Mysticism and Religious Experience

Jerome Gellman

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Religion

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780195331356
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Mysticism and Religious Experience

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  • Epistemology



In modern usage, “mysticism” refers to mystical experience and to practices, discourse, institutions, and traditions associated therewith. The term “mystical experience” enjoys a great variety of meanings, retaining some of that variety among philosophers. There is no choice but to stipulate meaning for the purposes of this article. A wide definition of “mystical experience” will be more in the spirit of how it figures in general culture, and a narrow definition will echo a meaning common among philosophers. In the wide sense, mystical experiences occur within the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Indian religions, Buddhism, and primal religions. In most of these traditions, the experiences are allegedly of a supersensory reality, such as God, Brahman, or, as in some Buddhist traditions, Nirvana.

Keywords: mysticism; religious experience; mystical experience; religious traditions; supersensory reality; Brahman

Article.  11308 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Religion ; Epistemology

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