Divine Logos in Translation: Philosophy and Biblical-Exegesis in Context

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Humanities/Philosophies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 June 2024 | Viewed by 8090

Special Issue Editors


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Chief Guest Editor
The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel
Interests: medieval philosophy and theology; interreligious studies; translation studies
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Assistant Guest Editor
The Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel
Interests: philosophy of self; philosophy of language; philosophy of science; normativity; agency; rationality; criticism and self-criticism; emotion; religious dialogue; interreligious dynamics; rabbinic literature
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Assistant Guest Editor
Department Ev. theology, Goethe-University Frankfurt, 60323 Frankfurt, Germany
Interests: Jewish philosophy of religion; Jewish-German, European, and American history of ideas and culture; Jewish-Christian dialogue; research in antisemitism
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Holy Scripture tends to be bound to a particular holy language, often intimately related to its divine logos. As testimonies of divine revelation they claim certain incommensurability when translated into human language, and even more when translated from its original, cannonical form into a different human language. However, at the same time, these sacred, revelatory texts are frequently and intensively translated, both within the religious communities that hold them sacred (e.g., the Greek, Aramaic, and Arabic renditions of the Hebrew Bible) and across denominational boundaries. The history of this ancient two-sided paradox—the essential incommensurability of divine message and the constant need to transmit it beyond all linguistic borders—will be the focus of this Special Issue of Religions. We are plan to focus on cases of such translation in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from antiquity to modernity and to discuss the explicit and the implicit aspects, both in theory and in the practice of transmitting divine logos across and between linguistic divides.

This Special Issue of Religions will offer a multicultural and interdisciplinary framework of discussing Religion, Philosophy, and Science not from a comparative perspective but in focusing on the transmission and syncretization processes that occur as necessary and most essential part of every religious culture. Our point of departure in defining this issue's scope lies in the fact that every religion is occupied in the translation of its fundamental documents of divine revelation, even before its occupation with “align wisdom”. To that primary state of affairs, we would like to add a broader understanding of the act of translation in itself, beyond the technical transmission of specific content from source to a target language. An all set of exegetical and hermeneutic tools is needed to establish a new framework of understanding and normativity. The issue will focus on the variety of languages constituting the cultural framework of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Still, the broader colonial spread-over of these superstructures, in fact, evolves a global and universal perspective. We hope for an extensive outlook of religious texts' circulation within religious communities and in the interreligious space and their interrelation with scientific and philosophical content to define their basic normative Weltanschauung.

We shell welcome focused papers dedicated to concrete religion as well as broader ones describing processes of transmission and reception or papers engaged with the theoretical framework itself.

The main contribution to this issue understands the dynamics at work in the interdisciplinary and interreligious space. It will add a significant deal to our understanding of specific areas such as translation studies, religious hermeneutics, and the history of philosophy and/or science.

Prof. Dr. Yossef Schwartz
Prof. Dr. Menachem Fisch
Prof. Dr. Christian Wiese
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • translation
  • exegesis
  • divine revelation
  • Judaism
  • Christianity
  • Islam
  • philosophy
  • science

Published Papers (3 papers)

