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A Hermeneutic Model of Sacred Literature and Everyday Revelation

By Vito Evola

Abstract

Why do some people have life-changing experiences when reading sacred texts, and what makes them so differently significant readings as opposed to reading the newspaper or any kind of book? Exploring a set of metaphors used in the literature of mysticism, and in particular in the canonical literature of world religions, I use the instruments provided by conceptual integration and empirical data of the neurosciences to offer a hermeneutic model of the higher level understanding construed during on-line reading by devotees of their respective sacred literature. Constructivists of the past two decades have considered the mystical experience as a form of "reconditioning of consciousness," (the concepts condition a priori the experience), arguing that there are no pure (i.e. unmediated) experiences. I believe cognitive science helps prove that the description of the experience is contingent and not necessary; the language used in devotional literature to describe mystical experience influences the way of living the experience, but it is also motivated by its representing reality. Ultimately I will look at the model of erotic relationship in mystical literature and how it serves as evidence of non-reductive physicalism, seeing the human being as a multilevel psychosomatic unity

Topics: Comparative Linguistics
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:cogprints.org:4556

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