The Foundations of Mysticism: Origins to the Fifth Century (The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism, Vol. 1)

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9780824511210: The Foundations of Mysticism: Origins to the Fifth Century (The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism, Vol. 1)
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Book by McGinn, Bernard

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McGinn (historical theology, Univ. of Chicago Divinity Sch.) offers the beginning of an ambitious four-volume project. He stresses that mysticism must be understood in historical context, and insists that the subject of such study is not the experience, but the "mystical text and its place in the tradition." In Part 1, he considers early Jewish apocalyptic writings. He then surveys pre- Christian Greek contemplative thought; the New Testament witnesses; early Greek Patristic thought (the book's only excursion into Eastern Orthodoxy); and the contribution of early monastic practice. In Part 2, McGinn narrows the focus to Western Christian mysticism proper, considering early Latin texts and devoting a special chapter to the towering figure of St. Augus tine of Hippo. A useful appendix syn thesizes and critiques recent theoretical studies, grouped under theological, philosophical, and comparative/psy chological approaches. An erudite, sober-minded, balanced work sure to become a standard resource for scholars and students. Essential for seminary, academic, and large public libraries.
-Anneliese Schwarzer, New York
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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