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In response to some of the current explanations of mystic phenomena, this book proposes an interpretive framework for understanding mysticism. It clarifies various kinds of mystical experiences, suggesting they are not wholly determined by subjective categories of interpretation, and illustrates how they can be synthesized in a theistic, mystic teleology.
The thesis is illustrated through a Hindu and Christian comparison, in reference mainly to Ramanuja, Aurobindo, Sankara, Eckhart, Ruusbroec and Boehme. It proposes both a practical and theoretical integration of positive and negative theologies, discusses mystic quietism, clarifies some of the implications the view has on the conceptions of the Divine, and criticizes the possibility of monistic hierarchies of mysticism. But the main focus is on the relationship between theistic and monistic mysticisms, in terms of a theistic hierarchy. Monistic experiences are understood to culminate in theistic realizations, under which other kinds of mysticism can also be related.
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Michael Stoeber is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion and Religious Education at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
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