All the Names of the Lord: Lists, Mysticism, and Magic

All the Names of the Lord: Lists, Mysticism, and Magic

by Valentina Izmirlieva

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Christians face a conundrum when it comes to naming God, for if God is unnamable, as theologians maintain, he can also be called by every name. His proper name is thus an open-ended, all-encompassing list, a mystery the Church embraces in its rhetoric, but which many Christians have found difficult to accept. To explore this conflict, Valentina Izmirlieva examines two lists of God’s names: one from The Divine Names, the classic treatise by Pseudo-Dionysius, and the other from The 72 Names of the Lord, an amulet whose history binds together Kabbalah and Christianity, Jews and Slavs, Palestine, Provence, and the Balkans.

This unexpected juxtaposition of a theological treatise and a magical amulet allows Izmirlieva to reveal lists’ rhetorical potential to create order and to function as both tools of knowledge and of power. Despite the two different visions of order represented by each list, Izmirlieva finds that their uses in Christian practice point to a complementary relationship between the existential need for God’s protection and the metaphysical desire to submit to his infinite majesty—a compelling claim sure to provoke discussion among scholars in many fields.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780226388724
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 09/15/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Valentina Izmirlieva is associate professor in the Slavic department at Columbia University.

Table of Contents

Divine Names as Terms of Order 
What Kind of Order? 
Lists as Figures of Display 
What Is Symbolic Production of Order? 
The Material 
Part One: The Claim of Theology: “Nameless and of Every Name”
1. The Divine Names and Dionysius the Areopagite 
Myth and Mystification 
The Exegetes 
The Translators 
Disputed Authorship and Indisputable Authority 
2. Back to the Sources 
The Bible and the Name 
The Trouble with Logos 
The Two Roads, or the Nature of Divine Names 
3. The Synthesis of Dionysius 
The Dionysian Vision 
The Theological Project 
United Differentiations 
A Hierarchy of Names 
Nameless and of Every Name 
4. Theory and Practice 
Biblical Exegesis 
The Proper Name of God Is a List 
Listing the Names of God 
Part Two: A Magical Alternative: The 72 Names of God
5. How Many Are the Names of God? 
The Number of God’s Names 
The Larger Context 
The Synonymy of 72 and 70 
6. A Body of 72 Parts and the 72 Diseases 
7. An Apostle for Every Nation 
The Division of the Languages at Babel 
The Septuagint 
The 72 Disciples of Christ 
The Ideal Quorum 
8. The Peculiar Codex Jerusalem 22 
The Facts 
A Kabbalistic Hypothesis 
The Balkan Context 
Three Possible Kabbalistic Indices 
The Emphasis on 72 
Kabbalah and the World of 72 Parts 
9. Christian Culture and the 72 Names 
Kabbalah in Christian Garb 
The Christian Amulet East and West 
10. Printing and the Career of the Slavonic Text 
The Miscellany for Travelers and the Remaking of the Text 
The Spectacular Aftermath 
Building Textual Affinities 
Commercial Success 
The Abagar of Philip Stanislavov 
                        Two Visions of Order 
                        Religion, Need, and Desire: A Reorientation

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