Christian Mysticism: A Meta-Theoretical Approach – Part II:


  • Herman J. Pietersen


The first paper (Part I) introduced a fundamental framework consisting of four archetypal orientations of the mind. The focus in the present paper (Part II) is, firstly, on the speculative (type I) contributions to mystical theology of Gregory of Nyssa, the Pseudo-Dionysius (Dionysius the Areopagite), and the German exemplar, Meister Eckhart. This is then followed by a review of the systematic (type II) mysticism of Evagrius Ponticus, Theologia Germanica, and of John of the Cross. The empyrean mind is inclined to use impersonal, abstract, terms such as: ‘substance,’ ‘essence,’ ‘cause,’ ‘knowledge,’ ‘universal,’ ‘being,’ the ‘One,’ the ‘Good,’ ‘wisdom,’ ‘Truth,’ the ‘Real,’ ‘incorporeal,’ and so on, as shown in the discussion in section 1 below. This is in contrast with the expressive and intimate language of the narrative-poetical (type III) mind, who speaks of the ‘love,’ ‘desire,’ and ‘passion’ for God, and the deeply personal need for union with God (see Part III). It also differs from the action-oriented approach of pragmatic mysticism (Part III)), and the more methodical and taxonomic (Aristotelian) character of objectivist-empiricist (type II) mysticism, discussed in section 2 below.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n16p541


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How to Cite

Pietersen, H. J. (2014). Christian Mysticism: A Meta-Theoretical Approach – Part II:. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(16), 541. Retrieved from