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The nature of Christian mysticism in the thought of Baron von Huegell and George Tyrrell

By John C. Berry

Abstract

This thesis seeks to establish the place of Baron von aigel and George Tyrrell in the revival of interest in mysticism at the beginning of the present century. Though leading figures in the modernist movement in the Roman Catholic Church, their collaboration on the subject of mysticism was central to their friendship and work. They helped to\ud retrieve the central concerns of mystical theology after a retreat from mysticism which had affected the Church since the condemnation of Quietism in 1699. Their account of Christian mysticism, which involved a critique of Buddhism, neo-Platonism and pantheism, rested on a worldaffirming\ud attitude to creation, a balance between divine transcendence\ud and immanence and the articulation of a legitimate panentleism. It also involved a positive acceptance of the bodily-spiritual unity of human nature and ordinary experience as the locus of mystical encounter with\ud God.\ud \ud Their account also emphasised the reality of direct contact between God and the individual, and the affective and cognitive dimensions of mystical experience. They asserted the centrality of mystical union as a dynamic communion of life, love and action which is the primary goal of the Christian life. They emphasised the necessity of contemplation, understood not as passive inaction, but as a profound energising of the soul. Asceticism, the embracing of suffering, self-discipline and a right ordering of human affection, was also judged indispensable. Moreover,\ud they believed that only in the context of the intellectual and institutional elements of religion, does mysticism find its true theological locus in Christian life and reflection. Their comprehensive definition of mysticism opened up the possibility of understanding both the uniqueness of Christian mysticism, and the reality and value of non-Christian forms of mystical experience as genuine encounters with the divine. Accepting a universal call to mysticism, they held the mystical way to be the way to full humanity which is also the individual's realisation of divinity

Publisher: School of Theology & Religious Studies (Leeds)
Year: 1989
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:482

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