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Knowledge of the Sacred
According To to S H Nasr

From His Book 'Knowledge And The Sacred'
faith and knowledge
spiritual life of man
St. Augustine
St. Thomas
the Intellect
the Sacred
the supreme Substance
the Tree of Life and Tree of Good and Evil


Control-Questions And Answers:

( for those numbers see below at NB )

The answers are quotes from the book 'Knowledge And The Sacred'

What was Reality in the beginning at once? KS1 o

What has happened with knowledge over time? KS1-11

What has become well-nigh unattainable to the vast majority of humans? KS1-7

What is is the very substance of knowledge? KS1-2

Intelligence is endowed with the possibility of what?KS2+3

What is is symbolized by the tree of Life, and
What happened to man after having tasted from the Tree of Good and Evil? KS2+10

What remains the supreme way to gain access to the Sacred? KS2+18

Modern man has lost the sense of what? KS2-8

To what mystery has man become oblivious to? KS2-3

What is man's long journey in time? KS3+15

With what continues the human conciousness to be blessed? KS3+18

What is the principle of adequation of the medieval scholastics? KS49fn6

What can happen to the rational faculty if divorced from intellect and revelation? KS3-2

How can man be defined - rather than being a 'rational animal' ? KS4+6

What is to be human? KS4+7

What is the supreme Substance ? KS4+9

To what is the supreme Substance related? KS4+11

This intellectual faculty has been replaced by what? KS4+13

What has to be discovered in order to rediscover the Sacred? KS4+17

How can this process be facilitated? KS4+18

What was the consequence of the reduction of intellect to reason ? KS4-9

What was the consequence of the limitation of intelligence to cunning and cleverness in the modern world? KS4-10

What was theologia for Plato? KS49fn7

What possibility has the traditional doctrine envisaged man to be possessing? KS6+9

What has the reduction of man's intellectual faculty to only the extroverted and analytical function of the mind led many religiously sensitive persons? KS6+16

What is the relationship of faith and knowledge ? KS6-17

How does Shankara explain the Upanishads (lit. 'near-sitting')?KS7+2

What was the supreme experience of Buddha and what does it imply? KS7-12

What is the gnostic or illuminated sage called (in Islam) KS12+10

Paul asserted sacred knowledge to be one of Christ's what? KS15-7

What happened during the last 2000 years to this sapiential dimension of the Christian tradition ?KS16+1

How can a mind totally depleted of the Sacred grasp the significance of the Sacred as sacred? KS16+18

What is the central depository of sacred knowledge for Origen? KS17-1

What is (according to him) the function of spiritual beings (concerning sacred Scripture)? KS18+9

What is the spiritual life of man? KS18+12

What makes it possible for man to grasp the inner meaning of scripture and to become illuminated by this knowledge ? KS18+14

What is the Logos? KS18c KS21+6

What is hermeneutics ? KS18-8

What does the 'kiss of his mouth' from the songs of songs (OT) allude to? KS19c

What change of perspective took place in Christianity concerning the role of the Christ? KS19-19

What did St. Augustine (in spite of Christianity's emphasis of Christ's role as the saviour of fallen man from his sins) accept concerning the intellect? KS19-13

What elements of later Western Christian thought does one not find with St. Augustin? KS19-7

What did Erigena see at the heart of Christianity? KS20-3

Why is divine knowledge no longer immediately available to man, although the Logos is ever present in him? KS21+11

ST21: In wisdom psychology and religion become united and wisdom is a virtue common to man and angel.

What is the Logos? KS21+6

Through what does this light of God remain accessible (and available) to man even now-a-days? KS21+15

What saw Erigena in the book of nature? KS21-18

What is the beginning of human perfection and the quest for the attainment of sacred knowledge according to Erigena? KS21-14

What happens to scientia after this first stage? KS21-12

What does this illumination in turn enable man to realize concerning the essence of things? KS21-9

The intellect becomes transformed into what? KS21-7

Why is this knowledge of the Divinity [sacred knowledge] not immediately accessible to man in his present state, according to Erigena? KS21-5

What has the soul to do to regain that sacred knowledge? KS21-1

What were the drawbacks of the metaphysical system of St. Thomas? KS22-12

The philosophical agnosticism after St. Thomas could not have come about had the intellectual life of Christianity remained impregnated by what? KS23+9

In this context Eckhart, is what? KS23cl

Why is - according to Eckhart - the root of the intellect grounded in Divinity? KS23-14

What is the seat of conciousness through which man can reach knowledge of the Divinity (or Grund) according to Eckhart? KS23-12

What is , according to Eckhart the eye with which man sees God and with which God sees man? KS23-3

What is humanism ? KS24-14

The knowledge [of the Divinity] can be attained - according to Cusa except through what? KS25-9

What realization does Cusa's doctrine constitute concerning our "positive knowledge"? KS26+2

What did Luther state concerning faith? KS26cl

But Christian love is (or can be) related to knowledge through what? KS26+19

What is man's natural language according to Böme? KS27-3


KS1o In the beginning Reality was at once being, knowledge, and bliss or qudrah, Hikma, and rahma back_to_text

KS1-11 it has become separated from being, bliss or extasy which characterizes the union of knowledge and being.

