This is the first book to examine the Subtle Body – a model of subjectivity found in esoteric, eastern and western religious and philosophical traditions – from a transdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective. It considers this radical form of self (and the aesthetic and ethical relations that emerge from its proposition) as enabling an innovative reconsideration of the dualisms at the heart of western discourse: mind-body, divine-human, matter-spirit, reason-emotion, I-other.
Emerging from this consideration is an interrelated aesthetic-ethic that promotes an understanding of embodiment that is not exclusively tied to materiality (corporeality). This perspective posits an individual as inherently intersubjective, creative and open. It presents subjectivity as relation: a dynamic relation that does not erase individuality while being inclusive of relations with radical alterity (including the divine).
The text considers subtle bodies as found in various traditions including Yoga and Tantra traditions, The Theosophical Society, Renaissance Hermeticism, Sufism and even within the work of contemporary philosopher Luce Irigaray. Conceptual interrelations are traced across the disciplines of religion, philosophy and art history/theory, with a particular focus on its relevance to contemporary feminist religious studies/philosophy, mysticism and theories of desire.
About the author:
Jay Johnston is a Lecturer in the Department of Studies in Religion and an Honorary Associate of the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research interests include cross-cultural philosophies of embodiment and desire; ethics; philosophy of religion; gender, sexuality, consumerism and spirituality and alternative medicine. She is the Book Review Editor for Australian Religious Studies Review.
Section II: Aesthetics
Chapter 4: “Seering” Desire: The Between
Chapter 5: Inhabiting Sight
Chapter 6: Durée: the Aesthetics of Desire-Time
Section III: Ethics
Chapter 7: An Ethics of Emptiness
Chapter 8: Witnessing: Detached Immersion
Chapter 9: An Ethics of Grace: The Law of Desiring Angels
Conclusion: The Angelic Ternary
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