Aus unseren Neuerwerbungen – Sprachen und Kulturen Asiens, Afrikas und Ozeaniens 2020.12


The Seman­tics of Qurʾan­ic Lan­guage: al-Āḫi­ra
In The Seman­tics of Qurʾan­ic Lan­guage: al-Āḫi­ra, Ghas­san el Mas­ri offers a seman­tic study of the con­cept al-āḫi­ra ‘the End’ in the Qurʾān. The study is pref­aced with a detailed account of the late antique con­cept of ety­molo­gia (Seman­tic Ety­mol­o­gy). In his work, he demon­strates the neces­si­ty of this con­cept for appre­ci­at­ing the Qurʾān’s rhetor­i­cal strate­gies for claim­ing dis­cur­sive author­i­ty in the Abra­ham­ic the­o­log­i­cal tra­di­tion. The author applies the ety­mo­log­i­cal tool to his inves­ti­ga­tion of the the­o­log­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance of al-āḫi­ra, and con­cludes that the con­cept is pol­y­se­mous, and tol­er­ates a large vari­ety of inter­pre­ta­tions. The work is unique in that it draws exten­sive­ly on Bib­li­cal mate­r­i­al and presents a pletho­ra of pre-Islam­ic poet­ry vers­es in the analy­sis of the con­cept.
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Key­words in Chi­nese cul­ture
What ele­vates a mere word to the sta­tus of key­word? What does it mean to trans­late a key­word and map its mean­ing against oth­er lan­guages?
Like every major cul­ture, Chi­nese has its set of “key­words”: piv­otal terms of polit­i­cal, eth­i­cal, lit­er­ary and philo­soph­i­cal dis­course. Trac­ing the ori­gins, devel­op­ment, pol­y­se­my, and usages of key­words is one of the best ways to chart cul­tur­al and his­tor­i­cal changes. This vol­ume ana­lyzes some of these key­words from dif­fer­ent dis­ci­pli­nary and tem­po­ral per­spec­tives, offer­ing a new inte­gra­tive study of their seman­tic rich­ness, devel­op­ment tra­jec­to­ry, and dis­tinct usages in Chi­nese cul­ture.
The authors of the vol­ume explore dif­fer­ent key­words and focus on dif­fer­ent peri­ods and gen­res, rang­ing from philo­soph­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal texts of the War­ring States peri­od (453–221 BCE) to late impe­r­i­al (ca. 16th–18th cen­turies CE) lit­er­a­ture and phi­los­o­phy. They are guid­ed by a sim­i­lar set of ques­tions: What ele­vates a mere word to the sta­tus of “key­word”? What sort of res­o­nance and rever­ber­a­tions do we expect a key­word to have? How much does the seman­tic range of a key­word explain its sig­nif­i­cance? What kinds of argu­ments does it gen­er­ate? What are the sto­ries told to illus­trate its mean­ings? What are the polit­i­cal and intel­lec­tu­al impli­ca­tions of the keyword’s reeval­u­a­tion? What does it mean to trans­late a key­word and map its mean­ing against oth­er lan­guages?
Through­out Chi­nese his­to­ry, new ideas and new approach­es often mean rein­ter­pret­ing impor­tant words; rup­ture, con­ti­nu­ities, and inflec­tion points are insep­a­ra­ble from the lin­guis­tic his­to­ry of spe­cif­ic terms. The premise of this book is that tak­ing the long view and encom­pass­ing dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines yield new insights and unex­pect­ed con­nec­tions.
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