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Chinese Gleams, Language Depths, and Hindu and Christian Avatars

• The latest item in our library is an article by William Chittick on dialogue between Chinese and Islamic civilizations, specifically about the place of one of the most widely read books among Chinese Muslims, the Tian Fang Xing Li, and its place in the Islamic tradition.

The intellect—the heart—once it is awakened through the great learning, does not belong to the realm of forms and images, but rather to the realm of reality and principle. The heart is the master of forms, it is not mastered by forms, so it can express itself in any form appropriate to the audience.

• A rich article by Moshe Idel, “Reification of Language in Jewish Mysticism”, takes us to the depths of Kabbalistic language doctrines in their many facets and manifestations.

Jews constantly rebuild the Temple by their daily prayer and study of the Torah, when performed properly. As God was able to create a world by means of letters, man is supposed to rebuild the Temple in his ritual usage of language.

• And a recent contribution by Dominique Wohlschlag discusses how the Hindu religion can be viewed as a ‘complementary/incommensurable other’ to Christianity, with particular attention to the doctrine of incarnation.

The more one relies on metaphysical “intuition”, free from denominational constraints, the more one is tempted to see what these two traditions have in common. The more one concentrates on the details of theological speculations, which are anxious to construct safeguards against heretical excesses, the more one is tempted to see differences. Metaphysics contra theology: it is the eternal conflict between the spirit and the letter. But, in substance, there is no choice to make: one only has to put everything in its proper place.


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