Mysticism

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By Dana Greene

Evelyn Underhill used to be a pioneer in revitalizing curiosity in mysticism and within the non secular lifestyles as lived through traditional humans. listed below are a few of her articles that reveal the diversity and improvement of her idea over 40 years. the topics of magic and mysticism, prayer and pacifism are all thought of, with specific emphasis on Underhill's specialise in own spiritual adventure, its nurturance in prayer, its safeguard via institutional faith, and its implications for all elements of lifestyles. jointly, the items light up the author's movement from Platonism to the incarnational spirituality lived out through the years among the area wars.

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The publication of William Inge's Christian Mysticism in 1899, William James' Varieties of Religious Experience in 1902 and Friedrich von Hugel's The Mystical Element in Religion in 1908 all reflected this interest and stimulated it. Underhill's Mysticism appeared in 1911 and was an immediate success. The genius of this book was that it was not an objective study, but a highly interpretative one written out of knowledge and passion for its subject and intended to persuade the reader to respect this controversial phenomenon.

Although the number of persons influenced directly by this ministry were few, many of these retreats were published subsequently and hence reached a larger audience. Underhill's gift to her own time was an attentiveness to its real needs. She spent almost forty years attempting to meet those needs by writing in non-technical language about the human condition and its potentiality. At a time when institutional religion was moribund, doctrine was ignored, and materialism was rampant, Underhill gave new life to the religious quest.

This engagement she analogized as love and characterized as producing a changed consciousness and a transformed life. Evelyn Underhill's articulation of the mystic fact was a major contribution, and if she had ceased writing after 1920 her work would be noteworthy nonetheless. What happened, however, is that personal crisis forced her to reevaluate her ideas. Mysticism was produced out of the crisis of intellectual freedom; it stood as Page 21 a testament to personal religion lived out independent of historical institutions.

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