Converse in the Spirit: William Blake, Jacob Boehme, and the Creative Spirit

Converse in the Spirit: William Blake, Jacob Boehme, and the Creative Spirit

Converse in the Spirit: William Blake, Jacob Boehme, and the Creative Spirit

Converse in the Spirit: William Blake, Jacob Boehme, and the Creative Spirit

Synopsis

"Converse in the Spirit is a comparative study of the writings of William Blake and the German visionary philosopher Jacob Boehme. While exploring the influence of Bochme on the poet, it focuses on the relationship between creativity, imagination, and spir"

Excerpt

There are many notable similarities between William Blake and Jacob Boehme, affinities that in many ways mark them out as peculiarly kindred spirits. Converse in the Spirit explores the relationships and correspondences between their writings. While suggesting in detail the extent of Boehme's influence on the poet, this book intends to breathe life into the dynamic spiritual interplay between their writings, and through this realize the value of studying such individuals in the light of one another. In so doing, it gives a glimpse of the vital importance of a living tradition, of a community of vision and aspiration that provides support, guidance, and inspiration. Accordingly, I also suggest the close and necessary relationship between spiritual and artistic activity, as is conveyed, for instance, in the many correspondences drawn between Boehme's vision and the content of Blake's poetry and prose. This in turn works toward a fuller appreciation of both the spiritual and creative possibilities offered to the reader through an active engagement with Blake and Boehme, an ongoing “converse in the spirit.”

It is hard to place Boehme. He was a mystic, a visionary, and a philosopher. At the same time, his thought and vision are imaginative, symbolic and mythopaeic. His work may be seen, as Waterfield proposes, as esoteric psychology or “psychology of the depths.” Warren Stevenson has suggested that there is an “avant-garde” aspect to him: it can be argued that in his writings Boehme created his own individual art form. Boehme's and Blake's views of the spiritual are unconventional. Boehme's God, for instance, occupies no place or space, does not exist in time, cannot be thought of and is Nothing. Their mysticism is one that is opposed to a literal belief in an overseeing God in the heavens. For them, such a view reified the divine. As William Law stated, “there is nothing that is supernatural, however mysterious. ” To regard this another way, for Blake and Boehme everything was supernatural or spiritualized. It is quite possible to have entirely rejected belief in the God of orthodox religion and nonetheless perceive the divine and sacred as Blake and Boehme apprehended it. In fact, this can be as good a point as any from which to start, to understand the living, if elusive spirit that animates their writings.

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