Mysticism

Mysticism

Overview

Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.

A "mystikos" was an initiate of a mystery religion
Greco-Roman mysteries
Mystery religions, sacred Mysteries or simply mysteries, were religious cults of the Greco-Roman world, participation in which was reserved to initiates....

. The Eleusinian Mysteries
Eleusinian Mysteries
The Eleusinian Mysteries were initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times, these were held to be the ones of greatest importance...

, (Greek: Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) were annual initiation ceremonies in the cults of the goddesses Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

 and Persephone
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

, held in secret at Eleusis (near Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

) in ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

.
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Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.

Classical origins


A "mystikos" was an initiate of a mystery religion
Greco-Roman mysteries
Mystery religions, sacred Mysteries or simply mysteries, were religious cults of the Greco-Roman world, participation in which was reserved to initiates....

. The Eleusinian Mysteries
Eleusinian Mysteries
The Eleusinian Mysteries were initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times, these were held to be the ones of greatest importance...

, (Greek: Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) were annual initiation ceremonies in the cults of the goddesses Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

 and Persephone
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

, held in secret at Eleusis (near Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

) in ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

. The mysteries began in about 1600 B.C. in the Mycenean period and continued for two thousand years, becoming a major festival during the Hellenic
Hellenic
Hellenic is a synonym for Greek and may refer to:* Hellenic languages* Hellenic Airlines* Hellenic College, a liberal arts college in Brookline, Massachusetts* Hellenic College of London* Hellenic FC, a football club in South Africa...

 era, and later spreading to Rome.

Modern understanding


The present meaning of the term mysticism arose via Platonism
Platonism
Platonism is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. In a narrower sense the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism...

 and Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism , is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists, with its earliest contributor believed to be Plotinus, and his teacher Ammonius Saccas...

—which referred to the Eleusinian initiation as a metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

 for the "initiation" to spiritual truths and experiences—and is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness
Awareness
Awareness is the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding. More broadly, it is the state or quality of being aware of...

 of an ultimate reality
Absolute (philosophy)
The Absolute is the concept of an unconditional reality which transcends limited, conditional, everyday existence. It is sometimes used as an alternate term for "God" or "the Divine", especially, but by no means exclusively, by those who feel that the term "God" lends itself too easily to...

, divinity
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

, spiritual truth
Spirituality
Spirituality can refer to an ultimate or an alleged immaterial reality; an inner path enabling a person to discover the essence of his/her being; or the “deepest values and meanings by which people live.” Spiritual practices, including meditation, prayer and contemplation, are intended to develop...

, or God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism usually centers on practices intended to nurture those experiences. Mysticism may be dualistic
Dualism
Dualism denotes a state of two parts. The term 'dualism' was originally coined to denote co-eternal binary opposition, a meaning that is preserved in metaphysical and philosophical duality discourse but has been diluted in general or common usages. Dualism can refer to moral dualism, Dualism (from...

, maintaining a distinction between the self
Self
The self is an individual person as the object of his or her own reflective consciousness. The self has been studied extensively by philosophers and psychologists and is central to many world religions.-Philosophy:...

 and the divine, or may be nondualistic
Nondualism
Nondualism is a term used to denote affinity, or unity, rather than duality or separateness or multiplicity. In reference to the universe it may be used to denote the idea that things appear distinct while not being separate. The term "nondual" can refer to a belief, condition, theory, practice,...

.

Many if not all of the world's great religions have arisen around the teachings of mystics (including Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tze, and Krishna); and most religious traditions describe fundamental mystical experience, at least esoterically. Enlightenment
Enlightenment (spiritual)
Enlightenment in a secular context often means the "full comprehension of a situation", but in spiritual terms the word alludes to a spiritual revelation or deep insight into the meaning and purpose of all things, communication with or understanding of the mind of God, profound spiritual...

 or Illumination are generic English terms for the phenomenon, derived from the Latin illuminatio (applied to Christian prayer
Prayer
Prayer is a form of religious practice that seeks to activate a volitional rapport to a deity through deliberate practice. Prayer may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of...

 in the 15th century) and adopted in English translations of Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 texts, but used loosely to describe the state of mystical attainment regardless of faith.

Conventional religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

s, by definition, have strong institutional structures, including formal hierarchies and mandated sacred texts and/or creed
Creed
A creed is a statement of belief—usually a statement of faith that describes the beliefs shared by a religious community—and is often recited as part of a religious service. When the statement of faith is longer and polemical, as well as didactic, it is not called a creed but a Confession of faith...

s. Adherents of the faith are expected to respect or follow these closely, so mysticism is often deprecated or persecuted.

