Pr. Andrew Louth, profesor la Universitatea din Durham, investighează conceptul şi obiectul desemnat prin termenul „misticism” în acest studiu publicat în revista românească internaţională Archaeus: Studies in the History of Religions (an. IX, 2005, nr. 1-4, p. 9-25).
Autorul ajunge la concluzia că misticismul este mult mai determinat decât se crede în general, nefiind un fel de fenomen religios universal. Astfel, el este în esenţă european-apusean, medieval târziu şi modern timpuriu. Putem vorbi în mod clar de o „tradiţie mistică creştină” (misticismul fiind un nume pentru o strategie religioasă anume) însă putem cu greu accepta studiul unui „misticism comparat” (expresie facilă şi construct anistoric).
Studiul include în mod remarcabil o prezentare a „evoluţiei” misticismului creştin de la începuturi, trecând prin misticismul răsăritean (dionisian) până la varianta sa medievală latină. Mystikos (în gr. legat de mysterion) îşi pierde aspectul sacramental (liturgic) când este tradus mysticus nemaifiind conectat etimologic cu varianta latină a misterului sau tainei, anume sacramentum. Mysticus şi sacramentum dezvoltă fiecare o viaţă pe cont propriu, iar receptarea operei lui Dionisie în Apus este material de studiu esenţial. În plus, despre o nouă înţelegere a „corpus mysticum Christi” şi despre „individualizarea” misticismului ca „accesare” pe cont propriu a puterii divine (unire mistică).
Includ mai jos 2 fragmente. Studiul se poate găsi cu plată (sau pe bază de abonament) şi pe baza de date CEEOL.
„At its heart is the understanding of Christ as the divine mysterion, which is central to the epistles of the Apostle Paul. This secret is a secret that has been told; but despite that it remains a secret, because what has been declared cannot be simply grasped since it is God’s secret, and God is beyond any human comprehension. The secret of the Gospel is the hidden meaning of the Scriptures: for Christians the whole of what they came to call the ‘Old Testament’ finds its true meaning in Christ. God’s plan for humankind to which the Scriptures bear witness is made plain in the Incarnation. And this is the most common context, as we have seen, for the use of the word mystikos: it refers therefore to the hidden meaning of the Scriptures, the true meaning that is revealed in Christ, a meaning that remains mysterious, for it is no simple message, but the life in Christ that is endless in its implications. Christians, however, share in the life in Christ preeminently through the sacraments–mysteria in Greek–and the word mystikos is used therefore in relation to the sacraments as a way of designating the hidden reality, encountered and shared through the sacraments. The final use of the word mystikos refers to the hidden reality of the life of baptized Christians: a reality which is, as St Paul put it, ‘hid with Christ in God’ (Col. 3. 3). If the ‘mysticism’ of the Fathers is what these various uses of mystikos refer to, then it is very different from what we call mysticism nowadays: it does not refer to some elite group, or elite practice, within Christianity, it simply refers to the lived reality of Christianity itself. It is not something separate from the institutions of Christianity: it is the meaning that these institutions enshrine. It is not something distinct from the dogmas of Christianity, for the ‘mystical’ meaning of Scripture, in this sense, is often enough precisely such dogmas, which are the hidden meaning of the Scriptures. ‘Mystical’ and ‘sacramental’, from this perspective, are interchangeable: which is hardly surprising, as sacramentum is the Latin word used to translate mysterion.”
„What then of comparative mysticism? My argument, so far, is that it is naïve and methodologically flawed. The term ‘mysticism’ is not the ‘name’ for a ‘thing’, rather it is the name for a religious strategy, and in origin the name for a particular religious strategy that belongs to early modern Europe (though already underway in late medieval Europe–we
cannot now go into the argument as to where the caesura between ‘medieval’ and ‘modern’ occurs, though this case is part of the argument for seeing the twelfth century as more decisive than the fifteenth or sixteenth). It is a strategy to which there may well be analogies in the histories of other religions: but we shall not discover that by confining our attention to ‘mystical writings’, we shall need to cast our nets much more widely. Briefly, I would say, that something like what is called
comparative mysticism may well have a role in comparative religion, but that both of these need to see themselves as part of a much wider attempt to compare different historical cultures: religions cannot be abstracted from the cultures in which they answer people’s social and spiritual needs (that does not mean that religions cannot pass from one culture to another: they evidently can, but we must not suppose that there is some ‘essence’ of religion that can be isolated, which is that which has passed from one culture to another–the situation is much more complex than than, and the question of religious identity not so easily solved), nor can ‘mysticism’ be abstracted from the religions that foster deep, prayerful commitment.
‘Comparative mysticism’ is too easy, and unhistorical: it simply lulls us into thinking that we can regard as fundamentally significant (‘mystical’ has never lost the connotation of what really matters, what is ultimately powerful) what appeals to the individualized consciousness of the West–religious literature that aspires to the form of poetry, devoid of dogmatic content or ritual expression. „