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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Theological anthropology explores Christian understandings of human identity. In mystical theology, this broadly takes three forms. First, ‘positive’ or kataphatic anthropology focuses on what we may affirm about the various dimensions of human identity. In this chapter, this is illustrated with reference to Julian of Norwich. Second, ‘negative’ or apophatic anthropology emphasizes that the human ‘self’, like the God with whom it is united, is ultimately beyond our capacity to define. Alongside further references to Julian, mention is made of Meister Eckhart and The Cloud of Unknowing. Finally, liberationist anthropology is a dimension of liberation theology which emerged during the last part of the twentieth century. Several exponents such as Segundo Galilea and Gustavo Gutiérrez draw upon Christian mysticism. Liberationist anthropology involves an essentially collective understanding of human identity as well as a socially critical approach to how human existence is shaped by dominant cultural or political forces.

Keywords: mystical theology, spirituality, theological anthropology, kataphatic anthropology, apophatic anthropology, liberationist anthropology, the imago Dei, desire, substance, sensuality

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