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Could there be a Mystical Core of Religion?

  • Grace M. Jantzen (a1)


An identical consciousness of close communion with God is obtained by the non-sacramental Quaker in his silence and by the sacramental Catholic in the Eucharist. The Christian contemplative's sense of personal intercourse with the divine as manifest in the incarnate Christ is hard to distinguish from that of the Hindu Vaishnavite, when we have allowed for the different constituents of his apperceiving mass.



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1 Underhill, Evelyn, ‘The Essentials of Mysticism’ in Woods, Richard, ed. Understanding Mysticism (London: Athlone Press, 1980), p. 38.

2 See my Mysticism and Experience’ in Religious Studies 25, 1989.

3 Schleiermacher, F., Speeches on Religion to its Cultured Despisers (Eng. trans. John Oman; New York: Harper and Row, 1958), p. 101. It should be noted that Schleiermacher's views shifted considerably between the Speeches and his later book The Christian Faith; but it was his earlier view that most influenced Schelling and in due course William James.

4 Ibid. p. 36.

5 Ibid. p. 87.

6 Cf. Speech no. 5.

7 Stace, Walter Terence, Mysticisms and Philosophy (London and New York: Macmillan, 1961), p. 45.

8 Cf. Byrne, Peter, Natural Religion and the Nature of Religion: The legacy of Deism (London and New York: Routledge, 1989), pp. 5278.

9 Cf. Sharpe, Eric, Comparative Religion (London: Duckworth, (1975), pp. 1519.

10 Stace, , p. 132.

11 Ibid. p. 207.

12 Katz, Steven. ‘Language, Epistemology and Mysticism’ in his. ed Mysticism and Philosophical Analysis London: Sheldon Press, 1978), p. 59.

13 Ibid. p. 22.

14 The same, of course, is true of subsequent philosophical discussions of them: cf. Byrne, Peter, ‘Mysticism, Identity and Realism: The Debate Continued’, International journal of the History of Religion (1984).

15 Swinburne, Richard, The Existence of God (Oxford: Clarendon, 1979), ch. 13.

16 Schleiermacher, , p. 211.

17 Cf. Hauerwas, Stanley, Against the Nations (Minneapolis: Seabury, Winston Press, 1985), p. 18.

18 Schleiermacher, , p. 216.

19 Ibid. p. 217.

20 In ‘Mysticism and Experience’ op. cit.

21 The Cloud of Unknowing (Classics of Western Spirituality) (New York: Paulist Press, and London: SPCK, 1981), p. 230.

22 Cf. my The Mystical Meaning of Scripture’ in King's Theological Review XI, 2 (1988).

Could there be a Mystical Core of Religion?

  • Grace M. Jantzen (a1)


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