Renovatio: The Enigma of Language

Renovatio: The Enigma of Language

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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?

Eva Brann


The Listening of the Soul

Speaking distinguishes the human, but the soul’s capacity to listen helps us fulfill our human potential.

Zaid Shakir


“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.

Garry Wills


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?

Oludamini Ogunnaike


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?

Edith Stein


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.

John Walbridge


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.

Hamza Yusuf


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.

Marwa al-Sabouni


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