Christian Mysticism eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 407 pages of information about Christian Mysticism.
as “the new law,” and of the sanction of duty as a “categorical imperative”—­will never find it easy to sympathise with those whose favourite words are St. John’s triad—­light, life, and love, and who find these the most suitable names to express what they know of the nature of God.  But those to whom the Fourth Gospel is the brightest jewel in the Bible, and who can enter into the real spirit of St. Paul’s teaching, will, I hope, be able to take some interest in the historical development of ideas which in their Christian form are certainly built upon those parts of the New Testament.


[Footnote 2:  See Appendix A for definitions of Mysticism and Mystical Theology.]

[Footnote 3:  See Appendix B for a discussion of the influence of the Greek mysteries upon Christian Mysticism.]

[Footnote 4:  Tholuck accepts the former derivation (cf.  Suidas, [Greek:  mysteria eklethesan para to tous akouontas myein to stoma kai medeni tauta exegeisthai]); Petersen, the latter.  There is no doubt that [Greek:  myesis] was opposed to [Greek:  epopteia], and in this sense denoted incomplete initiation; but it was also made to include the whole process.  The prevailing use of the adjective [Greek:  mystikos] is of something seen “through a glass darkly,” some knowledge purposely wrapped up in symbols.]

[Footnote 5:  So Hesychius says, [Greek:  Mystai, apo myo, myontes gar tas aistheseis kai exo ton sarkikon phrontidon genomenoi, outo tas theias analampseis edechonto.] Plotinus and Proclus both use [Greek:  myo] of the “closed eye” of rapt contemplation.]

[Footnote 6:  I cannot agree with Lasson (in his book on Meister Eckhart) that “the connexion with the Greek mysteries throws no light on the subject.”  No writer had more influence upon the growth of Mysticism in the Church than Dionysius the Areopagite, whose main object is to present Christianity in the light of a Platonic mysteriosophy.  The same purpose is evident in Clement, and in other Christian Platonists between Clement and Dionysius.  See Appendix B.]

[Footnote 7:  It should also be borne in mind that every historical example of a mystical movement may be expected to exhibit characteristics which are determined by the particular forms of religious deadness in opposition to which it arises.  I think that it is generally easy to separate these secondary, accidental characteristics from those which are primary and integral, and that we shall then find that the underlying substance, which may be regarded as the essence of Mysticism as a type of religion, is strikingly uniform.]

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Christian Mysticism from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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