Session Title

Lettrism as Islamic Kabbalah?

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Societas Magica

Organizer Name

Matthew Melvin-Koushki

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of South Carolina-Columbia

Presider Name

Nicholas G. Harris

Presider Affiliation

Univ. of Pennsylvania

Paper Title 1

Lettrism and Kabbalah, Lines of Flight

Presenter 1 Name

Noah D. Gardiner

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. of South Carolina-Columbia

Paper Title 2

"The whole world is a book and its letters are God's speech": Conceptions of Language in Classical Islamic Mysticism (Ninth-Thirteenth Centuries)

Presenter 2 Name

Michael Ebstein

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem

Paper Title 3

Lettrism as (Jewish/Islamic) Philosophy: The Mystical Linguistics of Ibn al-'Arabi and Sa'adia Gaon

Presenter 3 Name

Elizabeth Sartell

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Univ. of Chicago

Paper Title 4

World as Arabic-Hebrew Text: Reading the Two Books in the Renaissances of Western Early Modernity

Presenter 4 Name

Matthew Melvin-Koushki

Paper Title 5

Kabbala Saracenica: Lettrology in Europe

Presenter 5 Name

Liana Saif

Presenter 5 Affiliation

Warburg Institute

Paper Title 6

Ecologies of/and Knowledge in Early Modern Kabbalah

Presenter 6 Name

Andrew Berns

Presenter 6 Affiliation

Univ. of South Carolina-Columbia

Start Date

12-5-2019 8:30 AM

Session Location

Bernhard 208

Description

The study of Hebrew kabbalah is now an academic industry in its own right, and for good reason: historians of religion and historians of science alike have shown it to be the primary means whereby Jews and then Christians too sought to decode and magically recode the Two Books, scripture and nature, during the medieval and early modern periods. But lettrism—its coeval Arabic twin—has remained almost totally unstudied, exiled from Religion, Science and even Magic itself. To help right this gross imbalance in Western intellectual history, this session explores notions of lettrism as an “Islamic kabbalah” and kabbalah as a “Jewish lettrism” to make a case for their parallel study as a genetically identical and/or historically entangled mainstream Judeo-Islamic-cum-Christian mystico-magico-philosophical discourse going forward, and indeed the apotheosis of Hellenic-Abrahamic science. For both pivot equally on the relationship between the divine word and the manifest world—and on the human ability to rewrite reality through the theurgic or mathematical harnessing of the same. Matthew Melvin-Koushki

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May 12th, 8:30 AM

Lettrism as Islamic Kabbalah?

Bernhard 208

The study of Hebrew kabbalah is now an academic industry in its own right, and for good reason: historians of religion and historians of science alike have shown it to be the primary means whereby Jews and then Christians too sought to decode and magically recode the Two Books, scripture and nature, during the medieval and early modern periods. But lettrism—its coeval Arabic twin—has remained almost totally unstudied, exiled from Religion, Science and even Magic itself. To help right this gross imbalance in Western intellectual history, this session explores notions of lettrism as an “Islamic kabbalah” and kabbalah as a “Jewish lettrism” to make a case for their parallel study as a genetically identical and/or historically entangled mainstream Judeo-Islamic-cum-Christian mystico-magico-philosophical discourse going forward, and indeed the apotheosis of Hellenic-Abrahamic science. For both pivot equally on the relationship between the divine word and the manifest world—and on the human ability to rewrite reality through the theurgic or mathematical harnessing of the same. Matthew Melvin-Koushki