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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Human experience is central to mystical theology but it cannot define it, because, according to mystical theology, the experience is not merely human but divine. After an orientation in the current debate on mystical experience, the puzzling quality of the experience, as both fully human and more than anything human, is elaborated through an exposition of three historical examples, Augustine, Meister Eckhart, and Teresa of Avila. The dual, expansive character of the experience elicits growth into an enlarged capacity for seeing God as both immediately present and wholly other. An increasing integration of key tensions—between divine presence and divine absence, inner and outer knowing, spirit and body, and contemplative and active—emerges in this transformative process. This perspective is finally reviewed with reference to the tradition of the ‘spiritual senses’.

Keywords: mystical experience, experience, transformation, Augustine, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, image of God, spiritual senses, mediation, anthropology

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