KS1-7 knowledge and bliss, which is an aspect of the perfume of the Sacred

KS1-2 it is the knowledge of that reality, which is the supreme Substance, the Sacred as such

KS2+3 it is endowed with the possibility of knowing the Absoluteback_to_text

KS2+10 The fruit of the Tree of Life symbolizes unitive knowledge (see KS49fn3), but by tasting the Tree of Good and Evil, man came to see things as externalized in a state of otherness and separation. The vision of duality blinded him to the primordial knowledge which lies at the heart of his intelligence. back_to_text

KS2+18 knowledge - and sacred knowledge remains the supreme path of union with that Reality wherein knowledge, being and bliss are united. back_to_text

KS2-8 he has lost the sense of wonder which results from his loss of the sense of the Sacred

KS2-3 that he can turn inwardly upon the infinite world within himself and also objectivize the world outside, to possess inner subjective knowledge as well as knowledge of a totally objective order

KS3+15 It is none other than the history of forgetfulness with occasional reversals of the downward flow; the latter are brought about by divine intervention in the cosmic and historical process

KS3+18 with the possibility of contemplating Reality... back_to_text

KS49fn6 that knowledge comes out in so far as the object known is within the knower

KS3-2 the rational faculty can become a luciferan [satanic] force

KS4+6 He can be defined as being endowed with a total intelligence centered upon the Absolute and created to know the Absolute. back_to_text

KS4+7 It is to know and to transcent one-self

KS4+9 It is at once the source of all that comprises the objective world and the supreme Self which shines at the center of human consciousness. back_to_text

KS4+11 it is related to intelligence as the sun is related to its rays

KS4+13 it has been replaced by reason

KS4+17 the sacred quality of principal knowledge

KS4+18 by tracing the trajectory which knowledge followed in its fall from being the fruit of the Tree of Life to becoming limited to the realm of profane knowledge

KS4-9 sacred knowledge (did not only) become inaccessible and to + some even meaningless, but it also destroyed that natural theology (sapientia by Plato)

KS4-10 it destroyed that natural theology, which in the Christian context represented at least a reflection of knowledge of a sacred order, of the wisdom or sapientia which was the central means of spiritual perfection and deliverance.

KS49fn7 It was the highest form of philosophy which was to know the Supreme Good through the intellect. back_to_text

KS6+9 of knowing things in principle and the principles of all things leading finally to the knowledge of Ultimatel Reality.

KS6+16 it has lead them to take refuge in faith alone, leaving belief or doctrinal creed to the mercy of ever-changing paradigms or theories caught in the progress of relativization and constant transformation.

6-17, x answer cc

KS7+2 faith is inseparable from knowledge

KS7+2 as that science or knowledge of Brahma, which 'sets to rest' or destroys what appears as the world along with the ignorance which is its root. The cause of all separation, division, otherness, and ultimately suffering is ignorance (avidyâ) and the cure is knowledge. back_to_text

KS7-12 illumination, which implies knowledge. (Its beginning is the) 'birth of awareness that all things are void.'
cc 7+12

KS12+10 al-`arif bi-llah, which means in the gnostic who knows through or by God and not only the gnostic who knows God.

KS15-7 to be one of Christ's precious gifts, to be sought earnestly by those qualified to receive and to transmit it. back_to_text

KS16+1 it gradually eclipsed, ... leading to the secularization of the concept of knowledge itself.

KS17-1 it is sacred Scripture which nourishes the soul of man and provides for his need to know. back_to_text

KS18+9 it is to discover (the) inner meaning of revealed truth, and to use their intelligence in the contemplation of spiritual realities.

KS18+12 it is none other than the gradual development of the power of the soul to grasp the spiritual intelligence of Scripture which like Christ himself, feeds the soul. back_to_text

KS18+14 it is the presence of the Logos in the heart of man and at the root of his intelligence.

