Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom: Eroticism and Reflexivity in the Study of Mysticism
William Blake once wrote that "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." Inspired by these poetic terms, Jeffrey J. Kripal reveals how the works of scholars of mysticism are often rooted in their own mystical experiences, "roads of excess," which can both lead to important insights into these scholars' works and point us to our own "palaces of wisdom."
In his new book, Kripal addresses the twentieth-century study of mysticism as a kind of mystical tradition in its own right, with its own unique histories, discourses, sociological dynamics, and rhetorics of secrecy. Fluidly combining autobiography and biography with scholarly exploration, Kripal takes us on a tour of comparative mystical thought by examining the lives and works of five major historians of mysticism—Evelyn Underhill, Louis Massignon, R. C. Zaehner, Agehananda Bharati, and Elliot Wolfson—as well as relating his own mystical experiences. The result, Kripal finds, is seven "palaces of wisdom": the religious power of excess, the necessity of distance in the study of mysticism, the relationship between the mystical and art, the dilemmas of male subjectivity and modern heterosexuality, a call for ethical criticism, the paradox of the insider-outsider problem in the study of religion, and the magical power of texts and their interpretation.
An original and penetrating analysis of modern scholarship and scholars of mysticism, Roads of Excess, Palaces of Wisdom is also a persuasive demonstration of the way this scholarly activity is itself a mystical phenomenon.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Eyeing the Burning Wings Analyzing the Mystical Experience of Love in Evelyn Underhills Mysticism 1911
The Passion of Louis Massignon Sublimating the Homoerotic Gaze in The Passion of alHallaj 1922
The Doors of Deception R C Zaehners Ethical and Erotic Challenges to Monistic Experience in Mysticism Sacred and Profane 1957 and Discordant C...
Writing Out of the Light at the Center Reading Agehananda Bharatis Tantric Trilogy 1960 1965 1976
The Mystical Mirror of Hermeneutics Gazing into Elliot Wolfsons Speculum 1994
Other editions - View all
Agehananda Bharati antinomian Blake Catholic Catholicism Christian mysticism conﬂict consciousness cultural deﬁned deﬁnition difﬁcult divine doctrinal dream ecstasy Elliot Wolfson erotic eroticism esoteric esotericism essay ethical Evelyn Underhill feminine ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁre ﬁrst Freud gender HallaŻj hence hermeneutical heteroerotic heterosexual Hindu homoerotic homoeroticism homosexuality human Ibid imagination Indian inﬂuence intellectual interpretation Islamic Jewish Kabbalah kabbalistic kind language literally Louis Massignon male mystics medieval metaphor Mircea Eliade mirror modern monistic mystical experience mystical texts mystical traditions nature nondual one’s ontological Passion phallic phallus practice Press psychological quoted R. C. Zaehner Ramakrishna readers reﬂection religion rhetorical ritual S´aŻkta sacriﬁce scholars scholarship secret sense sexual Shekhinah signiﬁcant social soul speciﬁc Speculum spiritual structure study of mysticism Suﬁ symbolic Tantra Tantric traditions Tantrism textual theology thought tical tion Underhill Underhill’s understanding University vision visionary words writing