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Showing posts from July, 2015

Interpreting the Infinite: Night Begins the Day

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In the eighteenth century, the concept of the sublime became very influential among painters and poets due to an increasing interest in the aesthetics of science. Expanding global exploration made people astutely aware of the enormous scale and splendor of the still-being-surveyed earthly wilderness, and the staggering immensity of the universe was being revealed by astronomy. The result was a combination of awe and fear—awe at the majesty and beauty of creation, linked with the fear of human frailty, mortality, and insignificance in the light of the vastness of the cosmos. Furthermore, this response itself became a point of interest: how do we existentially resolve our psychology and spirituality with this new information?

There are corresponding considerations of these concerns in Judaism, for example in the concept of yir’ah, or the fear of God as something bigger than oneself, and observance of the Ten Days of Penitence (between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) in which time between c…