The following table briefly summarizes the major forms of mysticism within world religions and their basic concepts.
Mysticism in World Religions
Host Religion Form of Mysticism Basic Concept Sources of Information
Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 
Shingon, Tibetan
Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism is the body of Buddhist religious doctrine and institutions characteristic of Tibet and certain regions of the Himalayas, including northern Nepal, Bhutan, and India . It is the state religion of Bhutan...

, Zen
Zen
Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism founded by the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma. The word Zen is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word Chán , which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "meditation" or "meditative state."Zen...

 
attainment of Nirvana
Nirvana
Nirvāṇa ; ) is a central concept in Indian religions. In sramanic thought, it is the state of being free from suffering. In Hindu philosophy, it is the union with the Supreme being through moksha...

, Satori
Satori
is a Japanese Buddhist term for enlightenment that literally means "understanding". In the Zen Buddhist tradition, satori refers to a flash of sudden awareness, or individual enlightenment, and is considered a "first step" or embarkation toward nirvana....

: connection to ultimate reality
Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 
Catholic spirituality
Catholic spirituality
Catholic spirituality is the spiritual practice of living out a personal act of faith following the acceptance of faith . Although all Catholics are expected to pray together at Mass, there are many different forms of spirituality and private prayer which have developed over the centuries...

, Quaker tradition
Religious Society of Friends
The Religious Society of Friends, or Friends Church, is a Christian movement which stresses the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Members are known as Friends, or popularly as Quakers. It is made of independent organisations, which have split from one another due to doctrinal differences...

, Christian mysticism
Christian mysticism
Christian mysticism refers to the development of mystical practices and theory within Christianity. It has often been connected to mystical theology, especially in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions...

, Gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

 
Spiritual enlightenment
Enlightenment (spiritual)
Enlightenment in a secular context often means the "full comprehension of a situation", but in spiritual terms the word alludes to a spiritual revelation or deep insight into the meaning and purpose of all things, communication with or understanding of the mind of God, profound spiritual...

, Spiritual vision, the Love of God
Love of God
Love of God are central notions in monotheistic and polytheistic religions, and are important in one's personal relationship with God and one's conception of God ....

, union with God (Theosis
Theosis
In Christian theology, divinization, deification, making divine or theosis is the transforming effect of divine grace. This concept of salvation is historical and fundamental for Christian understanding that is prominent in the Eastern Orthodox Church and also in the Catholic Church, and is a...

)
Freemasonry
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

 
- Enlightenment
Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 
Vedanta
Vedanta
Vedānta was originally a word used in Hindu philosophy as a synonym for that part of the Veda texts known also as the Upanishads. The name is a morphophonological form of Veda-anta = "Veda-end" = "the appendix to the Vedic hymns." It is also speculated that "Vedānta" means "the purpose or goal...

, Yoga
Yoga
Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating on Supersoul...

, Bhakti
Bhakti
In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

, Kashmir Shaivism
Kashmir Shaivism
Among the various Hindu philosophies, Kashmir Shaivism is a school of Śaivism consisting of Trika and its philosophical articulation Pratyabhijña...

 
liberation from cycles of Karma
Karma
Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

, non-identification (Kaivalya
Kaivalya
Kaivalya , which is the ultimate goal of yoga, means solitariness or detachment.The 34 Yoga Sutras of Patanjali of the fourth chapter deals with impressions left by our endless cycles of birth and the rationale behind the necessity of erasing such impressions...

), experience of ultimate reality (Samadhi
Samadhi
Samadhi in Hinduism, Buddhism,Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools is a higher level of concentrated meditation, or dhyāna. In the yoga tradition, it is the eighth and final limb identified in the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali....

), Innate Knowledge (Sahaja
Sahaja
Sahaja is a term of some importance in Indian spirituality, particularly in circles influenced by the Tantric Movement...

 and Svabhava
Svabhava
Svabhava Pāli: sabhāva; Chinese: 自性 zìxìng; ) is intrinsic nature, essential nature or essence.The concept and term svabhāva are frequently encountered in Dharmic traditions such as Advaita Vedānta , Mahāyāna Buddhism Svabhava (Sanskrit: स्वभाव; IAST: svabhāva) Pāli: sabhāva; Chinese: 自性 zìxìng; )...

)
Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 
Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

, Irfan
Irfan
‘Irfān literally means knowing/awareness. The term is often translated as gnosis, however it also refers to Islamic mysticism. Those with the name are sometimes referred to as having an insight into the unseen...

