dialog with his son, God is the only real teacher.
Of Cannons and Canons
Colonialism universalized modern Western education. As we wrestle with this often bitter legacy, why do calls to “diversify” what we read fall short?
The Covenant of Language
In an age when even the idea of truth awaits trial, how do we renew our trust in words and things?
Mark Damien Delp
The Wisdom of Lamentation
The Book of Job doesn’t simply preach patience to one who suffers. Job’s speech—and his silence—dismantles platitudes and invites us to find resolution in an experience of God.
Stephen A. Gregg
Knowledge, Truth, Being
When a knowing mind has known a being, do we arrive at truth?
Breaking the Language Barrier
The Han Kitab teaches that the Islam found in the Arabic and Persian books is only one possible way in which the Islamic revelation can be expressed.
The Centrality of Language in Islam’s First Years
The early generations of Muslims, including the Companions of the Prophet, enjoyed an extraordinary relationship with the arts of language.
Abdallah Bin Bayyah
The Liberal Arts in an Illiberal Age
When we lose the language arts, we lose our ability to understand the metaphysical implications of language and thought, and we are no longer free to think.
Can We All Treat Blasphemy as Taboo?
Should Muslims accept a moral perspective about blasphemy that’s grounded in liberal ethics?
Andrew F. March
Language Is Not Mechanical (and Neither Are You)
Modern philosophers and scientists are committed to the idea of world as machine, and yet they cannot explain language without the immaterial mind.
Caner K. Dagli
The Truth a Building Speaks
To be erected, buildings need more than brick and mortar; they need a hierarchy of crucial decisions, which ultimately reveal what we value.