Middle Eastern Spirituality

and Peace

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Living Blessing:

The Aramaic Lord's Prayer and

the Middle Eastern Mystical Tradition of Jesus

Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz

March 2


Venue: Columcille Centre,

2 Newbattle Terrace, Edinburgh.

Time: Registration: 11am-11.30am.

Day Workshop: 11.30am-4.30pm.

Cost: £20/£15 (Concessions). £10 (Students).


Art: Alana Lahme Lea www.peacethroughart.us


During this workshop participants will focus on a step-by-step journey of the heart through the prayer of Jesus in his original Aramaic language. They will experience Jesus' original prayer tradition of living creation, a tradition that reminds one that new beginnings happen every moment in the heart of the divine. In this journey to our own center, we will also use walking meditation and a cycle of simple circle dances, Dances of Universal Peace. No experience is necessary and all are welcome.

Jesus did not speak English, Scots or Gaelic. He spoke a Middle Eastern language, Aramaic, and this fact greatly changes the way that his sayings can be interpreted. If or when Jesus said anything attributed to him in the Gospels, he used a Middle Eastern language and he thought in that language. In Aramaic and Hebrew, for instance, spirit and breath are the same word, so references to the “Holy Spirit” can also be translated “Holy Breath.” These and dozens of other radical differences from the usual translatons of the Gospels lie at the heart of Douglas-Klotz’s radically new interpretations, which have made him both friends and enemies in both the scholarly and theological worlds.

In 1990, Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz pioneered a poetic approach to interpreting and understanding the words attributed to Jesus in the Gospels from his native Aramaic language. Drawing upon the centuries-old Jewish tradition of midrash (interpretive translation), Douglas-Klotz used a traditional Syriac-Aramaic version of the Gospels to show how a non-Western listener might have heard the words of a Semitic prophet in a multileveled way.

His first book, Prayers of the Cosmos, became an international bestseller and led to subsequent works continuing the exploration, which have raised many questions for Biblical scholars about their own methodologies. In it, Douglas-Klotz retranslates the Lord’s Prayer six different ways, all of which would be possible ways that an Aramaic speaker could have heard it. Among his controversial translations for the first line of the prayer (“Our Father which art in heaven”) are, “O Thou the Breathing Life of all, Creation of the shimmering sound that touches us.

In 2006 Douglas-Klotz published a new collection of poetic renderings from the Aramaic words of Jesus entitled Blessings of the Cosmos, in which he considers anew the Beatitudes in Luke and Yeshua's farewell talk in John as the source of spiritual practice and experience.

Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz directs the Edinburgh Institute for Advanced Learning and co-founded the Edinburgh International Festival of Middle Eastern Spirituality and Peace. He is the past co-chair of the Mysticism Group of the American Academy of Religion and has published several books on Middle Eastern spirituality and peace, including Prayers of the Cosmos, Desert Wisdom, The Hidden Gospel, The Genesis Meditations, The Sufi Book of Life, Blessings of the Cosmos and The Tent of Abraham. In 2005 he was awarded the Kessler-Keener Foundation Peacemaker of the Year Award for his work on Middle Eastern spirituality and peacemaking. More information on his work can be found at http://www.abwoon.com

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