Jesus the Imagination: On Taking Blake’s Christianity Seriously

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Date(s) - 3rd July, 2024
19:30 - 21:00

The Blake Society


Talk at the Blake Society. Full details here.

William Blake realised that the human longing to participate in infinite life has been unleashed afresh and distorted in our materialistic age, because its deistic and atheistic assumptions frustrate that yearning, leading to an addictive, violent striving for more. When human beings lose touch with the divine dynamics in life, the cosmos becomes bounded and small, leaving the eternal soul ‘shut in narrow doleful form’. Particularly in the second part of his life, he expanded upon his distinctively Christian convictions to address this dire predicament. The divine dimension is both closer to us than we are to ourselves, and transcends all that we can know, even as it draws us towards itself, particularly in the human-divine person of Jesus.

Another way to put this is that imagination is not fundamentally a human capacity that Blake can inspire, but is a wellspring for the natural world and the cosmos with which humans have a distinctive vocation to collaborate. The key, Blake realised, is to shake off the Spectre that argues we are capable of self-salvation and discard the doctrine of Selfhood, which insists we are isolated islands of consciousness in vast dead oceans of space, and instead to renew the divine vision and our trust in it.