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The Myth of Pentecost: literature, translation, theory, arts

Le mythe de la Pentecôte : littérature, traduction, pensée, arts

Der Pfingstmythos in Literatur, Übersetzung, Denken, Kunst

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Published on Thursday, December 01, 2022 by Lucie Choupaut

Summary

While there are countless studies devoted to the readings, representations and interpretations of the biblical myth of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), the rival narrative of the “miracle” of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) and its reception have received much less attention. This applies both to the exegesis of the Bible text and to its various adaptations in literature, art, theory and translate on studies. While the myth of Babel has generally given rise to pessimistic conceptions of linguistic diversity, the episode of the “tongues of fire” descending on the Apostles, transforming them into universal translators-interpreters, capable of speaking and being heard in languages they have not learned, suggests a different vision of multilingualism, language, meaning, or translatability.

Announcement

Argument

While there are countless studies devoted to the readings, representations and interpretations of the biblical myth of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9), the rival narrative of the ‘miracle’ of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) and its reception have received much less attention. This applies both to the exegesis of the Bible text and to its various adaptations in literature, art, theory and translate on studies. While the myth of Babel has generally given rise to pessimistic conceptions of linguistic diversity, the episode of the ‘tongues of fire’ descending on the Apostles, transforming them into universal translators-interpreters, capable of speaking and being heard in languages they have not learned, suggests a different vision of multilingualism, language, meaning, or translatability.

Moreover, this episode legitimizes the diffusion of the Bible’s message in all languages: the Christian Bible itself calls for its translation, which implies a conception of the text and of the sacred that differs from that which is promoted in Judaism and a fortiori in Islam, where the language of fixation of the text is sacred itself. Hence the possibility of a proliferation of biblical translations, including those serving as a support for the written fixation of languages that had been essentially oral until then, within the framework of the missions, for example.

Based on this first observation, our conference aims at analyzing, through case studies and historical overviews, the processes of reception, appropriation and theorization of the Pentecost story through literature, the arts and the history of ideas. For the twentieth century and the recent period, the corpus studied may be extended to the audio-visual media (cinema, radio plays, television series, etc.). Taken up by writers, artists and philosophers, the Pentecostal paradigm, both the narrative episode of the miracle of multilingual speech and what it underlies in the thinking of language, gives rise to representations, fictionalizations, and problematizations of phenomena such as glossolalia (in the psychological, religious, or poetic sense), xenoglossia, multilingualism, and translation, conveying different conceptions of man’s relationship to language and languages.

When, in which frameworks, in which forms, did the Pentecost story influence literary and artistic creation and intellectual life in French, German, English and other linguistic areas? How are the questions of linguistic diversity, translation, communication or, more generally, of meaning addressed? What links are there with theological, religious and mystical discourse? What are the links between the myth of Pentecost and that of Babel and their various interpretations? Is the relationship antithetical, complementary or restorative? 

Submission guidelines

We invite scholars in literature, languages, translation, art history, philosophy, etc. to send their proposals (between 250 and 500 words) for contributions, along with a brief bio-bibliographical note to claire.placial@univ-lorraine.fr and dirk.weissmann@univ-tlse2.fr

before March 31st, 2023.

A publication of the conference papers is planned by the Presses Universitaires de Lorraine. 

Orangisation committee

  • Claire Placial (Maitresse de conférences en littérature comparée, Université de Lorraine, UR Écritures, membre junior de l’IUF)
  • Dirk Weissmann (Professeur d’études germaniques, Université Toulouse Jean-Jaurès, Centre de Recherches et d’Études Germaniques et ITEM/CNRS)

References

Agamben, Giorgio, « La glossolalie comme problème philosophique », Le Discours analytique n° 6 (1983), p. 63-69.

Benjamin, Walter, « Die Aufgabe des Übersetzers », in: Gesammelte Schriften IV/1, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/Main 1972, p. 9-21. 

Borst, Arno, Der Turmbau von Babel, Geschichte der Meinungen über Ursprung und Vielfalt der Sprachen und Völker, München, dtv, 1995 (1957-1963),

Butterworth, Emily, The Unbridled Tongue: Babble and Gossip in Renaissance France, Oxford, Oxford Academic, 2016. 

Campos, Haroldo de, « De Babel a Pentecostes: uma utopia concreta », in: Regina Fabrini (org.), Interpretação. São Paulo, Louise, 1998.

Cassin, Barbara, Éloge de la traduction, Compliquer l’universel, Paris, Fayard, 2016.

Crépon, Marc, Les géographies de l’esprit, Enquête sur la caractérisation des peuples de Leibniz à Hegel, Paris, Payot, 1996.

Deleuze, Gilles, Critique et clinique, Paris, Minuit, 1993. 

Dembeck, Till, « Für eine Philologie der Mehrsprachigkeit, Zur Einführung », in : Dembeck, Till/Mein, Georg (Hrsg.), Philologie und Mehrsprachigkeit, Heidelberg, Winter, 2014, p. 9-38

Derrida, Jacques, Le monolinguisme de l’autre - ou la prothèse de l’origine, Paris, Galilée, 1996.