 
Innate knowledge, union with God (fana)
Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 
Moksha
Moksa (Jainism)
' or Mokkha means liberation, salvation or emancipation of soul. It is a blissful state of existence of a soul, completely free from the karmic bondage, free from samsara, the cycle of birth and death. A liberated soul is said to have attained its true and pristine nature of infinite bliss,...

 
liberation from cycles of Karma
Karma
Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

 
Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 
Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

, Hassidic Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 
abnegation of the ego, Ein Sof
Ein Sof
Ein Sof , in Kabbalah, is understood as God prior to His self-manifestation in the production of any spiritual Realm, probably derived from Ibn Gabirol's term, "the Endless One"...

 
Rosicrucianism  - -
Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

 
- liberation from cycles of Karma
Karma
Karma in Indian religions is the concept of "action" or "deed", understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh philosophies....

 
Taoism
Taoism
Taoism refers to a philosophical or religious tradition in which the basic concept is to establish harmony with the Tao , which is the mechanism of everything that exists...

 
- Te
De (Chinese)
De is a key concept in Chinese philosophy, usually translated "inherent character; inner power; integrity" in Taoism, "moral character; virtue; morality" in Confucianism and other contexts, and "quality; virtue" or "merit; virtuous deeds" in Chinese Buddhism.-The word:Chinese de 德 is an ancient...

: connection to ultimate reality

Literary Forms used by Spiritual Teachers


Since, by definition, mystical knowledge cannot be directly written down or spoken of (but must be experienced), numerous literary forms that allude to such knowledge - often with contradictions or even jokes - have developed, for example:

Aphorisms, poetry


Aphorisms and poetry include artistic efforts to crystallize some particular description or aspect of the mystical experience in words:
  • God is Love (Christian and Sufi in particular)
  • Atman is Brahman (Advaitan)
  • God and me, me and God, are One (Kundalini Yoga
    Kundalini yoga
    Kundalini yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline for developing strength, awareness, character, and consciousness. Practitioners call Kundalini yoga the yoga of awareness because it focuses primarily on practices that expand sensory awareness and intuition in order to raise individual...

    , Sikhism)
  • Zen haiku
    Haiku
    ' , plural haiku, is a very short form of Japanese poetry typically characterised by three qualities:* The essence of haiku is "cutting"...

  • Rumi's love poems (Sufism)

Koans, riddles, contradictions


Zen koans, riddles, and metaphysical contradictions are intentionally irresolvable tasks or lines of thought, designed to direct one away from intellectualism and effort towards direct experience.
  • "What is the sound of one hand (clapping)?" (Zen)
  • "How many angels can stand on the head of a pin?" (Christian).


These can be meant as humorous phrases (see humour, below); or as serious questions with significant mystical answers. Others believe that the most edifying understanding of these riddles is that excessive effort contemplating the impossible can give an individual the opportunity to stop trying to 'achieve' and start just 'being'.
  • The evocative Taoist phrase—To yield is to be preserved whole, to be bent is to become straight, to be empty is to be full, to have little is to possess —is another example of a metaphysical contradiction describing the path of emptying the learned self.

Jokes


Jokes and humorous stories can be used in spiritual teaching to make simple yet profound metaphysical points:
  • Some examples are the Nasrudin tales, e.g. someone shouts at Nasrudin sitting on a river bank, "How do I get across?" "You are across." he replies;

  • Bektashi
    Bektashi
    Bektashi Order or Bektashism is an Islamic Sufi order founded in the 13th century by the Persian saint Haji Bektash Veli. In addition to the spiritual teachings of Haji Bektash Veli the order was significantly influenced during its formative period by both the Hurufis as well as the...

     jokes within Orthodox Islam;

  • the Trickster or Animal Spirit stories passed down in Native American, Australian Aboriginal, and African Tribal folklore, and even the familiar "Br'er Rabbit
    Br'er Rabbit
    Br'er Rabbit is a central figure in the Uncle Remus stories of the Southern United States. He is a trickster character who succeeds by his wits rather than by brawn, tweaking authority figures and bending social mores as he sees fit...

     and the Tar Baby".

Stories, parables, metaphors


Parables and metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

 include stories that have a deeper meaning to them:
  • Jesus makes use of parables and metaphors when teaching his followers. See Parables of Jesus
    Parables of Jesus
    The parables of Jesus can be found in all the Canonical gospels as well as in some of the non-canonical gospels but are located mainly within the three synoptic gospels. They represent a key part of the teachings of Jesus, forming approximately one third of his recorded teachings...

    .


Some Passages seem to be aphorisms, riddles and parables all at once. For instance, Yunus Emre
Yunus Emre
Yunus Emre was a Turkish poet and Sufi mystic. He has exercised immense influence on Turkish literature, from his own day until the present...

