Luke Clossey

Published On


Page Range

pp. 519–548


  • English

Print Length

30 pages

17. Language and Power

  • Luke Clossey (author)
The deep ken saw power and meaning in the word “Jesus” itself, as that word consonated with Jesus himself. Where the plain ken understood the meaning of a word as accidental, the deep ken perceived its meaning hardwired into the fabric of the universe. The best way to fathom the deep-ken power of “Jesus” is to watch the cult develop around the name itself, most successfully promoted by Bernardino of Siena. More broadly, the name “Jesus” was applied to a variety of people, places, and things: A number of “Jesuses” governed the Ottoman empire; the largest “Jesus” had two masts and shot iron darts. Sometimes Jesus language not only harmonized with the universe, but was understood to have the power to manipulate it. Studying the ways cultists used “Jesus,” often in conjunction with relics and mathematics, to maximize their spiritual and material well-being illustrates the deep ken's logic of language.


Luke Clossey

Associate Professor of Global History at Simon Fraser University

Luke Clossey is an associate professor of global history at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. His first book, Salvation and Globalization in the Early Jesuit Missions (Cambridge UP, 2008), won the Canadian Historical Association's Ferguson Prize for best work of non-Canadian history; a chapter from it won a paper prize from the World History Association. His writings on global religion, the history of ideas, and history methodology have appeared in the Journal of World History, the Journal of Global History, the Journal of Early Modern History, the Sixteenth Century Journal, Global History Review 全球史评 论 , History Compass, the Wiley-Blackwell Companion to World Literature, and The Cambridge World History.