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Mystical Languages of Unsaying : National Bureau of Economic Research - Michael A. Sells

Mystical Languages of Unsaying

National Bureau of Economic Research

Paperback Published: 1st January 1994
ISBN: 9780226747873
Number Of Pages: 256

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The subject of "Mystical Languages of Unsaying" is an important but neglected mode of mystical discourse, "apophasis," which literally means "speaking away." Sometimes translated as "negative theology," apophatic discourse embraces the impossibility of naming something that is ineffable by continually turning back upon its own propositions and names. In this close study of "apophasis" in Greek, Christian, and Islamic texts, Michael Sells offers a sustained, critical account of how apophatic language works, the conventions, logic, and paradoxes it employs, and the dilemmas encountered in any attempt to analyze it.
This book includes readings of the most rigorously apophatic texts of Plotinus, John the Scot Eriugena, Ibn Arabi, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart, with comparative reference to important apophatic writers in the Jewish tradition, such as Abraham Abulafia and Moses de Leon. Sells reveals essential common features in the writings of these authors, despite their
wide-ranging differences in era, tradition, and theology.
By showing how "apophasis" works as a mode of discourse rather than as a negative theology, this work opens a rich heritage to reevaluation. Sells demonstrates that the more radical claims of apophatic writers--claims that critics have often dismissed as hyperbolic or condemned as pantheistic or nihilistic--are vital to an adequate account of the mystical languages of unsaying. This work also has important implications for the relationship of classical "apophasis" to contemporary languages of the unsayable. Sells challenges many widely circulated characterizations of "apophasis" among deconstructionists as well as a number of common notions aboutmedieval thought and gender relations in medieval mysticism.

Note to the Reader
Awakening without Awakener: Apophasis in Plotinus
The Nothingness of God in John the Scot Eriugena
Ibn Arabi's Polished Mirror: Identity Shift and Meaning Event
Ibn Arabi's Garden among the Flames: The Heart Receptive of Every Form
Apophasis of Desire and the Burning of Marguerite Porete
Meister Eckhart: Birth and Self-Birth
Porete and Eckhart: The Apophasis of Gender
Selected Bibliography
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780226747873
ISBN-10: 0226747875
Series: National Bureau of Economic Research
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 1st January 1994
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.45

Earn 98 Qantas Points
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