Publication details [#10830]

Tsur, Reuven. 2003. On the Shore of Nothingness: Space, Rhythm, and Semantic Structure in Religious Poetry and Its Mystic-Secular Counterpart. A Study in Cognitive Poetics. Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic. 380 pp. URL


This book does not study religious ideas for their own sake, but how religious ideas are turned into verbal imitations of religious experience by poetic structure. Even such words as ‘ecstasy’ or ‘mysticism’ denote clear-cut concepts. The book investigates how such a conceptual language can convey such non-conceptual experiences as meditation, ecstasy or mystic insights. Briefly, it explores how the poet, by using words, can express the ‘ineffable’. It submits to close reading English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Armenian and Hebrew texts, from the Bible, through medieval, renaissance, metaphysical, and baroque poetry, to (secular) romantic and symbolistic poetry. (Reuven Tsur)