The art of the husbandry of meaning
Barry, Samuel Chew
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In this thesis I propose a definition of religion that places language at the heart of the religious endeavor. The logic of this definition impells the identification of the art of the husbandry of meaning as a sub-discipline of religion that regulates and standardizes language by way of the Confucian doctrine of the Rectification of Names and the principle of linguistic relativity of modern philosophy of language. Applying these conclusions to religion proper, I consider the activity of the husbandry of meaning undertaken by the Qur’an from various perspectives. Finally, I provide a translation with commentary of a section of the introduction to ‘Abd al-Salâm ibn Barrajân’s Commentary on the Beautiful Names of God, relating the doctrine and practice of Sufism to the conception of language found in the Qur’an and to the husbandry of meaning.