Investigating Subjectivity examines the importance of a phenomenological account of the subject for the nature and the status of phenomenology, for different themes from practical philosophy and in relation to issues from the philosophy of ...
Jan Van Ruusbroec (12931327) is the most prominent exponent. 1 To date however, an in-depth study of the influence of Meister Eckharts thought has not been published. 2 In this paper I want to compare their central ideas concerning the relation between God and his creation (in particular man). More specifically, I hope to make clear that the vocabulary they occasionally share (Birth of the Son in the soul, the spark of the soul, the ground of the soul, the soul (...) as Image, and so on) actually veils two very different theologies. (shrink)
In 1714, the Dutch scholar Willem Jacob's Gravesande published a theoretical essay on how to optimize the air-pump. Although his paper did not attract much attention, there was one important supplier of air-pumps who knew about it: the Leiden instrument maker Jan van Musschenbroek. 's Gravesande and he cooperated intensively between 1717 and 1742. Among other things, this cooperation resulted in two new air-pump designs to replace Musschenbroek's own models. A closer analysis of's Gravesande's influence on Musschenbroek's repertoire reveals that (...) the various changes were not inspired by the theory of the air-pump. Commercial and practical considerations were much more important than theoretical reflections, even though both approaches aimed at the same goal: a fast and handy air-pump. (shrink)
This essay had its beginnings in my desire to reexamine the Arnolfini portrait from the perspective of Giovanna Cenami, the demure young woman who stands beside the cloaked and hated man on the fifteenth-century panel in London. Even though she shares the formal prominence with the man in Jan van Eyck’s unprecedented composition, she has been paid scant attention in the literature on the painting. I anticipated, as I began my work that inspection of the female subject of the panel (...) would, of necessity, amend the authoritative count of the Arnolfini portrait that Panofsky first published in 1934. That narrative, which focused on the event portrayed, had been recited to me by my teachers as an example of interpretive truth; I had committed it to memory as a model of our discipline’s search for meaning. I never dreamed back then that it might be “wrong.” Yet, the material I encountered as I pursued my inquiry into Giovanna’s life contradicted Panofsky’s assumptions on several key points; amendment alone would not do. It seemed necessary for me to challenge the venerable interpretation others were starting to question,4 even though two generations of students, including my own, had learned from it all they thought there was to know about “Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait.” 4. See, for example, Peter H. Schabacker, “De Matrimonio ad Morganaticam Conracto: Jan van Eyck’s ‘Arnolfini’ Portrait Reconsidered,” Art Quarterly 35 : 375-98, hereafter abbreviated “DM”; Lucy Freeman Sandler, “The Handclasp in the Arnolfini Wedding: A Manuscript Precedent,” Art Bulletin 66 : 488-91, hereafter abbreviated “H”; and Jan Baptist Bedaux, “The Reality of Symbols: The Question of Disguised Symbolism in Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait,” Simiolus 16 : 5-28, hereafter abbreviated “RS.” Linda Seidel, associate professor in the department of art at the University of Chicago, is the author of Songs of Glory , a study of twelfth-century French architectural sculpture. She is currently completing a work on medieval doorway design as an art of entry and pursuing a collaborative project with Michael Camille and Robert Nelson, Medieval Art and Its Audiences. (shrink)
We have sought to expound how Jan van Ruusbroec goes about representing the relationship of love between God and human beings by proceeding from God’s inner life of love. Therefore, in the first part of our paper we elucidated Ruusbroec’s view of the inner love reality of the Triune God. In the second part we explained how genuine Christian mystical life is founded within the intra-trinitarian life of love. Prior to discussing the characteristics of Ruusbroec’s trinitarian position, we dwelled upon (...) the author’s development of his idea of the Trinity from a personal perception of his relation with God, the embedding of Ruusbroec’s love-mysticism in traditional Christian faith and his repeated clarification of the Triune God from two perspectives: God’s nature and God’s essence. We found that, in his explanation of God’s nature, Ruusbroec underlines its fruitfulness as a way of demonstrating that God is one dynamic of love, without beginning or end, which ceaselessly and simultaneously consists in “flowing out” and “being flowed back”. This phenomenon, we stated, he associates with the concept, “oneness in threeness” and “threeness in oneness”. Through an exposition on the differing features of unity and the Persons of the Trinity, we came to the conclusion that the author in all of his works combines both the origin of “flowing out” and “flowing-back” with the Holy Spirit as the bond or unity of love of Father and Son. From this we concluded that none of the Persons is the principle or source of regiratio, i.e. return, to the unity. The view that God’s unity of Persons is the