Hoc est corpus
Hoc est corpus
Deixis and the Integration of Ritual Space
This chapter, which has both a historical and an analytic dimension, concerns the ritual of the ‘Eucharist’ or ‘mass’, best known in the Catholic variant of Christianity. The first part of the paper outlines the part of the ritual’s complex history that is concerned with various theological attempts to explain or justify particular interpretations of the ritual that have been the subject of conflict. In particular, it outlines the intellectual history of efforts to apply sophisticated theories of language developed in the medieval period and the early modern period. These approaches already involved a theory of deixis that foreshadows modern theories in linguistics that are entirely non-theological. It is a recent linguistic theory, Deictic Space Theory, that is outlined and applied in second part of the paper. This is a cognitive approach to core aspects of linguistic meaning that are grounded in spatial cognition. The overall aim is to investigate, in context, the possible cognitive and emotional effects that may be brought about by the interaction among linguistic formulae and other features of the ritual. Close linguistic and multimodal analysis of the crucial and most controversial moment of the Eucharist is speculatively linked with known psychological, cognitive, and neural processes.
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