The idea that the human body consists of 'subtle bodies' - psycho-spiritual essences - can be found in a variety of esoteric traditions. This radical form of selfhood challenges the dualisms at the heart of Western discourse : mind/body, divine/human, matter/spirit, reason/emotion, I/other. 'Angels of Desire' explores the aesthetics and ethics of subtle bodies. What emerges is an understanding of embodiment not exclusively tied to materiality. The book examines the use of subtle bodies across a range of traditions, yogic, tantric, theosophical, hermetic and sufi. 'Angels of Desire' shows the relevance of the subtle body for religion, philosophy, art history and contemporary feminist religious studies and theories of desire.
Jay Johnston is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Studies in Religion at the University of Sydney, Australia.
Introduction Section I: Subjectivity Chapter 1: Subtle Bodies Chapter 2: Difference Chapter 3: Subtle Subjects of Desire Section II: Aesthetics Chapter 4: "Seering" Desire: The Between Chapter 5: Inhabiting Sight Chapter 6: Duree: the Aesthetics of Desire-Time Section III: Ethics Chapter 7: An Ethics of Emptiness Chapter 8: Witnessing: Detached Immersion Chapter 9: An Ethics of Grace: The Law of Desiring Angels Conclusion: The Angelic Ternary