Mystical Languages of Unsaying by Michael A. Sells

By Michael A. Sells

The topic of Mystical Languages of Unsaying is a vital yet missed mode of mystical discourse, apophasis. which accurately ability "speaking away." occasionally translated as "negative theology," apophatic discourse embraces the impossibility of naming anything that's ineffable by means of consistently turning again upon its personal propositions and names. during this shut learn of apophasis in Greek, Christian, and Islamic texts, Michael Sells deals a sustained, serious account of ways apophatic language works, the conventions, good judgment, and paradoxes it employs, and the dilemmas encountered in any try and examine it.This booklet 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 vital apophatic writers within the Jewish culture, akin to Abraham Abulafia and Moses de Leon. Sells unearths crucial universal positive aspects within the writings of those authors, regardless of theirwide-ranging alterations in period, culture, and theology.By displaying how apophasis works as a method of discourse instead of as a unfavourable theology, this paintings opens a wealthy historical past to reevaluation. Sells demonstrates that the extra radical claims of apophatic writers—claims that critics have usually disregarded as hyperbolic or condemned as pantheistic or nihilistic—are important to an sufficient account of the paranormal languages of unsaying. This paintings additionally has very important 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 few universal notions approximately medieval idea and gender relatives in medieval mysticism.

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Such terms abound in Islamic dis­ course and sound repetitive in English. They are usually taken as a sign of piety. However, in Ibn 'Arabi the term may have another purpose as well, as an apophatic marker (like the Plotinian hoion). " The polished-mirror imagery of passage l a gains its effect as per­ formative apophasis by acting out semantically the aporia evoked mythically in the story of the nonexistent divine names complaining of their tension. At the moment of the polishing of the mirror, the distinction between self and other is semantically undone by a fusing of the antecedents of the pronoun "he/it" so that it can be read either reflexively or nonreflexively.

As long as this "beyond-being" is treated ontologically, its appearance as a grammatical subject ("it" circumscribes) locks it into categories it allegedly transcends. 53 Even the act of calling it ' 'beyond" reifies it through the spatial or temporal senses of "beyond" and through the implied deliminations within the act of naming it epekeina . The nutritor goes on to make explicit what was implicit in the earlier text on participation. 54 There the understanding of all things was said not to be the understanding of preexistent objects.

Vision has become self-vision . 1 The language of Ibn

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