The Center for Sophiological Studies
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Sophia in Exile
In his latest work, Sophia in Exile, Michael Martin explores the great themes of Sophiology—among them Creation and creativity, ontology and eschatology, poetic metaphysics and marriage—and calls into question the technocratic assumptions and commitments of the Zeitgeist. Using the tools of philosophy, theology, literary criticism, and autobiography, this probing text opens the sophianic core of the adventure of being fully human.
“Michael Martin is one of the most original voices in contemporary Christian writing. Who else could yoke bee-keeping and the Holy Grail, marriage and Berdyaev, or see sparks of divine wisdom in poets from Robert Herrick to Eleanor Farjeon? He shows us that in our exile from God and his presence in creation we also lose ourselves. But Martin’s regenerative poetic prose offers us new ways to reconnect, through the indwelling of Sophia. This is a stirring call to wake up to the Christian faith in its cosmic dimension: a message we need to hear all the more urgently at this time of environmental crisis.”
—ALISON MILBANK, author of God and the Gothic
The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz
The Ezekiel Foxcroft translation revised, and with two new essays by Michael Martin
The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz was first published in the seventeenth century and has perplexed, amazed, and entertained generations of readers, seekers, and scholars every since. Often described as an alchemical romance, the book has also been recognized as a precursor to science fiction, as a satire, and as a storehouse of esoteric knowledge. In his commentary, Michael Martin undertakes an agapeic reading of The Chymical Wedding and finds a text that has been misunderstood from the beginning, a narrative that offers instead of hoped-for secrets something much more useful: physic for the soul.
“Michael Martin’s edition of the 17th-century tale of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, along with his deeply insightful and soulful introduction and commentary, reveals that this poetic metaphysical story wields a transformative power needed now. The intellectual hubris of our present civilization veils the true world with the life of death. The way out—breakdown as breakthrough—exemplified by the very language of the tale, undoes us, baffles us intellectually, while pure poetic Eros opens receptivity of soul and the equation of Life and Love.”
~ ROBERT SARDELLO, The School of Spiritual Psychology
Notes Towards the Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything
In a wide-ranging yet cohesive set of essays—on science, art, education, economics, Sophiology, and both the poisons of our age and their antidote—Michael Martin argues on behalf of an integral Christian culture. His is not a nostalgic yearning for a legendary “Christendom”; rather, his is a project of renewal, an anticipation of the Parousia. At a time when Christianity seems all but in retreat, Martin’s Transfiguration open doors into possible futures.
“Few writers are true artists, and fewer yet accept the terms of the writer’s vocation: that sacred Johannine assignment of uncanny purity and courage, grace and grit. Michael Martin’s Transfiguration is a sacramental and Sophianic tour de force. Its journey through storm and tranquility purifies the word catholic while magnifying the original meaning of the word radical. I weary of the disembodied abstractions and cultural hegemonies that blather rather than metabolize, market rather than ensoul, advocate rather than integrate, and confuse parts for wholes. Michael Martin’s capacity to risk entering the jagged post-truth places, events, forms, and conditions arrives with crucial timing: his visionary Transfiguration is precisely what the True Physician could order for a deeply divided and ailing world.”—THERESE SCHROEDER-SHEKER, Chalice of Repose Project
The Submerged Reality
Sophiology and the Turn to a Poetic Metaphysics
Foreword by Adrian Pabst
In The Submerged Reality: Sophiology and the Turn to a Poetic Metaphysics, Michael Martin challenges us to reimagine theology, philosophy, and poetics through the lens of sophiology. Sophiology, as this book shows, is not a rogue theology, but a way of perceiving that which shines through the cosmos: a way that can return metaphysics to postmodern thought and facilitate a (re)union of religion, science, and art.
