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Contemplative Ethics: Intimacy, Amor Mundi and Dignificaton in Teresa of Avila and Julian of Norwich

Contemplative Ethics: Intimacy, Amor Mundi and Dignificaton in Teresa of Avila and... Contemplative Ethics: Intimacy, Amor Mundi and Dignificaton in Teresa of Avila and Julian of Norwich* Beverly J. Lanzetta Accounts within the Christian mystical tradition of moral behavior in the lives of the great mystics are manifold, among them the suffering gentleness of Francis who tended to beggars, lepers, and the crippled; the speculative incisiveness of Meister Eckhart who demarcated the importance of helping those in need from mystical piety; and the verdant voice of Catherine of Siena who shamed men and popes by speaking about the suffering of the masses. Yet many academic studies on the relationship of mysticism and ethics repeat the often-stated idea that mystics display an unfortunate tendency to antinomian- ism, amoral behavior, or ethical apathy. The dissonance perceived to exist between mysticism and ethics is due in part to the definitions of mysticism employed, and to its modern, academic appropriation. Scholars of mysticism have uncritically adopted the essentialist, universalist definitions first posed by William James and others, associating mysticism with highly subjective personal encounters, ecstatic states of consciousness, and transient, ineffable experiences of nonordinary reality, to the neglect of the whole of the mystic’s life of faith. A number of recent studies have critiqued this http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archiv für Religionsgeschichte de Gruyter

Contemplative Ethics: Intimacy, Amor Mundi and Dignificaton in Teresa of Avila and Julian of Norwich

Archiv für Religionsgeschichte , Volume 9 (1): 22 – Dec 18, 2007

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
©2012 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co.
ISSN
1868-8888
eISSN
1868-8888
DOI
10.1515/9783110198737.1.51
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemplative Ethics: Intimacy, Amor Mundi and Dignificaton in Teresa of Avila and Julian of Norwich* Beverly J. Lanzetta Accounts within the Christian mystical tradition of moral behavior in the lives of the great mystics are manifold, among them the suffering gentleness of Francis who tended to beggars, lepers, and the crippled; the speculative incisiveness of Meister Eckhart who demarcated the importance of helping those in need from mystical piety; and the verdant voice of Catherine of Siena who shamed men and popes by speaking about the suffering of the masses. Yet many academic studies on the relationship of mysticism and ethics repeat the often-stated idea that mystics display an unfortunate tendency to antinomian- ism, amoral behavior, or ethical apathy. The dissonance perceived to exist between mysticism and ethics is due in part to the definitions of mysticism employed, and to its modern, academic appropriation. Scholars of mysticism have uncritically adopted the essentialist, universalist definitions first posed by William James and others, associating mysticism with highly subjective personal encounters, ecstatic states of consciousness, and transient, ineffable experiences of nonordinary reality, to the neglect of the whole of the mystic’s life of faith. A number of recent studies have critiqued this

Journal

Archiv für Religionsgeschichtede Gruyter

Published: Dec 18, 2007

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