The Mystic <i>Telos</i>: Cataphatic and Ecstatic Traditions

Annmarie Hughes

in Islam, Christianity and the Mystic Journey

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780748640829
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653263 | DOI:
The Mystic Telos: Cataphatic and Ecstatic Traditions

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This chapter focuses on cataphatic and ecstatic traditions. In what follows, the choice of individual figures in the surveys of both Muslim and Christian mystics is intended to be indicative rather than exclusive. As with the earlier analyses of cave, cloud, mountain, and night, the intention here is to highlight certain mystical trends using various themes and figures as examples. In addition, the aim is to make intertextual connections. What is common, however, to nearly all the mystic writing in this chapter is their emergence against a backdrop of political, spiritual, and intellectual upheaval and chaos, which may take the diverse forms of the rise of Islamism, the emergence of Jansenist heresy, and the scourge of the Black Death or the wars of the Roses. In the analyses and three Islamic case studies which follow, as well as in the next three Christian case studies, the authors and their writings will be approached thematically but with an awareness of the historical milieu in which they wrote. In order to understand the ‘mystical and spiritual dimensions’ of a religious tradition, one needs to be aware of the context, and the exact context and meaning of these dimensions. In this chapter, the focus is on the motif of the journey towards God, the eternal salvation, and the Islamic rilafī alab al-Āilm.

Keywords: cataphatic traditions; ecstatic traditions; Christian mystics; Muslim mystics; journey; eternal salvation; rilafī alab al-Āilm

Chapter.  25066 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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