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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Christian mystics have used the topographical metaphors of depth, ground, and abyss to illuminate the continuity between God and creation. This chapter first proffers a brief survey of the biblical and early Christian usage of these metaphors. It then moves to a more extensive exploration of them in the writings of medieval, modern, and post-modern Christian thinkers Meister Eckhart (c.1260-1328), Thomas Merton (1915–68), and Dorothee Sölle (1929–2003). In the writings of Eckhart, Merton, and Sölle, the metaphors depth, ground, and abyss are used to depict an ever-expanding continuum of God and human, time and eternity, immanence and transcendence, challenging static identities and relationships. The spiritual and political implications of Eckhart’s conceptual expansion of these metaphors continue to be appropriated and reworked in contemporary mysticism as illustrated in the writings of Merton and Sölle.

Keywords: Meister Eckhart, Thomas Merton, Dorothee Sölle, depth, ground, abyss, mysticism, metaphor, mystical language

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