Book Chapter

The Sacred Opening



Hass AW (2021) The Sacred Opening. In: Hass A (ed.) Sacred Modes of Being in a Postsecular World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 15-30.

In the ongoing irresolution between religion and the secular that uniquely marks the West, this chapter looks at the notion of the sacred as something always and already resolved to its counterpart, the profane. In defining the sacred as the opening of the world to its own outside, the chapter explores the reaches of this opening in relation to David Jasper’s Sacred Trilogy. Across Jasper’s texts the sacred opens us to a mystical possibility embodied in spaces both real and imagined – such as desert, body or community – where the ascetic and the aesthetic come together. The chapter shows how this embodiment inhabits or dwells within a liturgical space by looking at liturgy’s “ergon” (ἔργον) as cultural and communal poesis, which takes both individual and community to their own outside. This “ergon” is thus also a movement, a traversing with reverent care and a respectful silence towards “the impossible possibility of absolute vision” (Jasper). That vision enfolds together literature, art, religion, philosophy and sacrament in order to make possible within our world an impossibility that opens up our world, an opening that is both discovery and loss, both voice and silence, both all and nothing.

the sacred; the profane; religion; secularity; Jasper; liturgy; mysticism; poesis; asceticism; possibility

Publication date31/12/2021
Publication date online30/09/2021
PublisherCambridge University Press
Place of publicationCambridge
ISBN ‎9781316517918
eISBN 9781009047944

People (1)


Dr Andrew Hass

Dr Andrew Hass

Reader, Religion