Mysticism and Religion

Second Edition, reprint
by Robert S. Ellwood
Apocryphile Press Press, 2012

N othing brings us closer to the wellsprings of human and divine life than mystical experience, those moments or hours when we find ourselves most vitally alive, filled with joy, and close to God and the roots of being. This book is a survey of mysticism: its meaning according to different philosophers and scholars of religion, its common characteristics and essential nature, its relation to the religions of the world, and to the kind of human life that comes out of rich mystical experience. Mysticism and Religion does not avoid the controversies that have attended mysticism: is there a unique universal mystical experience, or are such experiences "constructed" by the various religious traditions of which mystics find themselves a part? Is it "escapist" or does it make people better able to deal with the problems of human society? When is experience religious but not mystical? Is there mysticism, e.g. "nature mysticism," which is not religious? Overall, this book takes a positive though not uncritical view of mysticism; it will acquaint the reader with current thinking on mysticism and with the varieties of mystical life, enabling one to come to one's own conclusions about it.

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Robert Ellwood
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