By Amy Hollywood, Patricia Z. Beckman

The Cambridge significant other to Christian Mysticism is a multi-authored interdisciplinary advisor to the learn of Christian mysticism, with an emphasis at the 3rd in the course of the 17th centuries. The booklet is thematically equipped by way of the important contexts, practices, and ideas linked to the magical existence in early, medieval, and early smooth Christianity. Written via top experts and more youthful students from a variety of disciplines, the amount either presents a transparent advent to the Christian mystical existence and articulates a daring new method of the examine of mysticism. The booklet seems to be past the time period "mysticism," which used to be an early smooth invention, to discover the methods within the historical phrases "mystic" and "mystical" have been utilized in the Christian culture: What varieties of practices, modes of lifestyles, and stories have been defined as "mystical"? What figuring out of Christianity and of the lifetime of Christian perfection is articulated via mystical interpretations of scripture, mystical contemplation, mystical imaginative and prescient, mystical theology, or mystical union? What practices and studies supplied the framework during which you could describe mystical phenomena? And what subject matters are on the leading edge of the modern research of Christian mystical perform and adventure?

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For the English translation, see Athanasius, The Life of Antony and the Letter to Marcellinus, trans. Robert C. Gregg (New York: Paulist Press, 1980). Questions regarding the authorship, purpose, and meaning of this classic text have been iercely debated in recent years. One of the results of this debate is that it is no longer possible to ignore the complex political aims of the text. Although these political aims are not central to my purposes here, any full appreciation of the Life of Antony must take them into consideration.

Protestants for the most part steered clear of the words mystic and mystical, but this is not always Introduction 33 one the complexity of which might be more adequately accounted for against the background presented here. the case. In addition, at times evangelicals and others speak explicitly about seeking union with God. For the various understandings of conversion operative in British Protestantism during one particularly fecund period, see D. Bruce Hindmarsh, The Evangelical Conversion Narrative: Spiritual Autobiography in Early Modern England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005); for Protestant use of the term mystical, see Schmidt, “Making of Modern ‘Mysticism,’” pp.

1784), the founder of the Shakers, “the relationship with Christ is described as relational, as interactive and changeable, as constituted through aspirations and speciic behaviors and the particularities of contact, of touch and reaction, between two beings” (p. 339). “Mystical sexuality is,” she concludes, “about the intense pleasure and pain that bodies inlict and receive, and about the ecstasy, standing outside oneself, the rhythmic arousal and breathless pleasure that come from and in this experience” (p.

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