Re: MD The MOQ and Mysticism 101

From: Sam Norton (
Date: Tue Dec 21 2004 - 18:24:09 GMT

  • Next message: Paul Turner: "RE: MD Is the MoQ still in the Kantosphere?"

    Hi Mark, with a note to Wim,

    > So, some questions: do any human beings live a more or less normal
    > life-span, and NOT have several mystical experiences? Is mystical
    > revelation the rule or the exception, OR the sine qua non, of being
    > human?

    Let me give an answer from an angle that you might be interested in. During Christian history, the
    people who have been regarded as mystics has changed, and that change has been highly political. So,
    for example, in the early centuries, mystics were always men. As more women developed mystical
    approaches, the understanding of what counted as a mystic changed, to something more private and
    less concerned with social justice. This had the double effect of allowing women to be mystics, and
    simultaneously marginalising their insights. The powers that be are, of course, now very happy that
    mysticism is all about a private experience, because it means there isn't much political impact
    flowing from it, it's just another lifestyle choice to be consumed like Pepsi. If, however,
    mysticism is about discerning the truth, including the truth about political arrangements and how
    socially unjust they are (which is what I think the classic Judeo-Christian spiritual path is
    greatly concerned with) then that makes political claims. So who gets to count as a mystic, and who
    gets marginalised as mad, these are political questions, not academic questions.

    If you're interested, I would strongly recommend Grace Jantzen's 'Power, Gender and Christian
    Mysticism', which was the main source for my essay on Schleiermacher, and is one of the most
    insightful books on the topic I've come across. I think you'd enjoy it. (Note to Wim - she's a


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