Middle Eastern Spirituality

and Peace

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Talk: Mystical Poetry and the Middle Eastern Mind:
Experiments in Multi-leveled Poetic Translation

March 4

Facilitator: Dr Neil Douglas-Klotz

Venue: Sanctuary, St George’s West Church, 58 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh
Time: 7pm onwards. Doors open at 6.30pm

Cost: £5/£3 (Concessions), on the door, on the night.
Contact: Neill Walker, mesp2008@hotmail.co.uk, 0131 331 4469.

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 multi-leveled 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 and Quranic scholars about their own methodologies.

During this evening he will discuss the use of multi-leveled poetic verse to translate and interpret ancient Semitic languages in a way that fits the worldview and ways of knowing inherent in these cultures. He will also read from a number of his translations from the Aramaic of the words attributed to Jesus, from translations of mythic poetry from the Hebrew bible and from verses of the Quran.

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 was the 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 in Middle Eastern peacemaking.