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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter follows the evolution of the three main models of Christian understanding of mystical union from the biblical foundations down to the crisis of mysticism at the end of the seventeenth century. Although the technical term ‘mystical union’ was rarely used for most of this period, many Christian thinkers spoke about becoming one with God through grace. Three main models emerged. The first is unitas spiritus (union of spirit), based on 1 Corinthians 6: 17, according to which God and the person unite in spirit by willing the same thing. This was often expressed in erotic terms. The second model is Trinitarian—a union in which a human comes to share in the inner life of the three Persons of the Trinity. The final model is the union of indistinction in which union is understood as a merging with God that leaves all distinction behind, at least on some level.

Keywords: Christ, divinization, epektasis, erotic union, indistinction, mysticus, Trinity, union, unitas spiritus

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