Kabbalah and Language: The Path of Hermeneutic Mysticism with Dr Brian Les Lancaster
Most psychologists and philosophers interested in mysticism emphasise commonalities across diverse traditions, reasoning that these represent a collective core beyond the particularities of specific belief systems and culturally embedded dogmas. In this talk Dr Lancaster argues for a contrary view:- that the distinctive features of specific mystical practices and systems of thought can be more productive in our quest to understand the value of mysticism for psychological science.
The distinctive feature of the Kabbalah is its view of language and its treatment of exegesis as a mystical practice. Indeed, the Kabbalah could be described as quintessentially a mysticism of language.
Examples of this include:
- Hebrew letters and grammatical forms are treated as a system encompassing all aspects of spiritual reality;
- The divine is viewed as a process which is at its core linguistic in form;
- One engaging in mystical exegesis of the sacred text is viewed as actively advancing both creation and the internal dynamics of the divine process.
In addition to exploring these features of Kabbalah and language, the talk will explore their relevance to a psychological analysis of language and its role in structuring our sense of self and the world as experienced.
Speaker: Dr Brian Les Lancaster is a Founding Director and Dean of the Alef Trust. He is Professor Emeritus of Transpersonal Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, an Honorary Research Fellow in Religions and Theology, University of Manchester, a Fellow of the International Society for Science & Religion, and Associated Distinguished Professor of Integral and Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He has previously served as Chair of the Transpersonal Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society, as President of the International Transpersonal Association, and as a Board member of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology.
Les’ research interests focus on the cognitive neuroscience of consciousness and the connections between this topic and mysticism, specifically focusing on Kabbalistic Psychology. His published works include The essence of kabbalah and Approaches to consciousness: The marriage of science and mysticism.
Tickets: £15 for an invitation on Zoom