Ancient Languages Workshop

As a way of acquiring skill in studying the books of the One Alone, Corvid College will begin holding weekly or bi-weekly round-the-table study sessions during which we gradually learn Sanskrit, ancient Chinese and Greek and Latin—all at once.

The Ancient Languages Workshop is offered as an adjunct to the study of the One Alone, but you needn't enroll in Logos Tao Deus to participate. It will include, to begin, those languages in which the One Alone, or something like it, was first and most deeply discussed: Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and Chinese. Later we might insert Hebrew, Arabic, Old English and Middle High German, and Finnish. Unlike other language programs, we will study all four languages at once, without working up a sweat or developing linguaphobia. Uniquely for a language program, the four languages will be made to speak to each other, translating central texts from each into the other three languages. We work in the region where religious, philosophical, and mystical cultures meet and agree. By co-inherent translation of core texts, we hear whether or not all That is One.

We are, in our main idea, questing for what may be expressed in human language about things beyond ordinary language, for what the One shows of itself in language, etc. It is a mystically motivated study, not for the dogmatic atheist, and may even sometimes involve contemplative practices and singing, and maybe some calligraphy.

Likely we will meet on a weekday, or weeknight, possibly on Saturday morning.

Our first task will be to assemble texts, which will all be classics that have been or will be read sometime in the Logos Tao Deus program. I think. They will also be texts in which various literary devices like parallelism or repetition with variations (found so prominently in the Psalms) support the learning of ancient languages. Here is a likely first set:

  • Tao Te CHing (道德經)
  • Plotinus's Fifth and Sixth enneads (εννεαδοι πεμπτης και εκτης)
  • Taitiriya Upanishad (तैत्तिरीयोपनिषत्)
  • Bonaventura's Journey of the Mind to God (Itinerarium Mentis in Deum)

I can recommend to you the website for Chinese classics with Chinese characters and English translations. Many of the books will have online editions at dedicated websites. Also, there is for all texts Greek and Latin. But it is best if you have letters and characters in lines on paper in front of you, and a pen or pencil to write with, so we'll also look for printed books of central texts. For Greek and Latin works, much of it is in the Loeb Classical Library. Our method includes comparing translations, discovering parts of speech and grammar for ourselves. Maybe we'll prohibit the use of all student textbooks.

I will not be teaching these but directing our collective study. I have at one time or another formally or informally tried to learn these four languages. I dabble especially in Latin (took it in grad school), and a bit in Greek. I enjoy picking over Chinese characters, but Sanskrit was beyond my individual acquirement. I am a philologus or an amator verbi, and will contribute my love to the work.

Useless, you say. Yes in a taoist sense. Useful for a higher, not strictly worldly, purpose. See Chuang-tzu's discussions with Hui-tzu, ch 1.

Interested parties are invited to contact the organizer, Eric, to express interest; gro.egellocdivroc|kcube#gro.egellocdivroc|kcube.

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