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During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, great new trends of Jewish thought emerged whose widely varied representatives--Kabbalists, philosophers, and astrologers--each claimed that their particular understanding revealed the actual secret of the Torah. They presented their own readings in a coded fashion that has come to be regarded by many as the very essence of esotericism. Concealment and Revelation takes us on a fascinating journey to the depths of the esoteric imagination. Carefully tracing the rise of esotericism and its function in medieval Jewish thought, Moshe Halbertal's richly detailed historical and cultural analysis gradually builds conceptual-philosophical force to culminate in a masterful phenomenological taxonomy of esotericism and its paradoxes. Among the questions addressed: What are the internal justifications that esoteric traditions provide for their own existence, especially in the Jewish world, in which the spread of knowledge was of great importance? How do esoteric teachings coexist with the revealed tradition, and what is the relationship between the various esoteric teachings that compete with that revealed tradition? Halbertal concludes that, through the medium of the concealed, Jewish thinkers integrated into the heart of the Jewish tradition diverse cultural influences such as Aristotelianism, Neoplatonism, and Hermeticisims. And the creation of an added concealed layer, unregulated and open-ended, became the source of the most daring and radical interpretations of the tradition.
Shows how the ethical issues raised by secrets and secrecy in our careers or private lives take us to the heart of the critical questions of private and public morality.
In Western religious traditions, God is conventionally conceived as a humanlike creator, lawgiver, and king, a being both accessible and actively present in history. Yet there is a concurrent and strong tradition of a God who actively hides. The two traditions have led to a tension between a God who is simultaneously accessible to humanity and yet inaccessible, a God who is both immanent and transcendent, present and absent. Western Gnostic, esoteric, and mystical thinking capitalizes on the hidden and hiding God. He becomes the hallmark of the mystics, Gnostics, sages, and artists who attempt to make accessible to humans the God who is secreted away. 'Histories of the Hidden God' explores this tradition from antiquity to today. The essays focus on three essential themes: the concealment of the hidden God; the human quest for the hidden God, and revelations of the hidden God.
Scholarship on the Gospel of Mark has long been convinced of the paradoxical description of two of its primary themes, christology and discipleship. This book argues that paradoxical language pervades the entire narrative, and that it serves a theological purpose in describing God's activity. Part One focuses on divine action present in Mark 4:10-12. In the first paradox, Mark portrays God's revelatory acts as consistently accompanied by concealment. The second paradox is shown in the various ways in which divine action confirms, yet counters, scripture. Finally, Mark describes God's actions in ways that indicate both wastefulness and goodness; deeds that are further illuminated by the ongoing, yet defeated, presence of evil. Part Two demonstrates that this paradoxical language is widely attested across Mark's passion narrative, as he continues to depict God's activity with the use of the three paradoxes observed in Mark 4. Through paradoxical narrative, Mark emphasizes God's transcendence and presence, showing that even though Jesus has brought revelation, a complete understanding of God remains tantalizingly out of their grasp until the eschaton (4:22).
Earth and Gods is an attempt to introduce the reader to Heidegger's fully developed philosophy. The title Earth and Gods gives an im pression of not being a general study of Heidegger's philosophy. However, this is not true - the earth and the gods are fundamental ontological symbols of his fully developed philosophy, namely, his third and final phase of thought. This phase repeats the problems of both preceding phases in a fuller and more developed manner; hence, it implies them. The two preceding phases are the phase of Dasein and the phase of Being. These two phases are a natural flow of fundamental problems which reach their final formation and development in the phase of earth and gods. Dasein (the first phase) leads to Being, and Being (the second phase) bursts into fundamental ontological powers of Being (Seinsmiichte) which are earth and sky, gods and mortals (the third phase). Since earth is unthinkable without sky and since gods are gods in the world of mortals - of men, the title Earth and Gods is an abbreviation of these four fundamental powers of Being. Hence, an investigation of earth and gods is an attempt to present Heidegger's philosophy as a whole. Such a presentation provides the reader with the background necessary for a more adequate and efficient understanding of the writings of Heidegger himself. Thus, Earth and Gods may rightly be considered an introduction to Hei degger's philosophy.
