Episode 39: Poetry and the Sacred

Latter-day Contemplation
Latter-day Contemplation
Episode 39: Poetry and the Sacred
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The language of the sacred is often poetic, rather than propositional. It speaks of feelings, not facts. The fact is, any experience of the sacred is inexpressible in propositional terms. It should come as no surprise then that many of the sacred texts of the world’s religions are in poetry, not prose: the Hindu Vedas, Upanishads, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, and Ramayana; Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezequiel, the twelve minor prophets, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon and the Book of Revelation in the Jewish and Christian Bibles; the sacred text of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching; and the Muslim Qur’an. Even philosophers and theologians have tried to express their propositional ideas about the sacred in poetry (e.g. Lucretius, Dante, and Goethe). Finally, Muslim mystics and Christian contemplatives have both expressed their experiences of the sacred in poetry, including in love poetry as evocative as the Song of Solomon in the Jewish Bible. In this episode, Christopher and Riley read and comment on passages from examples of the above-mentioned sacred texts in poetic translations evoking the same images and feelings as the originals.

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Shiloh lives in Bakersfield, CA, with his wife and four children. He spent his formative years growing up in Memphis, TN, and graduated from Brigham Young University with dual degrees in philosophy and geography. Shiloh is currently a graduate student at Claremont Graduate University pursuing a PhD in religion (focusing on Mormon Studies). He is the founder of Latter-day Peace Studies and co-produces LDPS Come, Follow Me's weekly podcast.