Wednesday, 20 July 2016

On Raimon Panikkar's Opera Omnia

This message and accompanying letter were sent to the theological library lists today.

Orbis Books is publishing a posthumous Works of Raimon Panikkar called Opera Omnia. Opera Omnia usually means the final collected writings of an author, so we assume that this is Panikkar’s previously published work in a uniform set. However, study of introductions and contents soon shows that this Opera Omnia is quite a deal more than just that. Rewrites, fugitive pieces, lost papers and all sorts of other writing are assembled under headings, as well as edits of classic titles, making this a whole new adventure for his readers. One Panikkar scholar (Ruth) here at the Carmelite Library sent me this email analysis of her reading so far, which she is happy for me to share on the library lists. I trust some of this information will help your decision-making about this remarkable literary production at the end of Panikkar’s life. It helps to know what we’re looking at.

Dear Philip, 

I am beginning to look into Panikkar's vol. 1.2, Mysticism and spirituality, and am slowly, slowly getting a bit of an idea about what is happening in this series.  

With vol 1.1, which i own, i couldn't see any relation to other works of his which I know of. it all seems new -- though it may well not be - I might just not have come across anything he has written there, or it may be the first time it has been translated from another language. But it has the feel of an introduction and overview. Good to read anyway.  

With vol. 1.2, however, it is clearly three books previously published - but in the first one, (The Experience of God: icons of the Mystery) the translation has been slightly altered, some of the headings have been altered, and an entire middle section on the Christian experience has been omitted.

 Then follow three papers originally given in Italian and now translated into English.  
The next book in this volume is his iconic Blessed Simplicity.  And I see the third book is A Dwelling Place for Wisdom. From just a quick check, the original appendices have been omitted and a new one inserted.  

Next comes something I haven't seen before, with the over-all title of The hindu Monk, about 12 pages.  And then a Letter to Abishiktananda on Eastern and Western Monasticism, which i am looking forward to reading.  

This is followed by a book I do know, The Dwelling Place of Wisdom. But the Omnia Opera version contains only the first 69 pages of the original English edition. Pages 70--157 are not reproduced. Perhaps they will appear in some other volume.  

This morning I was talking to a Camaldolese Oblate, Glen Wolter, who lives in Queensland,and is now in his eighties. He used to correspond with Panikkar, and to whom Panikkar sent him pamphlets that may not have been published in book form. He has offered to send copies of these pamphlets back with Fr Michael Mifsud, who is staying with them at present. Glen is aware of the Omnia Opera, and was asking me about prices. That series is going to be such a resource! 

Warmest regards, 


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