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Title: The Nijmegen School and its 'Sociological' Approach to the So-Called 'Sondersprache' of Early Christians
Subtitle: A Preliminary Historiographical Study
Author(s): DENECKER, Tim
Journal: Latomus
Volume: 77    Issue: 2   Date: 2018   
Pages: 335-357
DOI: 10.2143/LAT.77.2.3284985

Abstract :
Joseph Schrijnen (1869-1938) and Christine Mohrmann (1903-1988), the key figures of the ‘Nijmegen School’ (‘École de Nimègue’), are well known for having developed the hypothesis that early Christians used a ‘special language’ (‘Sondersprache’, ‘langue spéciale’) within the Latin language of late antiquity. With this paper, I aim to provide a preliminary study paving the way for a comprehensive historiographical investigation of the Nijmegen School. I do so on the basis of four selected texts (published by Schrijnen in 1912 and 1932, and by Mohrmann in 1939 and 1977) reflecting the theoretical and methodological ‘state of affairs’ at four points in time. By analyzing these texts, I outline the historical development of the ‘Sondersprache’ hypothesis against the backdrop of contemporary evolutions in linguistics (and other disciplines). I pay attention to the roles played by ideological backgrounds and by scholarly networks when relevant, and I single out a number of avenues for further research.

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