Aftermaths of Babel

By: Emad Mirmotahari  

In this paper I will explore the scriptural--meaning biblical, Judaic, and Quranic--ancestry of contemporary attitudes toward translation as a linguistic phenomenon. I am interested specifically in exploring religious origins of the commonly suspicious and prejudicial attitudes toward translation. I argue, ultimately, that the prevailing negative attitudes toward translation are founded in misreadings and mis-characterizations of religious doctrine. Instead, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam encourage and practice translation, even as Islam and Judaism in particular place particular emphasis on Hebrew and Arabic as divine languages.

Religion Translation Scripture
Religious Foundations
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Emad Mirmotahari

Associate Professor, English, Duquesne University

I am interested in world and postcolonial literatures. Specifically, I work on African literatures and literatures of the African diaspora. I am also interested in translation studies.