Philosophy of Religion: Analytic Researches, 2017, Vol. 1, No. 1.
CONCEPTS AND CATEGORIES
Vladimir K. Shokhin. Definitions of the Mystical: the First Experience in their Exposition
While mystical experience has accompanied religion from the most ancient times and the first attempts at its theoretical identifications can be traced back to the Middle Ages, the first experience in collated juxtaposition of its definitions dates back only to the border of the 19th and 20th centuries. Critical analysis of this collection of definitions offered by the Anglican theologian William Ralph Inge, which can be used also in contemporary discussions on the mystical (das Mystische), is being implemented for the first time in this article. In conclusion the author offers differing between three layers of this phenomenon, which, however surprising it is, are mixed up to the present, and he uses some analogies from Indian epistemology as well. Mystical experience as such (definite spiritual perceptions), mystical world-outlook and mystical sentiment are distinguished. The second layer is inherent in religious mentality, the third one can be separated from it, but both are to be included into “mysticism”. The author insists on much more emphasized differing between mystical experience and mysticism than what is predominant in philosophy of religion.
Keywords: mystical experience, mystical theology, mystical world-outlook, mystical sentiment, mysticism, descriptive definitions, theoretical definitions, essentialists, consructivists, attributionists
THE HISTORICAL PARADIGMS
Alexey R. Fokin. Concepts of “Union”, “Absorbtion” and “Deification” in the Mysticism of St. Maximus the Confessor
In this article the author deals with the concepts of “union”, “absorbtion” and “deification” in the mysticism of St. Maximus the Confessor. It has been demonstrated that the way of spiritual ascent consists of three interrelated stages: “practical philosophy”, “natural contemplation”, and “mystical theology”. The last stage, denoted by Maximus by various names (such as “mystical theology”, “theological wisdom”, “theological mystagogy”, “mystical contemplation” etc.), means the knowledge of God by experience, which has both cataphatic-gnostic and apophatic-mystical aspects. The first is represented by the knowledge of the Divine Trinity, or illumination of mind, which comes directly from God; the second one is based on the fundamental incomprehensibility of the substance of God. This involves the experience of mystical states of the “union above intellection”, “absorbtion”, and “deification”. The first signifies an ecstatic state of mind when all its mental activities cease, it undergoes “simplification” and reaches its union with God in complete ignorance. Its consequence is the concept of a complete “absorbtion” of the soul by God. Such a state is viewed as the complete “deification” of human being, when it becomes all that God is by grace, except identity in substance. In this state, saints completely loose their human features and obtain the energy of God alone.
Keywords: Christianity, Patristics, Mysticism, mystical Theology, Ecstasy, Deification, Maximus the Confessor, Evagrius of Pontius, Dionysius the Areopagite
Michael Stoeber. The Comparative Study of Mysticism (Transl. from English by Тatyana Malevich)
Comparative mysticism is a field of academic study that develops from about the mid-19th century. Initially, special attention was given to the study of the psychology and phenomenology of the personal experience cross-religions, generally described as an altered state of consciousness with specific characteristics, processes, stages, effects, and stimulants. Subject-interests gradually moved more towards the dynamics of the socio-cultural contexts of the phenomena. This article outlines key concepts, methods, and issues of the exploration and analysis of comparative mysticism, beginning with its historical origins, definitional frameworks, and epistemological typologies, and then shifting to popular themes and issues that evolved especially in the latter part of the 20th century. This includes topics on mysticism in relation to: psychoactive substances; morality; neuroscientific research; evidential truth claims; feminist concerns; the erotic and other physical phenomena; psychoanalytic and transpersonal psychology; and comparative theology.
Keywords: mysticism and spirituality, comparative mysticism, numinous experience, nature mysticism, mystical essentialism, mystical contextualism, entheogens, morality and mysticism, mystical feminism, mysticism and the erotic
TEXTS AND INTERPRETATIONS
Ruzana V. Pskhu. A Structure of Mystical Experience in the Vaishnava Vedānta (Based on Yamunacarya’s Strotra-ratna)
The paper deals with one of the most influential texts in history of Vishishtadvaita. The poetical hymns of Yamunacarya (916–1041) or “Stotra-ratna” consist of 62–65 verses, devoted to Vishnu. The main theme of this work is prapatti or the absolute surrender to God. The eminent role and place of “Stotra-ratna” in the history of vishishtadvaita literature is due to the fact that these hymns were a sample for two hymnal traditions of this philosophical school. The basic ideas of vishishtadvaita (such as an understanding Vishnu as the principal deity; Bhakti as the main method of salvation etc.) were expressed in vaishnava hymns beginning with “Stotra-ratna” of Yamunacarya, who sais about his inability to live without God.
