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An Introduction to the Study of Mysticism
An Introduction to the Study of Mysticism
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Richard H. Jones - Author
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 308 pages
Release Date: December 2021
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-8633-8



A comprehensive, concise, and easy-to-read introduction intended for undergraduates and general readers interested in the study of mysticism.

The purpose of this book is to fill a gap in contemporary mystical studies: an overview of the basic ways to approach mystical experiences and mysticism. It discusses the problem of definitions of “mystical experiences” and “mysticism” and advances characterizations of “mystical experiences” in terms of certain altered states of consciousness and “mysticism” in terms of encompassing ways of life centered on such experiences and states. Types of mystical experiences, enlightened states, paths, and doctrines are discussed, as is the relation of mystical experiences and mysticism to religions and cultures. The approaches of constructivism, contextualism, essentialism, and perennialism are presented. Themes in the history of the world’s major mystical traditions are set forth. Approaches to mystical phenomena in sociology, psychology, gender studies, and neuroscience are introduced. Basic philosophical issues related to whether mystical experiences are veridical and mystical claims valid, mystics’ problems of language, art, and morality are laid out. Older and newer comparative approaches in religious studies and in Christian theology are discussed, along with postmodernist objections. The intended audience is undergraduates and the general public interested in the general issues related to mysticism.

Richard H. Jones is the author of several books, including Philosophy of Mysticism: Raids on the Ineffable and Mystery 101: Introduction to the Big Questions and the Limits of Human Knowledge, both published by SUNY Press.

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Table of Contents


1. What Is Mysticism?

2. Types of Mystical Experiences

3. Mystical Paths

4. The Diversity of Mystical Knowledge-Claims

5. The Interaction of Experience and Culture in Mystical Knowledge

6. Approaches in the Study of Mysticism

7. Themes in the History of Mysticism

8. Psychological, Sociological, and Cultural Approaches to Mysticism

9. The Scientific Study of Mystical Experiences

10. The Relation of Mysticism and Science

11. Are Mystical Experiences Cognitive?

12. Mysticism and Language

13. Mysticism and Morality

14. Comparative Approaches to Mysticism

15. Theological Approaches to Comparative Mysticism

16. The Importance in Studying Mysticism Today

References and Further Reading

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