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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that the overarching Christian conception of the human is that of ‘pilgrim’ or ‘wayfarer’. But this notion has a particular history. Over the first fifteen centuries of Christianity, spiritual or mystical itinerancy emerged at the nexus of certain Judaeo-Christian assumptions about the world and its original, current, and final relationship with God, on one hand, and of certain strands of Graeco-Roman culture and philosophy, on the other. The confluence of these two streams produced the basic notion of spiritual journey in the pre-modern eras of Christianity. This chapter argues that mystical itinerancy tends to have one of two aspects, pre- or post-conversion; one of two trajectories, vertical-mystical or horizontal-historical; and one of two dominant modes, personal or communal. These combine to form three basic models: (1) individual, vertical-mystical ascent to contemplation; (2) individual, horizontal-historical peregrination to conversion/sanctification; (3) communal pilgrimage to the kingdom/city of God.

Keywords: itinerary, journey, viator, via, way, pilgrimage, wayfarer, ascent.

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