Journal Article

God's Invisible Traces: The Sacred in Fallen Language, Translation and Literariness

Elisabeth M. Loevlie

in Literature and Theology

Volume 23, issue 4, pages 442-458
Published in print December 2009 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online September 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frp043
God's Invisible Traces: The Sacred in Fallen Language, Translation and Literariness

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The story of the Fall inscribes the myth of a fallen language as the absolute other of the original sacred. Hence the dualistic scheme between a fallen materiality and a metaphysical God. This article explores how the death of this God is not merely a secular turn, but the opening of a different, anti-theological, or fallen religiosity that allows us to trace the sacred in unexpected places—also within fallen language. Translation and literature will be explored as instances where language performs its own fallenness—its materiality, arbitrariness and difference—and thereby releases a sacred expression. The essay considers 17th-century theologian Martin de Barcos’ letters regarding translation, Derrida's essay ‘Des Tours de Babel’ and notions of literariness based on Blanchot and Mallarmé.

Journal Article.  8023 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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