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Exploring mysticism : a methodological essay

Author: Frits Staal
Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, [1975]
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Until less than a century ago, the two prevailing views of dreams as well as of souls were that they are inconsequential (the scientific view) or of divine origin (the religious view). In either case it was assumed that they cannot be objects of rational inquiry. Similar views still prevail regarding mystical experiences and mysticism in general. Modern opinion, whether friendly or hostile, holds that the mystical  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Frits Staal
ISBN: 0520027264 9780520027268 0520031199 9780520031197
OCLC Number: 1621956
Description: xix, 230 pages, 9 unnumbered leaves of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: I. The Alleged irrationality of mysticism --
1. Christian irrationalism --
2. Buddhist irrationalism --
3. Modern irrationalism --
4. Appearance and reality --
II. How not to study mysticism --
5. Dogmatic approaches --
6. Philological and historical approaches --
7. Phenomenological and sociological approaches --
8. Physiological and psychological approaches --
III. How to study mysticism --
9. Effort, doubt, and criticism 10. Prerequisites and methods --
11. The Guru --
12. Drugs and powers --
13. Superstructures --
14. Mysticism and religion.
Responsibility: Frits Staal.

Abstract:

"Until less than a century ago, the two prevailing views of dreams as well as of souls were that they are inconsequential (the scientific view) or of divine origin (the religious view). In either case it was assumed that they cannot be objects of rational inquiry. Similar views still prevail regarding mystical experiences and mysticism in general. Modern opinion, whether friendly or hostile, holds that the mystical falls squarely within the domain of the irrational. Mr. Staal argues that mysticism can be studied rationally, and that without such study no theory of mind is complete. He exposes the grounds for the belief that mysticism cannot be studied, and shows them to be prejudices issuing from a particular historical development. While his contention has unflattering implications for the contemporary study of the humanities in general, it reveals in particular that existing academic approaches to the study of mysticism, even those that appear sound, are in fact inadequate. This conclusion applies to a variety of dogmatic inquiries and, as becomes, clear in these pages, to philological, historical, phenomenological, Sociological, physiological and psychological ones as well."--Amazon.com.

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