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View Diary: Christian Mysticism: A History (52 comments)

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  •  there are many similarities between the (14+ / 0-)

    medieval Christian mystics and the Asian mystic traditions in India and China. And of course the Muslim Sufi tradition.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 01:10:09 PM PDT

    •  historically, it makes one wonder how much actual (5+ / 0-)

      exchange there was between Asia (via India) and Europe (via the Arabic world) during this time.  After all, European contact with India goes all the way back to Alexander the Great, and the Islamic missionaries made it all the way to Indonesia and China.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 01:29:28 PM PDT

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    •  Also with Jewish mysticism and Kaballah (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lenny Flank, Wee Mama, G2geek, FarWestGirl

      "Corporations exist not for themselves, but for the people." Ida Tarbell 1908.

      by Navy Vet Terp on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 01:42:21 PM PDT

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      •  yes indeed /nt (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, Ojibwa, G2geek, FarWestGirl

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 01:44:55 PM PDT

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      •  The Zohar as an assimilation of Gnostic ideas (8+ / 0-)

        Gnosticism drew a lot from various Hellenistic schools, which were known throughout the West in the broadest sense: not just the Roman world, but the Persian empires to its east.

        Since not all of this speculation was comfortable for the Church, there was a lot of Gnostic activity in Persia.  Which was there waiting when the Arabs invaded and made that entire region Muslim.  And the Sufis explored the mystic nature of Islam.

        Jewish mystics read and translated Sufi works into Hebrew.  And they read Gnostic works as well.  The Zohar pulled from earlier Jewish traditions that had heavy Sufi influence, but seems to have swallowed large parts of Gnosticism whole, changing the terminology to be consistent with the Torah.  Arguments about how Christ was God Made Flesh weren't going to fly, but the ideas about different levels (eminations or sefirot) are Gnosticism reworked.

        I'm not sure how much information went in the other direction, but it would be interesting to know.  Certainly, late Medieval Europeans read Jewish and Arab works on science and medicine.  I suspect some philosophical and even religious works got translated as well.

        To be on the wrong side of Dick Cheney is to be on the right side of history.

        by mbayrob on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 02:58:17 PM PDT

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    •  on a quick scan, this looks really well done. (5+ / 0-)

      I'm at work right now so I can't read & comment thoughtfully but will get back to this tonight.

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 04:17:42 PM PDT

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    •  And even in modern times. (7+ / 0-)

      I remember once reading of an international conference on religion -- probably back in the 60's, I'm guessing, because this has stayed with me for at least 35 years.  (I wish I could remember where I read it, or what it referred to.)

      At this conference there was a lot of tension among the priests and officials of various religions -- the theologians, academics, definers of rules, etc.

      But the monks and nuns of the various religions -- the mystics, the ones who focused on the experiential side of religion -- all got along famously and got excited meeting people from other cultures who knew what they were talking about.  They all felt they were talking about the same thing, albeit in different cultural idioms.

      •  a well known aspect of mysticism... (5+ / 0-)

        ... all the way through history, is that mystics have always gotten along with each other across denominational lines.

        This in sharp distinction to fundamentalism, which has always been notoriously associated with conflict.

        Mystics have also tended to get along well with science, and there are well known instances of scientists getting along well with mysticism.  In the 20th century, Erwin Schrödinger endorsed The Upanishads, root text of Hinduism, and also endorsed Aldous Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy.  Einstein was an atheist who also endorsed "the sense of the mystical" in viewing nature at-large.  The Dalai Lama of Tibet has met with various groups of scientists and said bluntly that where science and religion are in conflict, religion must change.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 06:07:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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