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Bibil Identifier bibil:251121
Publication Type Article of book
Title (English, Long) A Composite Countenance
Title (English, ) The Divine Face as Mixed Metaphor in Jewish Mysticism
Author Haskell, Ellen
Edited book Religion, Language, and the Human Mind
Year (Reference) 2018
Language English
Pages 169-185 Pages
Genre Original
Abstract The thirteenth-century Spanish Jewish mystical classic Sefer ha-Zohar is known for its elaborate divine imagery. This chapter explains how the Zohar invests the traditional anthropomorphic metaphor of the divine countenance with new meaning in order to define both divine and human faces as sites of spiritual revelation and transformation. The Zoharic authors’ goals are twofold. First, the mystics’ own human faces are divinized, becoming vehicles of mutual revelation accessed through spiritual fellowship. Second, the divine face is defined as an abstraction beyond human understanding, since human features are but one fragment of a transcendent whole that inspires contemplation through unusual image juxtapositions. This dual usage mirrors the Zohar’s broader mystical theology, which understands God as both revealed to and concealed from human beings. Further, reworking an ancient divine metaphor from within by manipulating its metonymic associations allows the mystics to transform their religious culture without overtly defying traditional scriptural authority.
DOI 10.1093/oso/9780190636647.003.0007
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Bible (as a whole) : Bible (as a whole) -- Hermeneutics - Methods : Hermeneutics : Metaphor
Thesaurus BiBIL : Milieu : Ancient Judaism : Literature : Other Texts (anonymous) : Zohar
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Last modification 2018-10-02