Eco, Umberto, La ricerca della lingua perfetta nella cultura europea, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1993.

Goldschmidt, Georges-Arthur, À l’insu de Babel. Paris, CNRS éditions, 2009.

Goodman, Felicitas D., Speaking in tongues: a cross-cultural study of glossolalia, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1972.

Greb, Michaela, Die Sprachverwirrung und das Problem des Mythos, Vom Turmbau zu Babel zum Pfingstwunder. Frankfurt/Main, Lang, 2007 

Harkema, Leslie J., « Speaking in Tongues : On Maragall, Unamuno and Pentecost », Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 96 : 8 (2019), p. 815-833..

Knauth, K. Alfons. « L’imaginaire somatique du multilinguisme dans le mythe et la littérature », in : Gianna Zocco (ed.), The Rhetoric of Topics and Forms, Berlin, De Gruyter, 2021, p. 273-308.

Lewitscharoff, Sibylle, Das Pfingstwunder, Berlin, Suhrkamp, 2016.

Métayer, Guillaume, A comme Babel, Traduction, poétique, Paris, La rumeur libre, 2020.

Mochel-Caballero, Anne-Frédérique, « La tour de Babel revisitée dans That Hideous Strength de C.S. Lewis », PolysèmesRevue d’études intertextuelles et intermédiales, 25 (2021), p. 18-56.

Moos, Peter von (Hrsg./dir.), Zwischen Babel und Pfingsten/Entre Babel et Pentecôte, Münster, Lit-Verlag, 2008.

Parizet, Sylvie, Babel : ordre ou chaos? Nouveaux enjeux du mythe dans les œuvres de la Modernité littéraire, Grenoble, Ellug, 2010.

Placial, Claire, « Biblical Myths of Translation », in : D’hulst, Lieven/Gambier, Yves (ed.), A History of Modern Translation Knowledge, Amsterdam, John Benjamins, 2018, p. 45-50.

Renggli, Gabriel, « Suspended Pluralities: Postlapsarian Language and Pentecostal Writing in James Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake’ », Modernism/modernity, 21:4 (2014), p. 997-1015.

Renken, Arno, Babel Heureuse, pour lire la traduction. Paris, Van Dieren Éditeur, 2012.

Rust, Hans, Das Zungenreden, Eine Studie zur Kritischen Religionspsychologie, München, J.F. Bergmann-Verlag, 1924. 

Schmeling, Manfred/Schmitz-Emans, Monika (Hrsg.): Multilinguale Literatur im 20. Jahrhundert, Würzburg, Königshausen & Neumann, 2000.

Schmitz-Emans, Monika, Die Sprache der modernen Dichtung, München, Fink, 1997.

Steiner, George, After Babel, Aspects of Language and Translation, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1975.

Stierle, Karlheinz, « Babel und Pfingsten, Die immanente Poetik von Apollinaires ‘Alcools’ », in: Warning, Rainer/Wehle, Winfried (Hrsg.), Lyrik und Malerei der Avantgarde, UTB, München, 1982, p. 61-112.

Tillmann, Thomas, Hermeneutik und Bibelexegese beim jungen Goethe, Berlin, De Gruyter, 2008.

Tomiche, Anne, « Glossolalies : du sacré au poétique », Revue de littérature comparée, 2003/1 (n° 305), p. 61-72. 

Trabant, Jürgen, Mithridates im Paradies: Kleine Geschichte des Sprachdenkens, München, C.H. Beck, 2003.

Waldenfels, Bernhard, Idiome des Denkens, Frankfurt/Main, Suhrkamp, 2005.

Weissmann, Dirk, « ‘Vor dem Hintergrund von Hoppes Mehrsprachigkeit zeigt sich die Diskussion um ihr Werk heute unvermutet in einem neuen Licht.’ Zur Inszenierung von Mehrsprachigkeit in Felicitas Hoppes ‘Hoppe’ », in : Julia Ilgner/Svenja Frank (Hrsg.), Ehrliche Erfindungen. Felicitas Hoppe als Erzählerin zwischen Tradition und Transmoderne, Bielefeld, Transkript, 2016, p. 389-410.

Places

  • Maison de la Recherche - Université Toulouse Jean-Jaurès, 5 allées Antonio Machado
    Toulouse, France (31)

Event format

Full on-site event


Date(s)

  • Friday, March 31, 2023

Keywords

  • Pentecôte, plurilinguisme, traduction, langage, littérature, pensée, histoire des idées, histoire de l'art, Babel

Contact(s)

  • Dirk Weissmann
    courriel : dirk [dot] weissmann [at] univ-tlse2 [dot] fr
  • Claire Placial
    courriel : claire [dot] placial [at] univ-lorraine [dot] fr

Information source

  • Dirk Weissmann
    courriel : dirk [dot] weissmann [at] univ-tlse2 [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« The Myth of Pentecost: literature, translation, theory, arts », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, December 01, 2022, https://calenda.org/1036312

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