Journal Article

Edmond Jabès, or the Endless Self-Emptying of Language in the Name of God

William Franke

in Literature and Theology

Volume 22, issue 1, pages 102-117
Published in print March 2008 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online May 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frm015
Edmond Jabès, or the Endless Self-Emptying of Language in the Name of God

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The work of Jabès calls to be read in a tradition of apophatic discourse that reaches back to Neoplatonic sources on the ineffable One, as well as to the tradition of reflection on the Name of God as the Ineffable par excellence that one finds in the Kabbalah. Such modes of thinking and writing prove to be key to the significance of Jabès's project as a whole. His oeuvre is exemplary of new forms that this type of discourse can assume in its revival underway today. Jabès contemplates ineffability in language in the first instance in the Name of God. But all language is engendered by the divine Name, and consequently language in general proves in Jabès's work to be inhabited by a silent instance that it cannot name or say. The Name of God thereby emerges as the vanity of language in the heart of every word.

Journal Article.  7443 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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