LE STUDIUM / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship
In residence at
Pr Marie-Luce Demonet
The search for the adamic language and the emergence of transcultural aspiration in the aftermath of the european maritime discoveries
The medieval and early-modern speculations on Adamic language (the tongue spoken in the Garden of Eden, lost in the episode of the “confusion of tongues” as the result of the sacrilegious attempt of constructing the Tower of Babel) are related to the question of paradisical origins of man and the essential unity of the human kind. The question formed a crossroad between the Christian thought and the traditions of the other monotheistic religions. The hypothesis of recuperation of this primordial tongue became an important nexus of the Utopian thought, progressing toward more and more generalized visions of restitution, not only of language, but also of peace, justice and unity of people and things.
The aim of this proposal is to analyse the ambition of recuperating the Adamic tongue as an early stimulus to cross the cultural frontiers in search of intellectual and spiritual fullness. The research will focus on the period that followed the maritime discoveries and on the hope of rebuilding the lost language through contacts with the newly descovered peoples. The central aspect analysed is the relationship between the problem of the lost primordial tongue and the valorization of intellectual activity beyond the cultural frontiers: the idea that the lost path of truth (via veritatis perdita) can only be found through the confrontation with otherness. The line of thinkers going from Ramon Llull to Guillaume Postel, João de Barros and António Vieira, in the focus of this project, epitomizes the necessity of transcultural and transreligious dimension of intellectual activity.
The central hypothesis to be proven is the early-modern emergence of the transcultural aspiration, i.e. the desire of crossing the cultural frontier in search of intellectual or spiritual accomplishment. This study connects the early-modern history of ideas and the field of reflection on transculturality, usually associated with the present-time conditions of global mobility. Apparently marginal topic, such as the idea of generalized restitution (restitutio omnium) through language, becomes a starting point for retelling our transcultural past.