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From “Open Heaven” to Noetic Perception: New Ontologies of the Divine, New Methods and Epistemologies of Accessing the Glory

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Chapter Summary

The expression "open heaven" uses words of everyday language and implies as well an ordinary capacity of seeing. This epistemology is still an aisthetic epistemology, if one expresses it in Platonic terms. According to this aisthetic perspective, the expression "open heaven" presupposes a firmament similar to that of the Genesis narrative (Gen 1), as a curtain separating heaven and earth, and also the possibility for this firmament to be open as a curtain. The middle Platonists and Philo further develop the noetic language in connection with divine realities and divine knowledge. Noetic idiom can also be encountered in other religious materials of Late Antiquity, for instance in the Hermetic corpus and the Chaldaean Oracles. The great mysteries of God, which have Abraham and Moses as key initiates, actually denote a mystical method where the intellect can access God's noetic world.

Keywords: aisthetic epistemology; divine knowledge; Genesis narrative (Gen 1); God's noetic world; heaven

10.1163/9789004251700_020
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