's famous passage:
I climbed into the plum tree
and ate the grapes I found there.
The owner of the garden called to me,
"Why are you eating my walnuts?"

A perennial philosophy


The centuries-old idea of a perennial philosophy
Perennial philosophy
Perennial philosophy is the notion of the universal recurrence of philosophical insight independent of epoch or culture, including universal truths on the nature of reality, humanity or consciousness .-History:The idea of a perennial philosophy has great...

, popularized by Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley
Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel...

 in his 1945 book: The Perennial Philosophy
The Perennial Philosophy
The Perennial Philosophy is a 1945 book by Aldous Huxley, published by Harper & Row in the US. It was published in the UK in 1946 by Chatto & Windus.-Social and political context:...

, states one view of what mysticism is all about:

[W]ith the one, divine reality substantial to the manifold world of things and lives and minds. But the nature of this one reality is such that it cannot be directly or immediately apprehended except by those who have chosen to fulfill certain conditions, making themselves loving, pure in heart, and poor in spirit.

The unknowable


According to Schopenhauer, mystics arrive at a condition in which there is no knowing subject and known object:

Further reading

  • Daniels, P., Horan A., (1987) "Mystic Places". Alexandria, Time-Life Books, ISBN 0-8094-6312-1.
  • Fanning, Steven., Mystics of the Christian Tradition. New York: Routledge Press, 2001.
  • Louth, Andrew., The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press
    Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

    , 2007. ISBN 978-0-19-929140-3.
  • McGinn, Bernard
    Bernard McGinn (theologian)
    Bernard McGinn is a theologian, historian, and scholar of spirituality, affiliated with the University of Chicago, where he is Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity in the Divinity School and the Committees on Medieval Studies and on...

    , The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism'.' Vol. 1 - 4. (The Foundations of Mysticism; The Growth of Mysticism; The Flowering of Mysticism) New York: Crossroad, 1997-2005.
  • "Buried Memories on the Acropolis. Freud's Relation to Mysticism and Anti-Semitism", International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, Volume 59 (1978): 199-208. (Jeffrey Masson and Terri C. Masson)
  • Chronicle Books. Mysticism, the Experience of the Devine: Medieval Wisdom. Labyrinth, 2004.
  • Underhill, Evelyn
    Evelyn Underhill
    Evelyn Underhill was an English Anglo-Catholic writer and pacifist known for her numerous works on religion and spiritual practice, in particular Christian mysticism....

    . Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness. 1911
  • Stace, W. T
    Walter Terence Stace
    Walter Terence Stace was a British civil servant, educator, philosopher and epistemologist, who wrote on Hegel, Mysticism, and Moral relativism...

    . Mysticism and Philosophy. 1960.
  • Stace, W. T. The Teachings of the Mystics
    The Teachings of the Mystics
    The Teachings of the Mystics is a 1960 work of popular philosophy by the Princeton philosopher W T Stace that lays out his philosophy of mysticism and compiles writings on mystical experience from across religious traditions. The book’s comprehensive selections met with broadly positive...

    , 1960.
  • King, Ursula. Christian Mystics: Their Lives and Legacies Throughout the Ages. London: Routledge 2004.
  • Langer, Otto. Christliche Mystik im Mittelalter. Mystik und Rationalisierung – Stationen eines Konflikts. Darmstadt: 2004.
  • Kroll, Jerome, Bernard Bachrach, The Mystic Mind: The Psychology of Medieval Mystics and Ascetics, New York and London: Routledge, 2005.
  • Elior, Rachel, Jewish Mysticism: The Infinite Expression of Freedom, Oxford. Portland, Oregon: The Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2007.
  • Louth, Andrew, The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition (Oxford: 2007).
  • Harmless, William, Mystics. (Oxford: 2008).
  • Otto, Rudolf (author); Bracy, Bertha L. (translator) & Payne, Richenda C. (1932, 1960). Mysticism East and West: A Comparative Analysis of the Nature of Mysticism. New York, N. Y., USA: The Macmillan Company
  • Dinzelbacher, Peter (hg), Mystik und Natur. Zur Geschichte ihres Verhältnisses vom Altertum bis zur Gegenwart (Berlin: 2009) (Theophrastus Paracelsus Studien, 1).
  • Merton, Thomas, An Introduction to Christian Mysticism: Initiation into the Monastic Tradition, 3. (Kalamazoo: 2008) (Monastic Wisdom series).
  • Nelstrop, Louise, Kevin Magill and Bradley B. Onishi, Christian Mysticism: An Introduction to Contemporary Theoretical Approaches (Aldershot: 2009).

External links