Episode 56: De-thinging Everything with Shalom Goldman

Today we're talking with Prof. Shalom Goldman, Pardon Tillinghast professor of religion at Middlebury College, about the best selling poet in the United States. Would you like to guess who that is?

It's Rumi!
AKA Molavi or Mowlana.
But Americans don't know it either.

Here's the episode for those who want to hear before scrolling down.

I took notes of all the things I need to write down in the post – bibliography list and all – as expected from a professor – and lost it!
So I'm going over the episode and looking up links as we go – the post may get updated the day after airing too, so if you're reading this through one of the other sites, you may want to check the updates post here: http://podcast.zeresh.co.il/2019/11/04/shalom-goldman/ ‎

We talked about

Perennial philosophy

Drugs, raising conciousness, and the poet Robert Bly

The Sufi dancer Noa Frimer (the video is of a non-sufi Persian dance)

De-Islamizing Rumi, de-Iranicizing Rumi, de-Islamizing Sufism, de-christianizing, de-Judeizing, de-gayizing, de-linking Sufism from the people, de-thinging everything…

Different desctiptions about the impossibility of translating poetry

The identity pendulum in Iran – Islamic and Iranian identity, Islamic and Western (also referred to timeline 3 with Ori Goldberg).

Ardā Wirāz Nāmag – which I have to translate and annotate in Hebrew sometime. Comparable to Dante's Inferno, but so much better.

Ancient Zoroastrian commandments and sins.

Babylonian Talmud discussion – how many sins can you commit at once

Universal mysticism, universal mythology, universal philosophy…

My online Persian course (for Hebrew speakers)

Ezra, Nehemia, Esther, Cyrus and his Cyllinder


Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley

An article about Maddonna and Kabbalah by Shalom Goldman

Gold in the Dust – Memories of Sasson and Gollar Khakshouri by yours truly

Back to the Sources by Barry Holtz

Trump comparing himself to Cyrus in Atlantic Council

My Tablemag article about Nofuzophobia

Poems by Rumi

MYSTICAL POEMS OF RUMI poem 379 in A.J. Arberry's translation:

You who are imam of love, say Allah Akbar, for you are


shake your two hands, become indifferent to existence.

You were fixed to a time, you made haste;

the time of prayer has come. Leap up — why are you seated?

In hope of the qibla of God you carve a hundred qibla', in

hope of that idol’s love you worship a hundred idols.

Fly upwards, O soul, O obedient soul;

the moon is above, the shadow is low.

Do not like a beggar knock your hand at any door;

knock at the ring of the door of heaven, for you have a long arm.

(the other "translation", by Coleman Barks, is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike Rumi)

The real number of the poem is 2933, this is the Persian text

And this is a reading by Mr. Parviz Shahbazi (found it on YouTube and only took the relevant stanzas of it for the podcast)

Shalom Goldman's books:

The newest book – Starstruck in the Holy Land – How the Arts Shaped American Passions about Israel 

Zeal for Zion: Christians, Jews, and the Idea of the Promised Land

The best quote ever

Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people [attributed to  H. L. Mencken (1880–1956)].

News flash

Some current affairs for the end: Today the Islamic Republic marks the day of struggle against World Arrogance, which is basically the US and its allies. This date, Aban 13, or November 4th, commemorates Khomeini’s exile in 1964 after reproaching the Shah for being such a wuss against the US, a bloodbath during the revolution in 1978 when 56 students became Shahid in a clash with the Shah’s security forces. This is why this day is also Student day. In 1979 Iranian youth took over the American embassy and started what we all know as the Hostage Crisis – Khomeini said it was more important than overthrowing the Shah, because that was driving out a puppet of the United States, and this is driving out the Wold Arrogance itself. Last year there were also protests on this day, which was a day before Trump returned the sanctions on Iran. We all know what happened after that – the riots and demonstrations against the regime have decreased significantly since the return of the sanctions. Good job, Mr. Trump!


If you enjoyed this episode and with to express your gratitude, you’re very welcome to buy me a coffee or two (or more, there’s no limit!) at www.ko-fi.com/thamar. All the links are also in the post body. 

The following is more relevant for Hebrew speakers, but if you reached all the way up to here, you can understand English very well, so let’s be polite and do the technicalities part also in English:

My patrons may have noticed they were not charged this month, as I promised when the podcast came back for these 10 episodes – I stopped after 3 cycles, and will go back to charging patrons only after when I go back to weekly episodes – either when the patronage sum reaches a level that allows me to do it with financial peace of mind, or when we get additional funding for some episodes again… If you want to express your appreciation, be my patron and encourage me to go back to podcasting, please do it at www.patreon.com/thamar.

Another exciting thing that’s going on right now is a crowd-funding campaign for three courses I’m giving in Jerusalem (in Hebrew, alas) starting Dec 2, but only if the campaign reaches it’s destination. The campaign is actually both enrollment and a reality-check for these courses: Iran – culture and history, Linguistics 101 and Current affairs in Iran. Check out the link http://bit.ly/THMRacademy for more details, if you can understand Hebrew. If not and you’re still here – thank you for listening!

Kiosk's song

Not as Jazzy as I promised, but what song is better suitable for an episode about de-linking things than "take it away":


Next on Enriched Iranium

Our next episode is in Hebrew, and will air on my birthday, which is the 6th.

Then we have a few more English episodes so our anonymous sponsor can enjoy it too:
One of these Mondays I will meet with Dr. Emily Landau of the INSS to fight like civilized people without the time constraints we always have on the media. Dr. Landau is a strong advocate of the World Arrogance, in the conflict with Iran.
We will also talk with David Nissan about his childhood in Iran and about his present day bridge-building activity, bringing Iran to the Israeli audience in lectures.
On the last of the 10 episodes sponsored by our anonymous sponsor in conjunction with our Pateron patrons, we will talk with Dr. Ilan Abecassis about the Iran-Iraq war, in a 3000 year perspective! That’s crazy, I know.
Our talk with Dr. Ori Goldberg – timeline 4 – revolution to present – may also be in English, I’m not sure about that yet.
In another Hebrew episode will talk with Shirly Shamsian about her amazing Aliyah story and bridge-building activity, bringing Israel to Iranians in the media.