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Experiential Paradigm
Record Type: Review   ID: 795

Knowledge and the Sacred

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein

 This work consists of the Gifford Lectures for 1989 given by the first Muslim (and the first Oriental). Nasr shows that in the Orient knowledge has always been connected with the sacred "and its actualization in the being of the knower," whereas the way of the Occident has been to desacralize knowledge. This process now extends even to Eastern countries and scholarship. Yet as the Eastern sages taught, knowledge is an expression of one's being. He presents the main tenets of all the major religions, showing how they sacralize knowledge, and lists several groups in the West involved in the resacralization of knowledge (quantum physics, parapsychology, the environmental movement, art). His aim is "to aid in the resuscitation of the sacred quality of knowledge and the revival of the veritable intellectual tradition of the West with the aid of the still living traditions of the Orient where knowledge has never become divorced from the sacred" (p. viii). He holds that we must "bring to light once again that perennial wisdom . . . which is both perennial and universal and which is neither exclusively Eastern nor Western" (pp. viii-ix). He points out that whereas the East is being Westernized and the West is turning to the traditional East, both East and West are not so much "out there" as within ourselves. Sacred knowledge is outside time, as it always was in the beginning, when the Hindu sages characterized Reality as "at once being, knowledge, and bliss," or that place in ourselves that many people at least touch, if only momentarily, when they have an exceptional human experience.
Publisher Information:Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1989. 341p. Chap. bibl; Index: 334-341
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