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Cover for Language between God and the Poets

Language between God and the Poets

Ma‘na in the Eleventh Century (Berkeley Series in Postclassical Islamic Scholarship #2)

Alexander Key


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In the Arabic eleventh-century, scholars were intensely preoccupied with the way that language generated truth and beauty. Their work in poetics, logic, theology, and lexicography defined the intellectual space between God and the poets. In Language Between God and the Poets, Alexander Key argues that ar-Raghib al-Isfahani, Ibn Furak, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), and Abd al-Qahir al-Jurjani shared a conceptual vocabulary based on the words ma‘na and haqiqah. They used this vocabulary to build theories of language, mind, and reality that answered perennial questions: how to structure language and reference, how to describe God, how to construct logical arguments, and how to explain poetic affect.

University of California Press, 9780520298019, 296pp.

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

About the Author

Alexander Key is Assistant Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature in the Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages at Stanford University.