This book examines the seemingly universal notion of a grammatical cosmos. Individual essays discuss how many of the great civilizations provide cognitive maps that emerge from a metaphysical linguistics in which sounds, syllables and other signs form the constructive elements of reality. The essays address cross-cultural issues such as: Why does grammar serve as a template in these cultures? How are such templates culturally contoured? To what end are they applied — i.e., what can one do with grammar — , and how does it work upon the world? The book is divided into three sections that deal with the metaphysics of linguistic creation; practices of encoding and decoding as a means of deciphering reality; and language in the widest sense as a medium for self- and cultural transformation. Contributors include: Jan Assman, Sara Sviri, Michael Stone, M. Finkelberg, Yigal Bronner, Martin Kern, Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony, Dan Martin, Jonathan Garb, Tom Hunter, David Shulman, and Sergio La Porta.
Sergio La Porta, Ph.D. (2001) in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University, is a Lecturer in Armenian Studies and Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His recent publications include
Two Anonymous Sets of Scholia on the Heavenly Hierarchy of Dionysius the Areopagite (CSCO, Peeters, 2007).
David Shulman, Ph.D. (1976) in Tamil and Sanskrit from SOAS, University of London, is the Renee Lang Professor of Humanistic Studies and scholar of South Indian philology and culture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His latest book with V. Narayana Rao is
God on the Hill: Temple Poems from Tirupati (OUP, 2006).
All those interested in Late Antiquity, Linguistics, Comparative Religion, South Asian Studies, Chinese Studies, Egyptology, Kabbalah, Armenian Studies, Islamic Mysticism, Tibetan, Religion and Society.