principle of exitus-reditus – and not only the third Person as recent scientific research has sought to demonstrate – is what we consider to be the heart of Ruusbroec’s trinitarian way of thinking. We ascertained, further, that the author not only links the unity of the Persons with fruitfulness; he believes that the same “fruitful” unity, drawing in the divine Persons on the level of God’s nature, is the “enjoying” unity on the level of God’s essence. By means of the distinction between God’s enjoying unity and the unity of God’s fruitful nature, Ruusbroec explicates the true facts of the intra-trinitarian life of love. The perception leads him to conclude that God, as a unity of Persons, is ceaselessly and simultaneously working and enjoying. In the second part, we illustrated how Ruusbroec’s trinitarian thought mirrors the basis of his mystical doctrine: the conviction that mystics are unified with the divine Persons both in working and enjoying, and that they are one reality of love with God. We explained how the author, first of all, maintains that mystics, who bear a full likeness to God’s fruitful nature, ceaselessly turn to good works and virtues, just as God, ceaselessly, through the divine Persons, flows out in love. We then avered that the likeness to God’s nature is not the result of human effort and that it arises from God’s touch within the human mind. Moreover, we showed that Ruusbroec, in accordance with his intuition that God’s fruitful unity is both out-flowing and inwarddrawing, believes that God is both impelling humans outward toward virtues and drawing them into God’s unity of love. In analogy with the first part of our argument – as far as the “return” of humans is concerned – we ascertained that our author is stressing the initiative of God’s unity of the Holy Spirit, i.e. the mutual love between the Father and the Son. We found the emphasis on God’s inward-drawing unity to be of great significance, because God’s unity of love also plays a crucial role with respect to the transition to “enjoyment” of human beings in God’s essence. We clarified how human beings, according to Ruusbroec, through the likeness to God’s nature, participate in the enjoyment of God’s essence with the divine Persons. We pointed out that the union in God’s essence is the most intimate experience, but not the end-point of the mystical life as, according to our author, contemplatives are directed, again and again, to good works. Lastly, we arrived at the conclusion that Ruusbroec considers the mystical life, like the life of God, to be ceaselessly consisting of action and enjoyment. However, it is not primarily the analogy with God’s trinitarian reality of love that Ruusbroecs stresses. Basically, he accentuates the fact that mystics ceaselessly experience unification with the divine Persons, both in working and enjoying. This means that mystics, united with the divine Persons in one enjoyment on the level of God’s essence, concurrently experience that, with the divine Persons, they also “share” in God’s “flowing” and “ebbing” on the level of God’s nature. On the basis of this we have affirmed that, according to Ruusbroec, God’s activity and enjoyment in the “Divinity Itself” is God’s activity and enjoyment in the human being, and the inverse. Moreover, we have shown how the author considers both moments to occur simultaneously, both in God and in human beings, meaning that the mystical life is continuously one reality of love with God. (shrink)
Anlässlich des Jubiläumsjahres 2008 werden Strukturanalogien zwischen der Musik des französischen Komponisten Olivier Messiaen und der Mystik des Flamen Jan van Ruusbroec anhand des X. Satzes aus den „Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus" aufgezeigt, der dem „Blick des Geistes der Freude" gewidmet ist. Wie in Ruusbroecs „Zierde der geistlichen Hochzeit" finden sich in der Musik pneumatologische Bildmetaphern wie die des Tanzes, der Jagd, aber auch Übereinstimmung im Ausdruck der Freude und der Einigkeit des Geistes mit dem Vater und dem Sohn. Über (...) seine charakteristischen Farbklänge ist es Messiaen gelungen, sogar die ruusbroecsche Rede vom Minnebrand des Geistes in der Seele musikalisch umzusetzen und dem Geist der Weisheit und der Wahrheit musikalisch Ausdruck zu verleihen. Auf diese Weise trägt zeitgenössische Musik bei, das Geheimnis des Heiligen Geistes tiefer zu erfassen.On the occasion of the Messiaen jubilee 2008, this article shows analogue structures between the Music of the French composer Olivier Messiaen and the mysticism of the Flemish theologian Jan van Ruusbroec . My examination is based on the X. movement of Messiaen's "Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus", which is dedicated to the "Vision of the Spirit of Joy". Like Ruusbroec's "Adornment of the Spiritual Marriage", the music of Messiaen contains pneumatological metaphors like the dance and the hunt, but is also accords with Ruusbroec's work in expressing the joy and unity of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son. Through his characteristic sound-colours, Messiaen even succeeds in musically expressing what Ruusbroec describes as the Spirit's "firebrand of love" within the soul and in giving the Spirit of wisdom and truth a musical form. This demonstrates how contemporaneous music can contribute to a deeper understanding of the mystery of the Holy Spirit. (shrink)