Of Selfhood and Awakening. William Blake and the Book of Job

An audio version of this talk is at my podcast, Talks and Thoughts, available via podcast feeds.

The Book of Job has been used to retell the Christian story, as with Carl Jung’s Answer to Job. It can also be sought for what it says about suffering.

The Hebrew tale inspired William Blake in a distinctive, brilliant way. It helped him to diagnose the modern predicament and its religious errors. Job’s suffering and patience led Blake to a mature statement of his spiritual perception, found in his 21 illustrations.

In this set of reflections, I ask what Blake shows us in each of his plates, and how Blake charts a path from a mistaken religiosity of rite and righteousness to one of awakening and participation in the human form divine.

Creation is not about separation, Blake avers, but manifestation. Christianity is not about sin but sleep. Humanity does not enlarge God’s consciousness. Rather, humanity can awaken to its being-in-God.