Kiss of Life, Learning from Islam and the Power of Melancholy

Our first new library addition this week is an article by Prof. Admiel Kosman on the Jewish traditions linking the breath of life with the revealed Word and the kisses of the Song of Songs.

For the Sages, the resurrection of the world at Mount Sinai was completely analogous to the bestowal of life to primordial man in Creation… The homilists refer to the revelation at Mount Sinai as a kiss… That is to say, the life-giving words of God were kisses… the kisses of God’s Word, of the Torah.

A new recorded audio lecture by Thomas Cleary, “Can the West Learn from Islam?”, exploring and illustrating Islamic traditions that might help reintroduce the idea of the Holy in everyday Western society.

Fanaticism, compulsiveness in religion tends to alienate the individual from other people, the group from the larger body of society and the individual from his own real self.

• And an article by Angela Voss, set to music, on the deepest connections between Elizabethan music, Neoplatonism and astrology, studying John Dowland’s set of seven pavans for viols and lute, Lachrimae or Seven Teares of 1604.

Melancholy music which reflected back to the listener his or her own earth-bound condition, and yet also invoked the cosmic spirit, would have immense power—the power to lift the consciousness of both performer and listener to a new level of perception.