Mesbah seeks to trace the role of translation in renewing Arab rhetoric in general, and philosophical rhetoric in particular. In so doing, he explores how various strategies of renewal have been linked to the theoretical and historical challenges arising from the Arab world’s entry into globalization and modernity since the early 19th century, and to the type of translation that was being practiced at the time. Such developments came with their share of problems, the first of which questioned why Muslims fell behind while others progressed, and the second dealt with the relationship between modernity and identity. Translation is deeply linked to both of these questions. Deemed as one answer to the question of progress, translation signified a tense relationship with language, which in itself is deeply connected to the question of identity. Within this framework, Mesbah presents examples of Arabic writing and translation in political thought and philosophy during the last two centuries to reveal how linguists sought to reclaim and renew the Arabic written word. The use of the term “to renew” was a conscious alternative to the term “to advance” since the idea of “advancement” carries the connotations of a European evolutionary ideology from the 19th century, replacing the dominant thesis of “progress” in European enlightenment thought during the 18th century. Subsequently, Mesbah highlights how the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s came with the notorious “modernization” discourse, heralding a “multicolored” view of development; he then investigates the notion of modernization as discussed in successive development reports issued by the United Nations.