Words beyond meaning

the language of ascent and the ascent of language in medieval mystical texts

Carmel Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The article considers the mystical texts of Julian of Norwich, the 'Cloud of Unknowing' author and Richard Rolle and argues against the prominent 'ineffability topoi' that dominates discussion of the language of these texts. Instead it demonstrates that the language used by these authors establishes clear meaning and, at the same time, works to accomplish a metaphorical and spiritual diminution of distance between the reader and God. In effect, the language is suggested as assisting the reader in his/her process of 'ascent' to God as, simultaneously, the language itself 'ascends' in signification to the extent that the gap between presence and representation is diminished and, often, completely erased.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-24
Number of pages14
JournalAUMLA : journal of the Australasian universities language & literature association
Volume106
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • medieval literature
  • religion

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