Divine language

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For specific natural languages considered "divine", see Sacred language. For the fictional language in the film The Fifth Element, see Divine Language (The Fifth Element).
"Language of God" redirects here. For the book by Francis Collins, see The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.

Divine language, the language of the gods, or, in monotheism, the language of God (or angels) is the concept of a mystical or divine proto-language, which predates and supersedes human speech.

Abrahamic traditions[edit]

Further information: Adamic language

In Judaism and Christianity, it is unclear whether the language used by God to address Adam was the language of Adam, who as name-giver, (Genesis 2:19) used it to name all living things, or if it was a different divine language. But since God is portrayed as using speech during creation, and as addressing Adam before Gen 2:19, some authorities assumed that the language of God was different from the language of Paradise invented by Adam, while most medieval Jewish authorities maintained that the Hebrew language was the language of God, which was accepted in Western Europe since at least the 16th century and until the early 20th century.[1]

The sacred language in Islam is Classical Arabic, which is a descendant of the Proto-Semitic language. Arabic, along with Hebrew and Aramaic, is a Semitic language. It is considered to be sacred, as, in the Muslim view, it is the language by which Allah revealed the final revealed book, the Koran, to Muhammad, Prophet of Islam, through the angel Jibril.

Indic traditions[edit]

In Vedic religion, "speech" Vāc, i.e. the language of liturgy, now known as Vedic Sanskrit, was considered the language of the gods.

Later Hindu scholarship, in particular the Mīmāṃsā school of Vedic hermeneutics, distinguished Vāc from Śábda, a distinction comparable to the Saussurian langue and parole. The concept of Sphoṭa was introduced as a kind of transcendent aspect of Śábda.

Occultism[edit]

In 1510, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa published Book I of his De Occulta Philosophia (translated to English in 1651 as Three Books of Occult Philosophy). Chapter 23 of the book is entitled "Of the tongue of Angels, and of their speaking amongst themselves, and with us" - wherein he states:

We might doubt whether Angels, or Demons, since they are of pure spirits, use any vocal speech, or tongue amongst themselves, or to us; but that Paul in some place saith, If I speak with the tongue of men, or angels: but what their speech or tongue is, is much doubted by many. For many think that if they use any Idiome, it is Hebrew, because that was the first of all, and came from heaven, and was before the confusion of languages in Babylon, in which the Law was given by God the Father, and the Gospell was preached by Christ the Son, and so many Oracles were given to the Prophets by the Holy Ghost: and seeing all tongues have, and do undergo various mutations, and corruptions, this alone doth alwaies continue inviolated.

Later, in chapter 27, Agrippa mentions the Divine Language again:

But because the letters of every tongue, as we shewed in the first book, have in their number, order, and figure a Celestiall and Divine originall, I shall easily grant this calculation concerning the names of spirits to be made not only by Hebrew letters, but also by Chaldean, and Arabick, Ægyptian, Greek, Latine, and any other...

In the late 16th century, the Elizabethan mathematician and scholar John Dee and the medium and alchemist Edward Kelley (both of whom were familiar with Agrippa's writings) claimed that during scrying sessions, a "Celestial Speech" was received directly from Angels. They recorded large portions of the language in their journals (published today as "The Five Books of the Mysteries" and "A True and Faithful Relation..."), along with a complete text in the language called the "Book of Loagaeth" (or "Speech From God"). Dee's language, called "Angelical" in his journals, often known today by the misnomer "Enochian", follows the basic Judeo-Christian mythology about the Divine Language. According to "A True and Faithful Relation..." Angelical was supposed to have been the language God used to create the world, and then used by Adam to speak with God and Angels and to name all things in existence. He then lost the language upon his Fall from Paradise, and constructed a form of proto-Hebrew based upon his vague memory of Angelical. This proto-Hebrew, then, was the universal human language until the time of the Confusion of Tongues at the Tower of Babel. After this, all the various human languages were developed, including an even more modified Hebrew (which we know as "Biblical Hebrew"). From the time of Adam to the time of Dee and Kelley, Angelical was hidden from humans with the single exception of the patriarch Enoch - who recorded the "Book of Loagaeth" for humanity, but the book was lost in the Deluge of Noah.

George William Russell in The Candle of Vision (1918) argued that (p. 120) "The mind of man is made in the image of Deity, and the elements of speech are related to the powers in his mind and through it to the being of the Oversoul. These true roots of language are few, alphabet and roots being identical."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Versteegh, Kees, The Arabic language, Edinburgh University Press, 2001, p.4

Further readings[edit]