Mystical Languages of Unsaying by Michael A. Sells

By Michael A. Sells

The topic of Mystical Languages of Unsaying is a crucial yet overlooked mode of mystical discourse, apophasis. which accurately skill "speaking away." occasionally translated as "negative theology," apophatic discourse embraces the impossibility of naming whatever that's ineffable through regularly turning again upon its personal propositions and names. during this shut examine of apophasis in Greek, Christian, and Islamic texts, Michael Sells deals a sustained, severe account of the way apophatic language works, the conventions, good judgment, and paradoxes it employs, and the dilemmas encountered in any try and learn it.This publication contains readings of the main conscientiously apophatic texts of Plotinus, John the Scot Eriugena, Ibn Arabi, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart, with comparative connection with very important apophatic writers within the Jewish culture, similar to Abraham Abulafia and Moses de Leon. Sells unearths crucial universal gains within the writings of those authors, regardless of theirwide-ranging alterations in period, culture, and theology.By exhibiting how apophasis works as a style of discourse instead of as a unfavourable theology, this paintings opens a wealthy history to reevaluation. Sells demonstrates that the extra radical claims of apophatic writers—claims that critics have frequently brushed off as hyperbolic or condemned as pantheistic or nihilistic—are very important to an sufficient account of the paranormal languages of unsaying. This paintings additionally has vital implications for the connection of classical apophasis to modern languages of the unsayable. Sells demanding situations many greatly circulated characterizations of apophasis between deconstructionists in addition to a couple of universal notions approximately medieval proposal and gender family members in medieval mysticism.

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Extra resources for Mystical Languages of Unsaying

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65 The CHAPTER THREE terms "monism" and "pantheism" as applied to specific authors like Eriugena or to generalized trends of thought are replete with refer­ ence to the divine as substance. Common generalizations about mono­ Ibn cArabi's Polished Mirror: theism, about the difference between Western and Eastern concepts Identity Shift and Meaning Event of deity, and the divinity itself-whether viewed as existing or non­ existing-are based upon a substantialist understanding of deity. However, the nutritor's critique of substantialist understandings of "creation from nothing," leaves no doubt that to make his "nothing" into a "something" is to betray his thought.

E . something other, or it reveals to itself) . Ibn 'Arabi does not make such a distinction; the creative ambiguity between the reflexive and non-reflexive marks the perspective shift. It becomes impossible to determine whether the antecedent of the pronoun is the divine or for divine providence never shapes a form unless it receives divine spirit the human. which is called the "inspiriting" unravels the narrative as narrative), the pronouns here are not am­ which is the activation of the potential of that shaped image to receive the overflowing, the eternal manifestation that always was and always will be At the narrative level (which has not yet engaged the aporia that biguous.

The word is said to precede, surround, and conclude all intervals of time. Again we find paradox. How can the timeless precede temporal intervals? As with ambit and priusquam essent in the earlier passage, the temporal sense of terms such as praecedens (preceding) and concludens (concluding) is sub­ verted by the context. How can one precede or conclude time itself? This classic dilemma appears here not primarily as a doctrinal dispute on the eternity of the world, but rather as a continued linguistic say­ ing and unsaying of temporal and spatial meanings.

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