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The Slow Fall of Babel
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  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: December 2021
  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online ISBN: 9781108980821
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Book description

This is the story of the transformation of the ways in which the increasingly Christianized elites of the late antique Mediterranean experienced and conceptualized linguistic differences. The metaphor of Babel stands for the magnificent edifice of classical culture that was about to reach the sky, but remained self-sufficient and self-contained in its virtual monolingualism – the paradigm within which even Latin was occasionally considered just a dialect of Greek. The gradual erosion of this vision is the slow fall of Babel that took place in the hearts and minds of a good number of early Christian writers and intellectuals who represented various languages and literary traditions. This step-by-step process included the discovery and internalization of the existence of multiple other languages in the world, as well as subsequent attempts to incorporate their speakers meaningfully into the holistic and distinctly Christian picture of the universe.

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