Chapter

Revisioning the Body Apophatically: Incarnation and the Acosmic Naturalism of Habad Hasidism

Elliot R. Wolfson

in Apophatic Bodies

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230815
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235087 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823230815.003.0009

Series: Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia

Revisioning the Body Apophatically: Incarnation and the Acosmic               Naturalism of Habad Hasidism

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This chapter considers the theme of apophatic body as enunciated in the contemplative mysticism of the branch of east-European Hasidism known as Habad or Lubavitch. Habad emphasizes cogitation as the supreme form of mystical piety. The more effective nomenclature to capture the cosmological viewpoint of Habad in all of its subtleties and ramifications is either apophatic panentheism or acosmic naturalism. These terms imply that the world is not thought to be an illusion vis-à-vis the hidden essence as much as it is conceived to be a veil through which the illusion can be apprehended and thereby unmasked for the illusion it appears to be, an unveiling in which the hidden essentiality is (un)veiled. The doctrine of incarnation that is the basis of Habad cosmology and that also serves as the foundation for the ethical ideal of mystical quietism, the suffering of world through eradication of existence, rests on affirming that it is only through the garment that one can see without any garment.

Keywords: apophatic body; Hasidism; Habad; apophatic panentheism; acosmic naturalism; illusion; incarnation; mystical quietism

Chapter.  22067 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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