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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the epistemology of mystical theology. It begins with the ‘intellectualist’ line of thinking from Pseudo-Dionysius to Meister Eckhart, paying close attention both to the ‘protocols’ which are required to speak of God both as the ground of our language, beyond naming, and as one who can really be experienced. These epistemological protocols can also be identified in Augustine, and later in the more ‘affective’ line of mystical theology from Bernard of Clairvaux to Bonaventure, though in a rather different form. This renders mystical theology quite different from a quest for Jamesian ‘peak’ experiences and knowledge of them; rather, it entails disciplines of formation, involving regimes of discourse and practice, to learn a language and a subjectivity enabling a more intense relation with God.

Keywords: epistemology, language, intellectualist, affective, apophatic, negative, negation, experience, knowledge, love.

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