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30 pages, 1167 KiB  
Article
A Jewish Qur’an: An Eighteenth-Century Hebrew Qur’an Translation in Its Indian Context
by Alexander Van der Haven
Religions 2023, 14(11), 1368; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14111368 - 30 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1445
Abstract
This essay places the Washington Library of Congress Heb. Ms 183, a Hebrew Qur’an translation from eighteenth-century Cochin, in its South Indian context. After pointing out important general differences between early modern European and South Asian inter-religious cultures and attitudes to translation, this [...] Read more.
This essay places the Washington Library of Congress Heb. Ms 183, a Hebrew Qur’an translation from eighteenth-century Cochin, in its South Indian context. After pointing out important general differences between early modern European and South Asian inter-religious cultures and attitudes to translation, this essay analyzes three salient differences between Ms 183 and its Dutch source. Then, the essay scrutinizes three relevant and interrelated contexts: the eighteenth-century Indian diplomatic culture of owning and exchanging scriptural translations; the social position of Muslims and Jews as ‘guests’ and diplomatic brokers; and the rise of Muslim military power in Malabar. On this basis, I argue that this Hebrew Qur’an translation was intended to be cultural–diplomatic capital for Jewish diplomats dealing with Muslim rulers, indicating that not only rulers translated the scriptures of their subjects but also subjects those of their rulers. In addition, by showing how the Mysorean rulers implemented Islamic reforms and how Jewish practices were attuned to majoritarian religious practices, the essay suggests that Ms 183 was also meant to serve Jewish religious purposes, making this manuscript possibly a rare instance of using non-Jewish religious scriptures for Jewish religious practice. Full article
17 pages, 1718 KiB  
Article
Divine Logos and Translation among Iberian Muslims: From Ibn Ḥazm (d. 456H/1064CE) to Aḥmad al-Ḥanafī (d. 1049H/1650CE)
by Mònica Colominas Aparicio
Religions 2021, 12(11), 946; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12110946 - 30 Oct 2021
Viewed by 2282
Abstract
Like other religious traditions, Islam has accommodated notions of the divine logos. The actual elaboration of these notions has been heavily dependent on how the translation of God’s word and commandments to humans were understood as an object of intra-community debate, as well [...] Read more.
Like other religious traditions, Islam has accommodated notions of the divine logos. The actual elaboration of these notions has been heavily dependent on how the translation of God’s word and commandments to humans were understood as an object of intra-community debate, as well as in polemics with non-Muslims (inter-community debate). These two debates converged in the Muslim critique of the translation, transmission, and interpretation of the divine logos by Jews and Christians in their scriptures, although such convergence took different forms in different historical settings. The present contribution focuses on several examples of the engagement of Muslims with the Bible in the medieval Iberian Peninsula and in exile. The choice of authors and works ranges from the 11th-century Andalusī scholar Ibn Ḥazm to the exile Aḥmad al-Ḥanafī (d. 1049H/1650CE). It is nevertheless not intended as a comprehensive overview of Muslim approaches from the Western Mediterranean region. The objective is rather to discuss several aspects associated with the translation of the divine logos in polemics as a tool of identity that is intimately related to Muslim practices of exegesis and transmission of the Jewish and Christian writings. Particular attention is directed toward the broader issue of how notions of the translation of God’s word have been informed by language practices within contexts of inter-religious contact and competition (either between existing social bodies or as references to a relatively recent past). A preliminary look at Muslim modes of scriptural interpretation suggests that translation and exegesis, as well as the ways in which Muslims understood these practices as performed by non-Muslims, were part of a tradition that took final form and meaning, and that was subject to change when re-enacted in specific contexts. Any understanding of the subject must be read against the backdrop of Muslim configurations of knowledge within the local communities, as combined with tradition. Full article
20 pages, 691 KiB  
Article
The Lulav: Early Modern Polemical Ethnographies and the Art of Fencing
by Ahuvia Goren
Religions 2021, 12(7), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070493 - 1 Jul 2021
Viewed by 3478
Abstract
In recent years, scholars have devoted a great deal of attention to the history of scholarship in general and, more specifically, to the emergence of critical historical and anthropological literature from and within ecclesiastical scholarship. However, few studies have discussed the Jewish figures [...] Read more.
In recent years, scholars have devoted a great deal of attention to the history of scholarship in general and, more specifically, to the emergence of critical historical and anthropological literature from and within ecclesiastical scholarship. However, few studies have discussed the Jewish figures who took part in this process. This paper analyzes the role played by historiographical and ethnographical writing in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Italian Jewish–Christian polemics. Tracing various Christian polemical ethnographical depictions of the Jewish rite of shaking the lulav (sacramental palm leaves used by Jews during the festival of Sukkot), it discusses the variety of ways in which Jewish scholars responded to these depictions or circumvented them. These responses reflect the Jewish scholars’ familiarity with prevailing contemporary scholarship and the key role of translation and cultural transfers in their own attempts to create parallel works. Furthermore, this paper presents new Jewish polemical manuscript material within the relevant contexts, examines Jewish attempts to compose polemical and apologetic ethnographies, and argues that Jewish engagement with critical scholarship began earlier than scholars of this period usually suggest Full article
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