Plotinus on the Appearance of Time and the World of Sense

A Pantomime

Plotinus on the Appearance of Time and the World of Sense

Plotinus (c.205–70) was a Neoplatonist philosopher, his work posthumously published by Porphyry and divided into six books, nine tractates each, called the Enneads. In this book Majumdar makes a valuable addition to the literature on his work, especially Ennead III.7(45)11-13 – in particular explaining Plotinus' cosmology using the genus-species model of soul, coordinating the literature on the appearance of time and the cosmos with that on the larger issue of Plotinian "emanation" and examining the role of tolma and the restless nature of soul in this conjoint appearance. This book investigates Plotinian "emanation," its laws of poiesis (contemplative making ) and the roles of nature, matter, logos, (rational formative principle) and contemplation and highlights the subtler details of Plotinus' cosmology by disentangling conceptual issues about the nature of soul and self ("we") and their impact on the process of generation of time and the cosmos.

Art and the Senses

Art and the Senses

The senses play a vital role in our health, our social interactions, and in enjoying food, music and the arts. The book provides a unique interdisciplinary overview of the senses, ranging from the neuroscience of sensory processing in the body, to cultural influences on how the senses are used in society, to the role of the senses in the arts.

The World of Touch

The World of Touch

For the first time, David Katz's classic monograph The World of Touch has been translated into English. Regarded as one of the premiere experimental psychologists, Katz vigorously opposed the atomism and "tachistoscopic" mentality typical of the sensory psychology of his day. In The World of Touch, Katz sought to dispel the invidious distinction between the supposedly higher (e.g., vision, audition) and lower (e.g., touch) senses. To help touch regain its original prominence in the field, Katz demonstrated, through very simple, yet creative experiments, how fascinating the abilities of touch are, and how valuable the tactual stimulus can be in specifying objects, surfaces, substances, and events. In addition, Katz emphasized the importance of higher-order invariants in the perception of objects, and the holistic quality of perception in time as well as space.

Gilles Deleuze: Image and Text

Gilles Deleuze: Image and Text

An important collection of essays examining the intersections between Deleuzian philosophy and the arts.

The Senses of Scripture

Sensory Perception in the Hebrew Bible

The Senses of Scripture

The Senses of Scripture reveals the essence of biblical epistemology - the ways in which ancient Israelites thought about and used their sensorium. The theoretical introduction demonstrates that scholars need to liberate themselves from the Western bias that holds a pentasensory paradigm and prioritises the sense of sight. The discussion of the biblical material demonstrates that biblical scholars should follow a similar path. Through examination of associative and contextual patters the author reaches a septasensory model, including sight, hearing, speech, kinaesthesia, touch, taste, and smell. It is further demonstrated that the senses, according to the HB, are a divinely created physical experience, which symbolised human ability to act in a sovereign manner in the world. Despite the lack of a biblical Hebrew term 'sense', it seems that at times the merism sight and hearing serves that matter. Finally, the book discusses the longstanding dispute regarding the primacy of sight vs. hearing, and claims that although there is no strict sensory hierarchy evident in the text, sight holds a central space in biblical epistemology.

The Reinvention of Religious Music

Olivier Messiaen's Breakthrough Toward the Beyond

The Reinvention of Religious Music

On the basis of a careful analysis of Olivier Messiaen's work, this book argues for a renewal of our thinking about religious music. Addressing his notion of a "hyper-religious" music of sounds and colors, it aims to show that Messiaen has broken new ground. His reinvention of religious music makes us again aware of the fact that religious music, if taken in its proper radical sense, belongs to the foremost of musical adventures. The work of Olivier Messiaen is well known for its inclusion of religious themes and gestures. These alone, however, do not seem enough to account for the religious status of the work. Arguing for a "breakthrough toward the beyond" on the basis of the synaesthetic experience of music, Messiaen invites a confrontation with contemporary theologians and post-secular thinkers. How to account for a religious breakthrough that is produced by a work of art? Starting from an analysis of his 1960s oratorio La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ, this book arranges a moderated dialogue between Messiaen and the music theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar, the phenomenology of revelation of Jean-Luc Marion, the rethinking of religion and technics in Jacques Derrida and Bernard Stiegler, and the Augustinian ruminations of Søren Kierkegaard and Jean-François Lyotard. Ultimately, this confrontation underscores the challenging yet deeply affirmative nature of Messiaen's music.

Senses of the Soul

Art and the Visual in Christian Worship

Senses of the Soul

Senses of the Soul explores the way art and visual elements are incorporated into Christian worship. It incorporates research conducted in Los Angeles congregations. Through extensive interviews in a sample of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox congregations it looks into the way visual elements actually become part of the experience of worship. By looking at attitudes and experiences of beauty, art, and memories, it suggests that believers appropriate images and aesthetic encounters in terms of imaginative structures that have been formed through worship practices over time. By comparing responses across denominations, the book proposes that people receive visual elements in ways that have been shaped by long traditions and specific background beliefs. In addition to discussions of the differences between the major Christian traditions, the book also examines the relation of art and beauty to worship, the role of memories and everyday life, and the power of images in spirituality and worship. By its focus on the worshiper, the book seeks to make a contribution to the growing conversation between the arts and Christian worship and to the process of worship renewal.

The World of Fairy Tales

The World of Fairy Tales

“There is a big difference in whether or not one has a child grow up with fairy tales. The soul-stirring nature of fairy-tale pictures becomes evident only later on. If fairy tales have not been given, this shows itself in later years as weariness of life and boredom. Indeed, it even comes to expression physically; fairy tales can help counter illnesses. What is absorbed little by little by means of fairy tales emerges subsequently as joy in life, in the meaning of life—it comes to light in the ability to cope with life, even into old age. Children must experience the power inherent in fairy tales while young, when they can still do so. Whoever is incapable of living with ideas that have no reality for the physical plane ‘dies’ for the spiritual world.”—Rudolf Steiner

Dante and the Sense of Transgression

'The Trespass of the Sign'

Dante and the Sense of Transgression

In Dante and the Sense of Transgression, William Franke combines literary-critical analysis with philosophical and theological reflection to cast new light on Dante's poetic vision. Conversely, Dante's medieval masterpiece becomes our guide to rethinking some of the most pressing issues of contemporary theory. Beyond suggestive archetypes like Adam and Ulysses that hint at an obsession with transgression beneath Dante's overt suppression of it, there is another and a prior sense in which transgression emerges as Dante's essential and ultimate gesture. His work as a poet culminates in the Paradiso in a transcendence of language towards a purely ineffable, mystical experience beyond verbal expression. Yet Dante conveys this experience, nevertheless, in and through language and specifically through the transgression of language, violating its normally representational and referential functions. Paradiso's dramatic sky-scapes and unparalleled textual performances stage a deconstruction of the sign that is analyzed philosophically in the light of Blanchot, Levinas, Derrida, Barthes, and Bataille, as transgressing and transfiguring the very sense of sense.