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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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The Fruits of Comparison

The Fruits of Comparison

Constructing a Theology of Grammar

(p.186) 6 The Fruits of Comparison
Spiritual Grammar

F. Dominic Longo

Fordham University Press

Comparative literary and theological analysis of Qushayrī’s The Grammar of Hearts and Gerson’s Moralized Grammar make possible a fuller description of “spiritual grammar” as a genre, which in turn begins the construction of a theology of grammar. Like actual grammar instructors, Qushayrī and Gerson hoped to teach students about the spiritual realities in which they were already deeply and inescapably situated. Grammar enables us to see, understand, and operate in the reality in which we live. Picking up Paul Ricoeur’s thought, we can see that, in adopting an ontological frame that depicts the subject as embedded in a reality that is linguistic and structured by grammar, these “spiritual grammars” model the relationship between textuality and subjectivity that holds for all texts. Islamic and Christian “spiritual grammars” thus help contemporary readers who are trying to find their own way to being spiritually adept in the structures of ultimate reality.

Keywords:   Donatus moralizatus, genre performance, grammar – theology, language – theology, Naḥw al-qulūb, Ricoeur, Paul, spiritual grammar

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