SEVEN BRIEF LESSONS ON LANGUAGE
by Dunne, Jonathan
Language is encoded. The words we use every day can tell us something about the meaning of human life, our purpose in this world, the divine being known as God, the creation of the world, the Fall, the economy, the environment… Once our eyes are opened at birth or soon after, we think that we see, but we do not realize that there is another level to reality, a spiritual dimension, for which we need our spiritual eyes to be opened. When this happens, when we believe in God and participate in the sacraments of the Church, we begin to perceive God all around us, in everyday objects such as trees, rocks, nature. These other realities, hitherto unseen, are called ‘logoi’ in Greek – fragments of the Word. They are also present in language. Apart from the meaning we give them, words contain their own meaning. They can be read in reverse, the letters can be rearranged or changed according to the rules of phonetics, their order in the alphabet, their appearance. The rules that must be followed to find connections between words and uncover their deeper meaning are always the same. Seven Brief Lessons on Language aims to give the reader a simple, but in-depth view of the spiritual side to language. Its title and format are adapted from Carlo Rovelli’s book Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, but the content is entirely different. Each chapter can be read in a single sitting. Put together, these seven lessons (and a short postscript) will open the reader’s eyes to a reality they never knew existed.
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Publication Date: 07 January 2023 / Language: English / Hardback: 100 pages / Dimensions: 203 x 127 mm / Price: £12.99 / €16.99 / $19.99
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Dunne writes with the heart of a poet and mystic. His lines are simple and elegant, his thinking sharp and astute. Each chapter feels like a prayer and meditation—an invocation to a higher power that suggests the author is experiencing the world for the first time. Readers of all denominations and belief systems will find much to ponder here and may just see the world a little differently after finishing the last page.
BlueInk Review (starred review)
The book makes a cogent argument that humans are not the authors (creators), but merely the translators (users and manipulators) of what exists in the world. Here, the role of translator is somewhat magical, and the book honors human beings’ role and purpose as givers and receivers of meaning, love, and kindness. Seven Brief Lessons on Language is an insightful language arts book with an unusual take on the spiritual underpinnings of English.
In writing Seven Brief Lessons on Language, Jonathan Dunne uses his considerable academic skills, backed by research and experience, to bring new meaning to familiar biblical passages and parables. Jonathan approaches his subject in an unconventional and innovative manner. He rearranges letters, substitutes others, uses look-alikes, and reads letters in reverse. Upper and lower case letters are also transposed. The results are remarkable! His interpretations and conclusions may not find favor with all Christians but will provide food for thought for many others. The book offers new explanations for words and texts whose meaning has been either obscured or taken for granted over the years. It will appeal to biblical scholars and those searching for a new depth of understanding of their faith and should be read with an open heart.
Readers’ Favorite (five-star review)
Seven Brief Lessons on Language is an informative, incredible, and essential book that will bring new meaning to the Bible and language in general.