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Apophatic BodiesNegative Theology, Incarnation, and Relationality$
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Chris Boesel and Catherine Keller

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823230815

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823230815.001.0001

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Revisioning the Body Apophatically: Incarnation and the Acosmic Naturalism of Habad Hasidism

Revisioning the Body Apophatically: Incarnation and the Acosmic Naturalism of Habad Hasidism

Chapter:
(p.147) Revisioning the Body Apophatically: Incarnation and the Acosmic Naturalism of Habad Hasidism
Source:
Apophatic Bodies
Author(s):

Elliot R. Wolfson

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823230815.003.0009

This chapter considers the theme of apophatic body as enunciated in the contemplative mysticism of the branch of east-European Hasidism known as Habad or Lubavitch. Habad emphasizes cogitation as the supreme form of mystical piety. The more effective nomenclature to capture the cosmological viewpoint of Habad in all of its subtleties and ramifications is either apophatic panentheism or acosmic naturalism. These terms imply that the world is not thought to be an illusion vis-à-vis the hidden essence as much as it is conceived to be a veil through which the illusion can be apprehended and thereby unmasked for the illusion it appears to be, an unveiling in which the hidden essentiality is (un)veiled. The doctrine of incarnation that is the basis of Habad cosmology and that also serves as the foundation for the ethical ideal of mystical quietism, the suffering of world through eradication of existence, rests on affirming that it is only through the garment that one can see without any garment.

Keywords:   apophatic body, Hasidism, Habad, apophatic panentheism, acosmic naturalism, illusion, incarnation, mystical quietism

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