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By Lucy Tatman

Half non secular experiences, half feminist thought, half philosophy, half indescribable: such is Numinous topics. defined by way of the writer as 'a kaleidoscopic exploration of why 3 gendered figures of the sacred topic inside of western culture,' the adventure of analyzing this article actually is such as observing via a always turning kaleidoscope. pictures, innovations, words and rates are consistently revisited, recombined, although by no means repeated in relatively an analogous means. From those tumbling constellations arises a brand new knowing and cautious appreciation of the figures of the virgin, the mummy, and the whore. Drawing at the insights of thinkers as different as Rudolph Otto, Julia Kristeva, Simone de Beauvoir, and Martin Buber, Numinous matters at the same time expands and focuses our awareness at the delusion of the sacred and its implications for woman matters in western tradition this day.

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5 Born a virgin, her innocence and purity were given. 8 They were drawn to her in fear and trembling; they were filled with a stupendous desire to penetrate through the depths of such mystery, to partake of her power, a force incomprehensible. ’9 In the virgin the wholly unknown other was a presence, an earthly, unbearably immanent transcendence: radiantly, dangerously numinous. And then she chose, more likely the choice was made for her, to know another in, with and through the flesh. It was not, was never pleasure that rendered her impure.

Why are Asian women imagined to be so studious, so industrious, and such cheap massage parlour prostitutes? Why is the figure of the Jewish mother so filled with manipulative power and conniving knowledge in ‘our’ imaginations? Why is it the case that within the western cultural imaginary the knowledge, power and authority of these women is simultaneously acknowledged and always under threat? And why is it that, collectively, the knowledge, power and authority of white middle-class christian women is simply never taken all that seriously?

Nor was it ever desire, yearning, longing, concupiscence. It was simply knowledge. The material, unspeakable knowledge that comes with touch. For her such knowledge arrived not with a mere ‘little death’, but with a veritable apocalypse. The mystery unveiled, revealed, now, at last, perhaps with an enigmatic smile, she knows. But he, alas, does not. ’10 ‘No,’ he cries. ’ Thus the wife’s numinence is dimmed, 26 Numinous Subjects hemmed in, denied – on this side by the laundry, on that by the dishes, there is the vegetable garden, here is the cow, the sow, the chickens scratching in the dirt.

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