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GUNN, Joshua

Spring 2004, pages 29 - 51

An Occult Poetics, or, The Secret Rhetoric of Religion

Abstract: Drawing from a number of "New Age" or occult texts, the essay characterizes the rhetorical functions of the deliberate use of difficult language in occult discourse as the outworking of an "occult poetics." The essay suggests that most contemporary New Age discourse tends to follow a pattern illustrated in the Platonic dialogues: 1) it emphasizes the limits of language; and 2) it tends to stress the necessity of new vocabularies or novel expressions for intuiting ineffable, spiritual truths. The essay concludes by comparing occultism to the contemporary academic debate over obscure theoretical terminology.
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