Menaḥem Mendel Schneerson (1902-1994) was the seventh and seemingly last Rebbe of the Habad-Lubavitch dynasty. Marked by conflicting tendencies, Schneerson was a radical messianic visionary who promoted a conservative political agenda, a reclusive contemplative who built a hasidic sect into an international movement, and a man dedicated to the exposition of mysteries who nevertheless harbored many secrets. Schneerson astutely masked views that might be deemed heterodox by the canons of orthodoxy while engineering a fundamentalist ideology that could subvert traditional gender hierarchy, the halakhic distinction between permissible and forbidden, and the social-anthropological division between Jew and Gentile. While most literature on the Rebbe focuses on whether or not he identified with the role of Messiah, Elliot R. Wolfson, a leading scholar of Jewish mysticism and the phenomenology of religious experience, concentrates instead on Schneerson's apocalyptic sensibility and his promotion of a mystical consciousness that undermines all discrimination. For Schneerson, the ploy of secrecy is crucial to the dissemination of the messianic secret. To be enlightened messianically is to be delivered from all conceptual limitations, even the very notion of becoming emancipated from limitation. The ultimate liberation, or true and complete redemption, fuses the believer into an infinite essence beyond all duality, even the duality of being emancipated and not emancipated an emancipation, in other words, that emancipates one from the bind of emancipation. At its deepest level, Schneerson's eschatological orientation discerned that a spiritual master, if he be true, must dispose of the mask of mastery. Situating Habad's thought within the evolution of kabbalistic mysticism, the history of Western philosophy, and Mahayana Buddhism, Wolfson articulates Schneerson's rich theology and profound philosophy, concentrating on the nature of apophatic embodiment, semiotic materiality, hypernomian transvaluation, nondifferentiated alterity, and atemporal temporality.
The Hodgepocalypse takes North America and the d20 system and makes it a diverse world filed with magical rites, modern technology and bizarre cultures.
This is the first book to explore comparatively how magic—usually portrayed as the antithesis of the modern—is also at home in modernity.
"This book provides an ethnographic description of 'the art of the vital spots,' a South Indian practice combining medical and martial facets. Similar to the merging of martial and medical aspects, the moral and the physical facets of vital spots in conjunction answer to and explain the tradition's particular esoteric nature"--
How did labor NGOs come into existence in contemporary China? How do labor activists act – or not act – when the limits of state tolerance are unclear? With a focus on labor NGOs in South China and Western funding agencies, this book sets out to address these questions by investigating the dynamics of state control in post-socialist China since the 1970s, in which rapid economic and social transformations have cultivated an environment of uncertainty. Taking uncertainty as an analytical space, productive of emergent practices and discourses, this book draws on original fieldwork and interviews to study the lived experiences of different actors throughout the labor NGO community, the foreign donors trying to bring about change, and the networks of social relationships being strategically reconfigured. Doing Labor Activism in South China offers an ethnography of the Chinese state that reveals an intimate and complicit modality of self-governing, demonstrating how neoliberal ideas are at once represented by international development and deflected in grassroots development. It will be useful to students and scholars of Social Anthropology and Urban Ethnography, as well as Political Science and Chinese Studies more generally.
This volume focuses on the analysis of materials, from the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age periods of Britain and Ireland, in the study of prehistoric artefacts. Challenging the assumption that materials are inert and shaped by past societies, it argues that it is rather the materials which shaped the societies.
How countercultural communities have made the Internet meet their needs, subverting established norms of digital technology use. Whether by accidental keystroke or deliberate tinkering, technology is often used in ways that are unintended and unimagined by its designers and inventors. In this book, Jessa Lingel offers an account of digital technology use that looks beyond Silicon Valley and college dropouts-turned-entrepreneurs. Instead, Lingel tells stories from the margins of countercultural communities that have made the Internet meet their needs, subverting established norms of how digital technologies should be used. Lingel presents three case studies that contrast the imagined uses of the web to its lived and often messy practicalities. She examines a social media platform (developed long before Facebook) for body modification enthusiasts, with early web experiments in blogging, community, wikis, online dating, and podcasts; a network of communication technologies (both analog and digital) developed by a local community of punk rockers to manage information about underground shows; and the use of Facebook and Instagram for both promotional and community purposes by Brooklyn drag queens. Drawing on years of fieldwork, Lingel explores issues of alterity and community, inclusivity and exclusivity, secrecy and surveillance, and anonymity and self-promotion. By examining online life in terms of countercultural communities, Lingel argues that looking at outsider experiences helps us to imagine new uses and possibilities for the tools and platforms we use in everyday life.
