Saturday, December 17, 2011

God and the Cosmos in Jacob Boehme's Signature of All Things

I'm nearing the end of The Signature of All Things.   It has been a long and hard slog through it and I never know whether its prose or poetry.  Probably both.  Most of it inscrutable to me.  But somehow it seems significant.


    The whole outward visible world with all its being is a signature, or figure of the inward spiritual world; whatever is internally, and however its operation is, so likewise it has its character externally; like as the spirit of each creature sets forth and manifests the internal form of its birth by its body, so does the Eternal Being also
    So likewise God dwells in all things, and the thing knows nothing of God; he likewise is not manifest to the thing, and yet it receives power from him, but it receives the power according to its property from him, either from his love, or from his wrath; and from which it receives, so it has its signature[156]  externally; and the good is also in it, but as it were wholly shut up [or hidden] to the iniquity [or evil]; an example of which you have in bushes, and other thorny and pricking briars, out of which notwithstanding a fair well-smelling blossom grows; and there lie two properties therein, viz. a pleasant and unpleasant; which overcomes, that shapes [forms or marks] the fruit. 
    The Being of all beings is but one only Being, but in its generation it separates itself into two principles, viz. into light and darkness, into joy and sorrow, into evil and good, into love and anger, into fire and light, and out of these two eternal beginnings (or principles) into the third beginning, viz. into the creation, to its own love-play and melody, according to the property of both eternal desires.

On his influence, I found which has this to say:

"His thought has since influenced major figures in philosophy, especially German Romantics such as Hegel, Baader, and Schelling. Indirectly, his influence can be traced to the work of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Hartmann, Bergson, and Heidegger. Paul Tillich and Martin Buber drew heavily from his work -- as did the psychologist, Carl Jung, who made numerous references to Boehme in his writings."

That is quite a lineup. 

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