“In The Submerged Reality, Michael Martin suggests why a radicalized orthodoxy in the future will need more to ‘walk on the wild side’ and appropriate what is best in the esoteric, occult, and even gnostic traditions. He intimates that the past failure to do this is linked to a one-sidedly masculine theology, downgrading the sacrality of life, immanence, fertility, and the ‘active receptivity’ of the feminine. The consequence of this has been the perverse liberal attempt to distill ‘order out of disorder,’ or the denial of real essences, relations, gender difference, and the objective existence of all things as beautiful. Finally, Martin argues that such a genuinely feminist theology would also be concerned with a space between the openly empirical observation of nature on the one hand, and the reflective exposition of divine historical revelation on the other. In this space, continuously new poetic realities are shaped and emerge under the guidance of holy inspiring wisdom.” ~ JOHN MILBANK
The Incarnation of the Poetic Word
Theological Essays on Poetry & Philosophy • Philosophical Essays on Poetry & Theology
Foreword by William Desmond
Afterword by Therese Schroeder-Sheker
In The Incarnation of the Poetic Word, Michael Martin brings together the worlds of theology, philosophy, and literary studies through the introduction of agapeic criticism, a method of inquiry characterized by reverence and attention, exploring what truly lives in the written word.
“Michael Martin is one of those rare modern scholars who allows his speculative, artistic, and imaginative gifts to enliven and enrich his scholarship without any sacrifice of rigor.”
~ DAVID BENTLEY HART
“Michael Martin is a poet, a theologian, and a person of philosophical inclination--all of these roles diversely, and all of them communicating with each other in his rich writings. This, his plurivocal vocation, is given expression in The Incarnation of the Poetic Word.”~ WILLIAM DESMOND, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; Villanova University, USA
The Heavenly Country
An Anthology of Primary Sources, Poetry, and Critical Essays on Sophiology
Sophiology — the philosophical and theological notion of a transcendent splendor becoming immanent in the world, through nature, liturgy, prayer, and the arts — is just now coming into its own as an important area of study. This revolutionary casebook brings together primary source documents, poetry, and critical articles written by a group of exemplary scholars working in theology, philosophy, literary studies, psychology, and poetics. Contributors include Bruce Foltz, Gregory Glazov, Jennifer Newsome Martin, Michael Martin, Aaron Riches, Brent Dean Robbins, Artur Sebastian Rosman, Fr. Robert Slesinski, and Arthur Versluis.
“In making available in one place a range of texts from the history of Christian meditation on Wisdom —from Jacob Boehme to John Pordage, and then closer to our time, Goethe, Solovyov and Bulgakov, among many others — this work already performs an important service. However, Michael Martin understands that these are not simply variously difficult or even eccentric historical documents, but are — like all worthwhile traditions — material for a Christian and human future. The book opens then into a wide-ranging selection of poetry, followed by a collection of essays which, in Martin’s own summation, pass beyond this preliminary gathering of material to the vital work of assimilating the vision of Divine Wisdom into the life of Christians today and for the days to come.”
~ BISHOP SERAPHIM J. SIGRIST
Literature and the Encounter with God in Post-Reformation England
"With its ever-broadening awareness of writings by and about women, Catholics, radicals, Jews, and Muslims, criticism of early modern religious literature has become more and more ecumenical. But Michael Martin reminds us that one group of mystically-inclined writers--including eccentrics such as John Dee, Sir Kenelm Digby, Henry and Thomas Vaughn, Jane Lead, and even John Donne--remains sorely understudied and undervalued. Bolstered by penetrating insights from medieval and postmodern religious thinkers, Literature and the Encounter with God in Post-Reformation England is a sophisticated and informative study of these writers and of their diverse and determined attempts to approach an increasingly unapproachable God." ~GREGORY KNEIDEL, University of Connecticut
Meditations in Times of Wonder
"Writing as an heir of metaphysical poets such as George Herbert (to whom he dedicates an ode ), Martin gives us well-crafted and deeply thought-provoking poems. This work takes its religion seriously, but the most affecting moments are those when an invisible grace shines through stirringly realized images: the enigmatic emptiness hid in the whorls of a snail shell; freshly washed, windblown bed clothes flapping up on the line like rising spirits; the earthy details of a compost heap and its natural spices ("egg shells, faded stalks of parsely . . . wine lees, bones, and bedding from the hens . . . ") figuring a magical, half-heavenly alchemy. It's not a book for the faint of heart or mind, but most certainly does have its share of both tenderness and healthy human crustiness to balance its metaphysical tenor. Most importantly, many of Martin's lines have clearly been struck by beauty's glancing blow." ~ DANIEL POLIKOFF