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Begotten, Not Made: Explorations in the Philosophy and Sociology of Religious Translation


Paperback, 310 pages

ISBN 1940813956

ISBN-13 9781940813950

Begotten, Not Made explores the philosophy and sociology of religious translation. The book ranges over a wide array of philosophers-including Cassirer, Beneviste, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Quine, Davidson, Derrida, Lyotard, Eco, and Žižek-and divides the main historical currents in the philosophy of translation into word-centric, proposition-centric, and sign-centric paradigms. The sign-centric paradigm, which argues that translation is a social act emergent from the innate interpretive plurality of any given text, is put forward as the one with the least anomalies. Taking a sign-centric approach, Begotten, Not Made asserts that translators always read texts in a non-ritual way, which means that translators, unlike other users and readers of religious texts, are in a unique position to discover new, originally lost meanings in ancient scripture, and to bring these alive again in new social and historical settings. Actual examples of D.T. Suzuki's Zen writings, the King James Bible, and Christianity in Japan, are presented as exemplifications of the core philosophical and sociological points being made in this book.

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