Thursday, December 2, 2010

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue. I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Do you think language needs to be redeemed?


Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

Romans 8,22
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

I guess language is part of creation, too. Redemption seems necessary.

Greg said...

Thanks. Is language part of creation? Maybe we could also discuss that one a bit? I'm not so sure if it is. At any rate, if it was, I wonder what redeemed language look like.

Lukas und Céline Kuhs said...

Greg, maybe you are right, since God spoke (language) to create everything.
One could say, that our language is part of creation as creatures speak it. On the other hand we are able to communicate with God through language. And maybe this is part of the being-created-in-the-image-of-God. Hmm some animals have quite deep language sets, too...

Greg said...

I could be mistaken on this, but I see beings and things created, not language per se. In some sense, language is already there, as you rightly say, God creates through speaking.

As far as "image" goee I don't think language is a definer, as you point out, animals too have some sophisticated language systems.

Julia said...

It is really hard for me to imagine what it would mean to "redeem language", as in my mind language itself may not be flawed, but perhaps the utilizers and interpreters. Or maybe I think of language as somehow infused with selfhood--therefore, like us, it is individualized, and this isn't a bad thing.

Or if we are thinking about the redemption of language in terms of language never being enough to capture our experiences, feelings, and thoughts...then perhaps we could think of it as somehow falling short. But it doesn't seem like we are able to do much about this without the divine.

And now I think of Babel. I wonder how that tale fits into this seems to suggest that language was once perfect and now broken. I don't know how this idea originated, but it is interesting nonetheless. So then would perfect language be universal language?

This is all kind of hard to wrap my mind around. Critique me.

Joshua said...

1. Is this due to Micha's post?

2. Words need to be redeemed. Language? Mhm...

Greg said...

Thanks. Yes, Micha put something on FB and it got going from there.

Greg said...

Thanks. I like your first sentence and see this view as having traction.

Seems like language will always fall short, as it is not intended to be able to capture in its entirety, that which is. Even with the divine, it is probable that there will be more than language.

I'm not convinced that Babel portrays a break in language, which seems to have already been there in chapter 10, prior to this episode. Maybe there were dialects and one language and the one language was confused, but the dialects remained.

Even if it was universal, language can't be perfect or imperfect, because these are ethical or ontological categories that don't prevail when it comes to language. And this, I reckon, goes back to your very first sentence.

Anonymous said...

Good question, Greg. It seems to me that language is constantly growing and shifting and changing, and as such, language is in one sense, directional. That being the case, it is possible that at times the direction of language could be redemptive.

Greg said...

Thanks. If you make a distinction between language and its direction and therefore affirm that the direction of language could be redemptive, I agree.