Mystical Languages of Unsaying

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, ...

Mystical Languages of Unsaying

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 about medieval thought and gender relations in medieval mysticism.

Christian Mysticism

He focuses exclusively on the role of negative or apophatic language, or as he
calls it 'languages of unsaying'. He too suggests that its purpose is more
epistemological than experiential. He argues that in mystical texts negative and
positive ...

Christian Mysticism

This book introduces students to Christian mysticism and modern critical responses to it. Christianity has a rich tradition of mystical theology that first emerged in the writings of the early church fathers, and flourished during the Middle Ages. Today Christian mysticism is increasingly recognised as an important Christian heritage relevant to today's spiritual seekers. The book sets out to provide students and other interested readers with access to the main theoretical approaches to Christian mysticism – including those propounded by William James, Steven Katz, Bernard McGinn, Michael Sells, Denys Turner and Caroline Walker-Bynum. It also explores postmodern re-readings of Christian mysticism by authors such as Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Marion and Jean-François Lyotard. The book first introduces students to the main themes that underpin Christian mysticism. It then reflects on how modern critics have understood each of them, demonstrating that stark delineation between the different theoretical approaches eventually collapses under the weight of the complex interaction between experience and knowledge that lies at the heart of Christian mysticism. In doing so, the book presents a deliberate challenge to a strictly perennialist reading of Christian mysticism. Anyone even remotely familiar with Christian mysticism will know that renewed interest in Christian mystical writers has created a huge array of scholarship with which students of mysticism need to familiarise themselves. This book outlines the various modern theoretical approaches in a manner easily accessible to a reader with little or no previous knowledge of this area, and offers a philosophical/theological introduction to Christian mystical writers beyond the patristic period important for the Latin Western Tradition.

Unsaying God

... Mystical Dimensions of Islam, 49; Schimmel, Pain and Grace, 63; Schimmel, As
Through a Veil, 79; Schimmel, The Triumphal Sun, 1o; Katz, Mysticism and
Language, 3–32; Sells, Mystical Languages of Unsaying; Franke, On What
Cannot ...

Unsaying God

What cannot be said about God, and how can we speak about God by negating what we say? Traveling across prominent negators, denialists, ineffectualists, paradoxographers, naysayers, ignorance-pretenders, unknowers, I-don't-knowers, and taciturns, Unsaying God: Negative Theology in Medieval Islam delves into the negative theological movements that flourished in the first seven centuries of Islam. Aydogan Kars argues that there were multiple, and often competing, strategies for self-negating speech in the vast field of theology. By focusing on Arabic and Persian textual sources, the book defines four distinct yet interconnected paths of negative speech formations on the nature of God that circulated in medieval Islamic world. Expanding its scope to Jewish intellectuals, Unsaying God also demonstrates that religious boundaries were easily transgressed as scholars from diverse sectarian or religious backgrounds could adopt similar paths of negative speech on God. This is the first book-length study of negative theology in Islam. It encompasses many fields of scholarship, and diverse intellectual schools and figures. Throughout, Kars demonstrates how seemingly different genres should be read in a more connected way in light of the cultural and intellectual history of Islam rather than as different opposing sets of orthodoxies and heterodoxies.

The Bridge Betrayed

The Bridge Betrayed reveals the crucial role of the religious mythology of Kosovo in the destruction of Yugoslavia and the genocide in Bosnia. A new preface discusses the deepening crisis in Kosovo - the epicenter of that mythology.

The Bridge Betrayed

The recent atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina have stunned people throughout the world. With Holocaust memories still painfully vivid, a question haunts us: how is this savagery possible? Michael A. Sells answers by demonstrating that the Bosnian conflict is not simply a civil war or a feud of age-old adversaries. It is, he says, a systematic campaign of genocide and a Christian holy war spurred by religious mythologies. This passionate yet reasoned book examines how religious stereotyping—in popular and official discourse—has fueled Serbian and Croatian ethnic hatreds. Sells, who is himself Serbian American, traces the cultural logic of genocide to the manipulation by Serb nationalists of the symbolism of Christ's death, in which Muslims are "Christ-killers" and Judases who must be mercilessly destroyed. He shows how "Christoslavic" religious nationalism became a central part of Croat and Serbian politics, pointing out that intellectuals and clergy were key instruments in assimilating extreme religious and political ideas. Sells also elucidates the ways that Western policy makers have rewarded the perpetrators of the genocide and punished the victims. He concludes with a discussion of how the multireligious nature of Bosnian society has been a bridge between Christendom and Islam, symbolized by the now-destroyed bridge at Mostar. Drawing on historical documents, unpublished United Nations reports, articles from Serbian and Bosnian media, personal contacts in the region, and Internet postings, Sells reveals the central role played by religious mythology in the Bosnian tragedy. In addition, he makes clear how much is at stake for the entire world in the struggle to preserve Bosnia's existence as a multireligious society.