The Bloomsbury Companion to Existentialism is the definitive guide to this key area of modern European philosophy. Now available in paperback, the book covers the fundamental questions asked by existentialism, providing valuable guidance for students and researchers to some of the many important and enduring contributions of existentialist thinkers. Chapters from an international team of experts explore existentialism's relationship to philosophical method; ontology; politics; psychoanalysis; ethics; religion; literature; emotion; feminism and sexuality; emotions; authenticity and the self; its significance in Latin American culture; and its contribution to the development of post-structuralism and cognitive science. In addition, five short chapters summarize the status of canonical figures Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and de Beauvoir, delineating the historical approach to their work, while pointing to new directions contemporary research is now taking. Featuring a series of indispensable research tools such as an A to Z glossary, a timeline of key events, texts and thinkers in existentialism, a list of resources, and an annotated guide to further reading, this Companion is an essential resource to help the new reader navigate through the heart of Existentialism and modern European philosophy.
Whether commercial, personal, political, professional, or spiritual, knowledge was capital for the Victorians in their ongoing project of constructing a modern information-based society. Victorian Secrecy explores the myriad ways in which knowledge was both zealously accumulated and jealously guarded by individuals, institutions, and government entities in Victorian Britain. Offering a wide variety of critical approaches and disciplinary perspectives, the contributors examine secretive actors with respect to a broad range of subjects, including the narrator in Tess of the d'Urbervilles, John Henry Newman's autobiographical novel Loss and Gain, Richard Dadd's The Fairy Feller's Masterstroke, modes of detection in Bleak House, the secret history of Harriet Martineau's role in the repeal of the Corn Law, and Victorian stage magicians. Taken together, the essays provide a richly textured account of which modes of hiding and revealing articulate secrets in Victorian literature and culture; how social relations are formed and reformed in relationship to secrecy; and what was at stake individually, aesthetically, and culturally in the Victorians' clandestine activities.
For thousands of years, no book has been more shrouded in mystery than the Zohar, yet no book offers us greater wisdom. The central text of Kabbalah, the Zohar is a commentary on the Bible’s narratives, laws, and genealogies and a map of the spiritual landscape. In The Essential Zohar, the eminent kabbalist Rav P. S. Berg decodes its teachings on evil, redemption, human relationships, wealth and poverty, and other fundamental concerns from a practical, contemporary perspective. The Zohar and Kabbalah have traditionally been known as the world’s most esoteric sources of spiritual knowledge, but Rav Berg has dedicated his life to making this concentrated distillation of infinite wisdom available to people of all faiths so that we may use its principles to live each day in harmony with the divine.
Strange Wonder confronts Western philosophy's ambivalent relationship to the Platonic "wonder" that reveals the strangeness of the everyday. On the one hand, this wonder is said to be the origin of all philosophy. On the other hand, it is associated with a kind of ignorance that ought to be extinguished as swiftly as possible. By endeavoring to resolve wonder's indeterminacy into certainty and calculability, philosophy paradoxically secures itself at the expense of its own condition of possibility. Strange Wonder locates a reopening of wonder's primordial uncertainty in the work of Martin Heidegger, for whom wonder is first experienced as the shock at the groundlessness of things and then as an astonishment that things nevertheless are. Mary-Jane Rubenstein traces this double movement through the thought of Emmanuel Levinas, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Jacques Derrida, ultimately thematizing wonder as the awesome, awful opening that exposes thinking to devastation as well as transformation. Rubenstein's study shows that wonder reveals the extraordinary in and through the ordinary, and is therefore crucial to the task of reimagining political, religious, and ethical terrain.
This volume is an attempt to rethink Niccol Machiavelli, one of the most challenging political thinkers in the history of European political thought. In 2013, we will mark 500 years since Machiavelli wrote his puzzling letter to Lorenzo deOCO Medici, Il Principe . This book is an endeavor to cover some of the most complex aspects of MachiavelliOCOs life and work."

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