mysticism

Great Mystics and Mystical Traditions

Among the principal contemplatives of Christianity from post-Apostolic times to the Reformation are Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St. Augustine, the false Dionysius the Areopagite, Cassian, St. Gregory I, Erigena, St. Peter Damian, St. Anselm, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Hildegard of Bingen, Joachim of Fiore, Richard of Saint Victor, Hugh of Saint Victor, Hadewijch, St. Gertrude, St. Francis, Jacopone da Todi, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas, Ramon Lull, Dante, Eckhart, Tauler, Suso, Ruysbroeck, Groote, Thomas à Kempis, Nicholas of Cusa, Rolle of Hampole, Walter Hilton, Juliana of Norwich, Margery Kempe, St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Catherine of Siena, Gerson, St. Bernardine of Siena, and St. Joan of Arc. The Catholic tradition was continued by St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Theresa of Ávila, St. John of the Cross, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Theresa of Lisieux. Orders that have given their name to types of mysticism are Carmelites, Carthusians, and Cistercians.

Among great Protestant mystics are Jakob Boehme and George Fox, founder of Quakerism, the foremost Protestant mystical movement. In the 17th and 18th cent. much literature of the contemplative life was written by the metaphysical poets and by Henry More, William Law, and others. Extremes in post-Reformation mysticism are seen in Jansenism (see under Jansen, Cornelis) and in quietism; and Emanuel Swedenborg may be regarded as a Protestant mystic. Also included in the mystic tradition were the Hermetic philosophers and the Alchemists.

In Judaism the mystical tradition represented by the kabbalah was continued in the modern Hasidism. For Islamic mysticism, see Sufism; al-Ghazali; Farid ad-Din Attar; Jalal ad-Din Rumi; Muin ad-Din Hasan Chishti; Hafiz; Jami; Sadi. For Hindu mysticism, see Vedanta; yoga; Aurobindo Ghose; Chinmoy Ghose; Dayananda Saraswati; Ramakrishna; Vivekananda; Yogananda. For Buddhism, see Zen Buddhism; Buddha; Milarepa; Daisetz Suzuki. See also Taoism.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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