Mysticism and Sacred Scripture by Steven T. Katz

By Steven T. Katz

This can be the fourth quantity in an influential sequence that provides a uncomplicated revaluation of the character of mysticism. each one presents a set of solicited papers by means of famous specialists within the examine of faith. This new quantity will discover how the nice mystics and mystical traditions use, interpret, and reconstruct the sacred scriptures in their traditions.

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In comment- 30 Mysticism and Sacred Scripture ing on the Qur'anic verse "Likewise we show Abraham the power of the heavens and the earth, that he might be one of those who are certain" (6:85), RazT explains the term likewise (kadhalika) as being reminiscent of the daqiqa aqliyya (subtle intellective realism) and interprets the passage as meaning that Allah's light shines eternally and continually connects itself to the human soul, except when separated by a veil (hijab). This veil is anything that draws humankind away from Allah, as, for example, idolatry does.

To further support the present argument for the symbiosis of mystical theology and mystical exegesis, I recall an esoteric observation in the zoharic Midrash ha-Ne-elam: In commenting on a verse in Genesis, "Let there be light," the kabbalistic author makes a theological point on the basis of its numerological exegesis. 46 Is this the real intention behind—the authentic meaning of—the words of Genesis? The a priori assumptions with which the medieval author of the Midrash ha-Ne-elam was working allowed him to answer this query affirmatively.

From these hermeneutical premises develops an entire elaborate theory of mystical reading, including an approach to Qur'anic verses held to be mutashabih (ambiguous and capable of more than a single explanation). It was the Sufi, par excellence, who knew how to decipher these uncertain texts through the method of allegorical rendering. According to their own exegesis of the Qur'anic verse (3:7) regarding the decipherment of the Qur'an—"and none knows its interpretation (ta'wil), save only Allah and those firmly rooted in knowledge"—it is the Sufi alone who is fully rooted in the required esoteric knowledge.

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