KS18c it is the illuminator of souls or the light which makes intellectual vision possible. (fn le logos est présent, en l'homme, chez qui il est l'intelligence. Parcequ'il se trouve à la fois en Dieu et en l'homme, comme en deux extrémités, il peut les relier et il le fait… Lumiere de l'object et du sujet, intermediare de vision ...) back_to_text

KS18-8 it is the science of penetration into the inner meaning of sacred Scripture on the basis of a veritable sciencia sacra (sacred knowledge) and with the aid of an intelligence which is already illuminated by the Word or Logos. back_to_text

KS19c it alludes to the transmission of inner knowledge through that organ which is endowed with the power to invoke his Name and to utter his Word (dhikr)

KS19-19 from Christ as source of knowledge and the illuminator of the human mind (to the role) as the saviour of man from his sins

KS19-13 he accepted the innate power of the intellect as given by God to man to receive divine illumination. To think the truth man needs illumination which proceeds from God. back_to_text

KS19-7 the antithesis between knowledge and faith

KS20-3 (it was) a sacred knowledge or wisdom which was for him ... the authentic philosophy: 'true religion is true psychology'. back_to_text

KS21+11 because man has become separated from God...The men of this age can no longer 'speak to God' and see things   in divinis  as did Adam in paradise or as did men in the Golden Age.

KS21+6 it is not only .. the origin of revealed truth (but also) the source of sacred knowledge here and now; (ie. in the beginning w a s the Word and in the beginning i s the [everpresent] Word) back_to_text

KS21+15 it is accessible through Scripture and nature.

KS21-18 (he saw in it) the means of discovering that sacred knowledge which lies within the very substance of human microcosm. back_to_text

KS21-14 it begins with the awareness of the human mind.

KS21-12 it becomes transformed into sapientia and the soul of man becomes illuminated by God, who ... contemplates Himself in those whom He has illumined. fn Trouillard, J.

KS21-9 that the very essence of things is Gods knowledge of them and that there is a reciprocity and finally, identity between knowledge and being. back_to_text

KS21-7 the intellect becomes transformed into what it knows, and the highest object of that knowledge is God. back_to_text

KS21-5 before the fall man possessed knowledge of everything   in divinis, in an inward manner as reflected in and reflecting God. But after the fall his knowledge became externalized.

KS21-1 the soul must pass through eight stages.

KS22-12 it tended to become overrationalistic in imprisoning intuitions of a metaphysical order in syllogistic categories. back_to_text

KS23+9 impregnated by gnosis; had not the reality of knowledge as  theosis become transformed into the question of using rational knowledge to preserve faith from being corroded or weakened by the attacks of rationalism...

KS23cl he is the most powerful and majestic expression of Christian gnosis in the medieval period. back_to_text

KS23-14 (because) the intellect is  i n c r e a t u s and i n c r e a b i l i s ( ie. uncreated and not to be created)

KS23-12 it is the spark in the soul = das Seelenfünklein

KS23-3 this eye is none other than that supernal intellect or intelligence which relates man to the Sacred in a direct manner and which enables knowledge to become the central means of access to the Sacred.

KS24-14 it is ignorance s.p.112, 181, 212, 258 back_to_text

KS25-9 except through being experienced and tasted (lat. sapere)

KS26+2 that our "positive knowledge" is ignorance, so he confirms the wisdom that .. all limited and limiting knowledge i s ignorance. back_to_text

KS26cl he emphazised faith above everything else (as love in Catholicism) back_to_text

KS26+19 through union which is the goal of both love and knowledge, so is faith related to knowledge through the fact that without some knowledge there cannot be faith, for were there no knowledge one could just have faith in just anything and the object of faith would not matter.

KS27-3 it is at once the language of paradise and the essential knowledge of all things. back_to_text







KS = Knowledge And The Sacred, Seyyed Hossein Nasr; NY. 1989
KS3+2 = page 3; row 2 from above
KS4-9 = page 4; row 9 from bottom


- More texts by [S. H. Nasr]


First of all it is Islam that reigns (see Sura 5:3). Traditional Islam does not accept the notion that the world-religions (or even any other man-made belief systems) are equally valid roads to God - Allah, these are perennialist interpretations.

◊ Even so - except for elements of corruption and deviation - they still reflect some sacred truth, they did not turn into complete falsehood by being abrogated.

◊ In the words of Muhyiddín Ibn `Arabi:

”The religious laws (shara`í - of different religions) are all lights, and the law of Muhammad ( Allah bless him and give him peace ) among these lights is as the sun's light among the light of the stars…” [more]

And he wrote:
”So all paths return to look to the Prophet's path (Allah bless him and give him peace): if the prophetic messengers had been alive in his time, they would have followed him just as their religious laws have followed his law.…”

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latest update: 2017-02-14


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