في المجاز الروحي: حوار مع متى المسكين
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Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics
[In the summer of 1991, a recorded oral dialogue on issues related to allegory and hermeneutics took place between Matta el-Meskeen, a distinguished Coptic monk, and three members of of Alif's board of advisors: Nasr Hamid Abu Zeid, Professor of Islamic Studies and Discourse Analysis, Gaber Asfour, Professor of Literary Criticism and Poetics, Hoda Wasfi, Professor of French Literature and Critical Theory. Matta el-Meskeen's prolific intellectual output culminated in his erudite commentary on The Gospel According to St. John, in two volumes. The dialogue revolved around similes, symbols, interpretations and levels of meaning in sacred and literary texts. The following are excerpts from Matta el-Meskeen's contribution to the dialogue. • I address myself to people whose consciousness of the spiritual sublime is limited, but who have a humanist heritage -- be it Moslem or Christian. They have a gift granted to men by God. He gave it to Adam, to you and me. We received universal (kullī) consciousness as a gift from God, but we were lost, because of Adam's banishment and wanderings in the world. Thus, universal consciousness was lost, and Man had to live with partial consciousness. From time to time, on the hands of Prophets, spiritual consciousness confined to Reason went beyond and reached universal consciousness. • Why is water a symbol (ramz) in the New Testament? Because water gives life. When He says: I am living water, it is obvious that this symbol entails the most powerful attribute that can be projected upon a person. One cannot, therefore, come up with a symbol that does not entail fundamental attributes of the person. Otherwise, the image will be shaky. When we examine the images of Christ which we have constituted into a symbol, you will see that they represent -- collectively -- Christ's attributes.]
Abou Zayd, N. H.
(1992). في المجاز الروحي: حوار مع متى المسكين. Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, 200–209.
El-Maeskeen, Matta, et al.
"في المجاز الروحي: حوار مع متى المسكين." Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, no. 12, 1992, pp. 200–209.