Keywords: mystical experience, vishishtadvaita Vedanta, Yamunacarya, religious poetry, mythizirung, Stotra-ratna
Yamunacharya. The Stotra-ratna (Transl. from Sanskrit and Comments by Ruzana Pskhu)
Ilshat R. Nasyrov. Al-Ghazali on Ascent to the Transcendental Realm
Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid (1058–1111), outstanding Islamic philosopher, jurist, theologian and Sufi (mystical) thinker. Under the influence of Islamic Mysticism (Sufism), Asharite school of Islamic Theology and Peripatetic Arabic school of Avicenna, al-Ghazali developed his own intuitive cognition of God. Al-Ghazali’s integral teaching is exposed in full detail in his magnum opus, Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din [The Revival of Religious Sciences]. According to al-Ghazali, there are two ways to achieve intuitive cognition: one the spiritual enterprise and other prophecy. The cognition of God results from heart discovery and intuition. Heart is the means by which man becomes to get mystical knowledge. Al-Ghazali considered heart as a mirror of the Divine knowledge. The visible object cannot be said to become united with the mirror; it is merely reflected in it. Using mirror analogy, al-Ghazali said that God does not indwell a human heart but merely reveals Himself in it. Mystic’s heart does not reflect the divine reality but its sign. The profane world is only a hint (mithal) of the transcendental reality. Truth can be achieved through heart discovery and intuition. Mystical cognition (ma‘rifa) seeks to obtain knowledge of God through moral perfection for the salvation in the next world.
Keywords: al-Ghazali, intuition cognition, transcendental reality, heart as the place of spiritual knowledge
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. Fragments from the Ihya’ ‘Ulum al-Din (Transl. from Arabic and Comments by Ilshat Nasyrov)
Andrey K. Sudakov. The Metaphor of a “Spiritual Eye” in Franz Baader’s Religious Speculation
This paper discusses the views of the German philosopher Franz von Baader on faith and reason, in the context of philosophical and theological formations of his lifetime. According to Baader’s holistic synthetical concept, faith is an intrinsically determinative act of choice, finding for oneself a spiritual ‘eye’ which from now on serves as a guidance for the external vision and knowledge. Baader distinguishes between a light and a dark spiritual ‘eye’, whereby only the former can take shape in an external vision of objects. Out of an evangelical metaphor of a spiritual ‘eye’ arises a hint for an original anti-Cartesian perspective in the metaphysics of faith.
Keywords: Baader; Bautain; positive spiritual vision; negative spiritual vision; external (objective) vision; faith; knowledge; disbelief
Franz von Baader. Über das Verhalten des Wissens zum Glauben (Transl. from German and Comments by Andrey Sudakov)
Tatiana S. Samarina. The First Representation of the Concepts of Mystical Experience in Russian Historiography
The author reviews book by Tatyana Malevich “Theories of mystical experience: Historiography and prospects” which was published in 2014. A short prehistory of studies in mystical experience in Russia is provided, the main Western approaches to the study of mystical experience studied by Malevich (essentialism, constructivism, psychological perennialism, neurotheology, cognitive science, attribution theory) are described. In conclusion some shortcomings of the reviewed monograph are highlighted and followed by the author’s suggestions how the approaches under discussion could be classified more parsiminously.
Keywords: philosophy of religion, mystical experience, cognitive approach to religious studies, essentialism, constructivism, neurotheology, perennialism, William James, Friedrich Schleiermacher
Valeriya V. Sleptsova. The Tetragrammaton and 20-th Century Philosophers
The review is devoted to recently published M.T. Miller's book “The Name of God in Jewish Thought: A рhilosophical analysis of mystical traditions from apocalyptic to Kabbalah”. By analysing the ideas about God's Name in the kabbalistic literature, Miller finds some parallels between these ideas and thoughts of known modern philosophiers. The reviewer detailed consieders all chapters of Miller's book and then estimates some theses of it.
Keywords: Derrida, Jewish Mysticism, Husserl, kabbalistic literature, Lévinas, modern philosophy, the Name of God, Abulafia, Gikatilla, Tetragrammaton, Wittgenstein