From the early Dark Ages to the Renaissance it was widely believed that the language spoken in the Garden of Eden was a perfect language, expressing all possible things, and that all current languages were its decadent descendants. This is an investigation into the history of this idea.
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The idea that there once existed a language which perfectly and unambiguously expressed the essence of all possible things and concepts has occupied the minds of philosophers, theologians, mystics and others for at least two millennia. This is an investigation into the history of that idea and of its profound influence on European thought, culture and history.
From the early Dark Ages to the Renaissance it was widely believed that the language spoken in the Garden of Eden was just such a language, and that all current languages were its decadent descendants from the catastrophe of the Fall and at Babel. The recovery of that language would, for theologians, express the nature of divinity, for cabbalists allow access to hidden knowledge and power, and for philosophers reveal the nature of truth. Versions of these ideas remained current in the Enlightenment, and have recently received fresh impetus in attempts to create a natural language for artificial intelligence.
The story that Umberto Eco tells ranges widely from the writings of Augustine, Dante, Descartes and Rousseau, arcane treatises on cabbalism and magic, to the history of the study of language and its origins. He demonstrates the initimate relation between language and identity and describes, for example, how and why the Irish, English, Germans and Swedes - one of whom presented God talking in Swedish to Adam, who replied in Danish, while the serpent tempted Eve in French - have variously claimed their language as closest to the original. He also shows how the late eighteenth-century discovery of a proto-language (Indo-European) for the Aryan peoples was perverted to support notions of racial superiority.
To this subtle exposition of a history of extraordinary complexity, Umberto Eco links the associated history of the manner in which the sounds of language and concepts have been written and symbolized. Lucidly and wittily written, the book is, in sum, a tour de force of scholarly detection and cultural interpretation, providing a series of original perspectives on two thousand years of European History.
The paperback edition of this book is not available through Blackwell outside of North America.About the Author:
Umberto Eco was born in Alessandria in 1932 and has been Professor of Semiotics at the University of Bologna since 1975 and President of the International Centre for Semiotic and Cognitive Studies since 1988. His books include `The Name of the Rose' (1980) and Foucault's Pendulum' (1988). His most recent works include `Semiotics and the Philosophy of Language' (1984), `The Limits of Interpretation' (1990), `Apocalyspe Postponed' (1994) and `The Island of the Day Before' (1995).
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Buchbeschreibung Harpercollins Publishers, 1997. Paperback. Buchzustand: Brand New. new ed edition. 400 pages. In Stock. Buchnummer des Verkäufers __0006863787
Buchbeschreibung HARPER COLLINS, 1997. Paperback. Buchzustand: NEW. 9780006863786 This listing is a new book, a title currently in-print which we order directly and immediately from the publisher. For all enquiries, please contact Herb Tandree Philosophy Books directly - customer service is our primary goal. Buchnummer des Verkäufers HTANDREE0980761
Buchbeschreibung Fontana Press, 1997. Paperback. Buchzustand: New. Never used!. Buchnummer des Verkäufers P110006863787
Buchbeschreibung Fontana Press. PAPERBACK. Buchzustand: New. 0006863787 New Condition. Buchnummer des Verkäufers NEW7.0939275
Buchbeschreibung Fontana Press, 1997. Paperback. Buchzustand: New. Buchnummer des Verkäufers DADAX0006863787