Logic in Religious Discourse

... Mystical Languages of Unsaying (I994) seemed poised to redirect the future of
mysticism studies, fifteen years after its publication it has yet to receive an
extensive critical analysis or positive structural implementation. This essay
undertakes ...

Logic in Religious Discourse

Knocking on Heaven's Door is the oldest human dream that seems unrealized still. Religious discourse does show the road, but it requires a blind faith in return. In this book logicians try to hear Heaven's Call and to analyze religious discourse. As a result, the notion of religious logic as a part of philosophical logic is introduced. Its tasks are (1) to construct consistent logical systems formalizing religious reasoning that at first sight seems inconsistent (this research is fulfilled within the limits of modal logic, paraconsistent logic and many-valued logic), (2) to carry out an illocutionary analysis of religious discourse (this research is fulfilled in frames of illocutionary logics), and (3) to formalize Ancient and Medieval logical theories used in the theology of an appropriate religion (they could be studied within the limits of unconventional logics, such as non-monotonic logics, non-well-founded logics, etc.).

Meister Eckhart

This is the first of a series that takes the spiritual fathers and mothers of the past as models of methodology for a theology adequate to the needs of the present and the future.

Meister Eckhart

The author places Eckhart in his historical context and analyzes the stages of his mystical expression. Forman also looks at Eckhart's teachings for their practical implications for theological investigation.

Toward the Millennium

Messianism , on the other See the important recent discussion of the subject of
mystical apophatic language in : Michael A . Sells , Mystical Languages of
Unsaying , Chicago and London : University of Chicago Press , 1995 ; compare
the ...

Toward the Millennium

This collection on messianic expectations from biblical times to the present represents a fresh re-evaluation of a variety of religious, political and cultural phenomena. The focus is on Judaism, but aspects of messianism in Graeco-Roman, Christian, and Islamic worlds alongside modern political issues are considered.

Minding the Spirit

Words That Reach into the Silence Mystical Languages of Unsaying MARK S .
BURROWS And what you thought you came for Is only a shell , a husk of
meaning From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled If at all . - T . S .
Eliot ...

Minding the Spirit

Arranged under five broad headings, these essays create an insightful dialogue on the questions, methods, and critical approaches implemented by the discipline's top scholars.

The Blue Sapphire of the Mind

... see: Michael Sells, Mystical Languages of Unsaying (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1994); Denys Turner, The Darkness of God: Negativity in
Christian Mysticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995); Thomas A.
Carlson, ...

The Blue Sapphire of the Mind

"There are no unsacred places," the poet Wendell Berry has written. "There are only sacred places and desecrated places." What might it mean to behold the world with such depth and feeling that it is no longer possible to imagine it as something separate from ourselves, or to live without regard for its well-being? To understand the work of seeing things as an utterly involving moral and spiritual act? Such questions have long occupied the center of contemplative spiritual traditions. In The Blue Sapphire of the Mind, Douglas E. Christie proposes a distinctively contemplative approach to ecological thought and practice that can help restore our sense of the earth as a sacred place. Drawing on the insights of the early Christian monastics as well as the ecological writings of Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Annie Dillard, and many others, Christie argues that, at the most basic level, it is the quality of our attention to the natural world that must change if we are to learn how to live in a sustainable relationship with other living organisms and with one another. He notes that in this uniquely challenging historical moment, there is a deep and pervasive hunger for a less fragmented and more integrated way of apprehending and inhabiting the living world--and for a way of responding to the ecological crisis that expresses our deepest moral and spiritual values. Christie explores how the wisdom of ancient and modern contemplative traditions can inspire both an honest reckoning with the destructive patterns of thought and behavior that have contributed so much to our current crisis, and a greater sense of care and responsibility for all living beings. These traditions can help us cultivate the simple, spacious awareness of the enduring beauty and wholeness of the natural world that will be necessary if we are to live with greater purpose and meaning, and with less harm, to our planet.

Imagining Language

Mystical Dimensions of Islam. Chapel Hill: University of North ... In Malcolm
Schofield and Martha Nuss- aum, eds., Language and Logos: Studies in Ancient
Greek Philosophy, 61-82. Cambridge: ... Mystical Languages of Unsaying.
Chicago: ...

Imagining Language

When works such as Joyce's Finnegans Wake and Stein's Tender Buttons were first introduced, they went so far beyond prevailing linguistic standards that they were widely considered "unreadable," if not scandalous. Jed Rasula and Steve McCaffery take these and other examples of twentieth-century avant-garde writing as the starting point for a collection of writings that demonstrates a continuum of creative conjecture on language from antiquity to the present. The anthology, which spans three millennia, generally bypasses chronology in order to illuminate unexpected congruities between seemingly discordant materials. Together, the writings celebrate the scope and prodigality of linguistic speculation in the West going back to the pre-Socratics.