Monday, February 23, 2009

Acquiring a body of light through speech

Here's how to do it: read Seth Sanders' essay in this collection of early Jewish and Christian Mysticism studies:

It investigates mysticism as linguistic practice by comparing Babylonian and Second Temple Jewish journeys to heaven. Previous debate focused on how the first heavenly journeys emerged and whether they were vision or fiction: did people think they could actually become angels? It contains some of the core arguments of my forthcoming Myths of Revelation (in revision for Brill) draws on linguistic anthropology to reexamines Jewish mysticism’s ancient Near Eastern roots. The experiences behind the texts are lost, but we can historically trace the possibilities they generated through verbal performance. Rather than an essence, Jewish mysticism was a constellation of new genres and ritual roles that let participants realize ancient Near Eastern myth under the imperial politics of Hellenism. And seeing mystical discourse concretely, as both textual interpretation and ritual action, raises new questions: how do changes in written participant roles affect our very idea of human nature and its limits?

1 comment:

Stephen C. Carlson said...

Welcome back to blogging!