Blindness in the Masnavi of Jalaloddin Rumi

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Blindness, like other disabilities, has until quite recently been a subject that is not much discussed in the academic study of religion. Yet, in religion, as in literature and culture in general, blindness is a potent metaphor of a paradoxical set of ideas. It is, unfortunately, too often thought to stand for ignorance, as sight is taken to denote understanding and yet at the same time blindness is associated with wisdom and prophecy fr as long ago as the ancient seer Tiresias, from Homer to Hellenistic and Roman times. This latter signification may be associated with an idea that emerges in this investigation of blindness in a mystical text: blindness is thought to be a metaphor of our present benighted human condition; yet the blind seer is one who sees beyond this world, for prophecy and mystical vision may be realised only by detaching from worldly sight.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHoly Wealth
Subtitle of host publicationAccounting for This World and The Next in Religious Belief and Practice
EditorsAlan Williams, Almut Hintze
Place of PublicationWiesbaden
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)978-3-447-10746-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


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