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Glossolalia and Linguistic Alterity

The Ontology of Ineffable Speech

Evandro Bonfim

This article proposes a revised definition of glossolalia based on the ritual value of incomprehensible speech, which allows for an approach to meaning emergence in non-human languages and the issue of extreme linguistic alterity. The main social and acoustic features associated with glossolalia will be presented through the case study of a Christian charismatic community in Brazil (the Canção Nova), showing us how linguistic evidence supports different notions of Christian personhood and an iconic-based communication between human and divine beings.

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Disruptive Technology

Social Media from Modiano to Zola and Proust

Elizabeth Emery

In this article, Patrick Modiano’s 2014 Nobel Prize acceptance speech serves as a springboard to consider the lieu commun that “disruptive technology” is killing both literature and the contemporary press. Modiano’s depiction of himself as part of an “intermediate generation,” trapped between the intense focus of great nineteenth-century novelists and the many distractions of contemporary writers, cleverly invoked millennial anxieties related to new technology in order to establish his own place within literary history.

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The Pardoner’s Passing and How It Matters

Gender, Relics and Speech Acts

Alex da Costa

This article looks again at the figure of the Pardoner in the Canterbury Tales and reconsiders the possibility that ‘he’ is a woman passing as a man. The importance of such a reading is revealed by exploring the anxieties this raises over the relationship between outward appearance and inner substance or reality, and demonstrating parallels with medieval anxieties over the authenticity of relics and the validity of religious speech acts, including those involved in the transubstantiation of the elements of the Eucharist.

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Society of Centaurs

Philosophical Remarks on Automobility

Peter Sloterdijk

It is characteristic for philosophical speech to keep its distance from problem-solving thinking. It seems to be important, in the modern day climate of worry that surrounds discussions about transport and society, to keep this in mind—the possibility of an unrestrained and indeed celebratory mode of thought, one that today goes under the name “philosophy.” Thought can only be unrestrained if it can shake off the agitation caused by current concerns, becoming then, in a literal sense, luxurious.

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Going Rogue

Bianca at Large

Elizabeth Mazzola

This article explores how Shakespeare transforms his early picture of female virtue embodied by Bianca Minola – safely stowed in her chambers in The Taming of the Shrew – into the freedom we find in Othello's Bianca, who is an emblem of the larger world; her movements aligned with integrity, the ability to reason, and mastery of her body. I investigate how Bianca's 'nomadic' status guarantees her safety and speech, and also locate her agency and mobility alongside the movements of female characters like Moll Cutpurse, Isabella Whitney's dejected maidservant, and Spenser's Britomart – all guardians of a world to which they only peripherally belong.

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Ronald E. Santoni

By this time, most of us are only too familiar with the vehement denunciations of Benny Lévy and his allegedly manipulative, even pernicious, influence on Sartre during Sartre’s last ten years. In her biography of Sartre, Sartre: A Life, Annie Cohen-Solal highlights some of the attacks on Lévy: Roland Castro indicted him as “the least humanist of all leftists, a monster of cynicism and mysticism”; Olivier Todd charged him with the “corruption of an old man”; an ex-Maoist comrade characterized him as “a moralistic fool … capable of turning … an audience around with his perfect speeches and crushing intelligence.”

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The Jew Under Glass

The Problem of Being An Exhibition Object

Richard Schneider

The opening last year of the Jewish Museum in Berlin attracted much attention in the German public arena. It was a media spectacle, splendidly served by radio, television and the written word. The Federal President and Chancellor attended, accompanied by German celebrities from the worlds of the arts, science, religion and politics. Rarely has a German museum been transfixed by such a spotlight, as was Berlin’s Jewish Museum then. Gala dinners, gala speeches, a gala concert – the new symbol of Berlin was celebrated with enormous extravagance.

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Christhard Hoffmann

A few weeks after the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany

in May 1949, American High Commissioner John McCloy addressed

an assembly of representatives from the West German Jewish community.

In a much-discussed speech, he emphasized the central

importance of public recollection of the crimes of the Third Reich for

the political culture of the young republic. In particular, said McCloy,

the relationship of West Germany towards the Jews would be “one of

the real touchstones and the test of Germany’s progress toward the

light. The moment that Germany has forgotten the Buchenwalds and

Auschwitzes, that was the point at which everyone could begin to

despair of any progress in Germany.”

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Mordechai Kremnitzer and Shiri Krebs

Democracy is not just about free and fair elections. It requires at least some minimal substantial guarantees, such as freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, that formulate and enable free choice of autonomous and equal agents. These notions are well founded in Israeli constitutional law, but in recent years it seems that this basic understanding of the democratic process is weakening, especially as reflected in the actions of the Knesset. Several recent examples of Knesset legislation processes suggest that Israeli democratic culture is being eroded, as some of democracy’s fundamental notions are abandoned in favor of national-chauvinism and intolerance.

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Taking Text Seriously

Remarks on the Methodology of the History of Political Thought

João Feres Júnior

Quentin Skinner's methodological project contains a fundamental imprecision that is rarely mentioned by the secondary literature: the assumption, present in several of his methodological texts, that a theory designed for the analysis of oral communication (speech act theory) can be unreservedly used for interpreting text. In this article I will use some of Paul Ricoeur's phenomenological insights on the difference between textual and oral communication in order to advance a systematic critique of Skinner's project and to suggest new methodological possibilities for the history of political thought and related disciplines. This procedure will also allow me to organize some of the criticism raised against Skinner's Collingwoodean approach since its inception.