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Spiritual GrammarGenre and the Saintly Subject in Islam and Christianity$
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F. Dominic Longo

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823275724

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823275724.001.0001

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Arabic, Latin, and the Discipline of Grammar in the Worlds of Qushayrī and Gerson

Arabic, Latin, and the Discipline of Grammar in the Worlds of Qushayrī and Gerson

(p.27) 1 Arabic, Latin, and the Discipline of Grammar in the Worlds of Qushayrī and Gerson
Spiritual Grammar

F. Dominic Longo

Fordham University Press

The place of the Arabic and Latin languages in the respective cultural milieux in which Qushayrī and Gerson authored their “spiritual grammars” is as important as the significance of the intellectual discipline of grammar in the educational systems of their respective societies. This chapter offers the most detailed comparison to date of the medieval Arab Islamic and Latin Christian diglossic sociolinguistic situations, where grammar was inextricable from education and religion, and where these languages were “father tongues” holding considerable prestige and power. In both Qushayrī’s 11th century Persia and Gerson’s 15th century France, a vernacular mother tongue was on the historical verge of challenging the societal “father tongue” for dominance in literary and intellectual realms. The two medieval masters both used the power of the “father languages” of Arabic and Latin to give force to their “spiritual grammars” as part of a pedagogical project of what Michel Foucault would call forming the self and constructing the subject.

Keywords:   diglossia, disciplines of knowledge, father language, Foucault, Michel, history of Arabic grammar, history of European education, history of Islamic education, history of Latin grammar

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