All the names of the Lord : lists, mysticism, and magic by Valentina Izmirlieva

By Valentina Izmirlieva

Christians face a conundrum in terms of naming God, for if God is unnamable, as theologians hold, he is additionally referred to as by means of each identify. His right identify is therefore an open-ended, all-encompassing checklist, a secret the Church embraces in its rhetoric, yet which many Christians have came upon tough to just accept. To discover this clash, Valentina Izmirlieva examines lists of God’s names: one from The Divine Names, the vintage treatise through Pseudo-Dionysius, and the opposite from The seventy two Names of the Lord, an amulet whose heritage binds jointly Kabbalah and Christianity, Jews and Slavs, Palestine, Provence, and the Balkans.

This unforeseen juxtaposition of a theological treatise and a mystical amulet permits Izmirlieva to bare lists’ rhetorical strength to create order and to operate as either instruments of information and of energy. regardless of the 2 various visions of order represented by way of each one record, Izmirlieva unearths that their makes use of in Christian perform element to a complementary dating among the existential want for God’s security and the metaphysical wish to undergo his endless majesty—a compelling declare certain to galvanize dialogue between students in lots of fields.

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18 Contrary to Cratylus’s theory of “natural correctness,” his opponent, Hermogenes, proposes the conventionalist idea that names are merely of arbitrary human origin. This position proved more popular in the long run. It ultimately gained the upper hand in Hellenistic philosophy (and, by extension, in modern linguistics) when none other than Aristotle himself back to the sources 33 took it up. ”19 Still, we should not overestimate the contribution of Aristotle’s linguistic relativism to Christian thought.

6 Even at its most affirmative, however, this revelation of the name remains strikingly evasive, concealing at least as much as it reveals. When read as an ontological assertion, it encompasses being in its totality, thus going against the grain of naming itself, which is meant to identify by delimiting and excluding. 9 These scriptural appellations (such as God of gods, King of kings, Good, Life, the Holy One, Truth, Vine, Lamb, the Door) fall in exactly the same category—both structurally and functionally—as do the names in the Slavonic amulet The 72 Names of God.

About two thousand years ago, the very first Christian communities chose to define themselves as those “who invoke the name [of the Lord]” (Acts 9:14), a “name that is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). And since then, the struggle to articulate and sustain a Christian identity has always been entangled with the striving for profession, for confession and confirmation of God’s name. This absorbed attention to the name of the divinity is perceptible in Christian history across speculative and devotional discourses alike.

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