Chapter

From Acosmism to Dialectic

Hugh Nicholson

in Comparative Theology and the Problem of Religious Rivalry

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199772865
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897315 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199772865.003.0007

Series: AAR Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion Series

From Acosmism to Dialectic

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This chapter uses the dialectical understanding of Śhaṅkara developed in the previous chapter to challenge the conventional understanding of Śhaṅkara's doctrine of the world as one of “illusionism.” This chapter argues that Śhaṅkara's declaration of the unreality of the phenomenal world can be understood as a transformative commentary on an earlier, realist form of Vedanta that subverts, but does not efface, the latter's realist cosmology. Reading Eckhart through the lens of Śhaṅkara's commentary on the Brahma-sutra allows one to see the former's apophaticism similarly as a transformative commentary on the orthodox Christian model of creation.

Keywords: acosmicism; apophaticism; Brahma-Sutra; Eckhart; Śhaṅkara; creation; illusionism; cosmology

Chapter.  9370 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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