'Nobody has ever seen God': the denial of the possibility of mystical experiences in eighth- and eleventh-century Byzantium

In scholarly treatments of Byzantine mysticism the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries are given short shrift. Authors deal at length with the seventh-century authors John Climacus, Maximus the Confessor and Thalassius the Libyan and then immediately proceed to a discussion of the oeuvre of Symeon the...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Journal for late antique religion and culture
Main Author: Krausmüller, Dirk 1962-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2018]
In: Journal for late antique religion and culture
Year: 2017, Volume: 11, Pages: 65-73
Standardized Subjects / Keyword chains:B John, Climacus 575-650 / Maximus, Confessor, Heiliger 580-662 / Simeon, Sethus ca. 11. Jh., 2. Hälfte / Mystical experience
IxTheo Classification:CB Christian life; spirituality
KDF Orthodox Church
NBC Doctrine of God
Further subjects:B Maximus the Confessor
B John Climacus
B Byzantine mysticism
B Symeon the New Theologian
Online Access: Volltext (doi)
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Description
Summary:In scholarly treatments of Byzantine mysticism the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries are given short shrift. Authors deal at length with the seventh-century authors John Climacus, Maximus the Confessor and Thalassius the Libyan and then immediately proceed to a discussion of the oeuvre of Symeon the New Theologian who flourished in the late tenth and early eleventh century. There is, of course, a simple reason for this approach. In the intervening years no mystical literature was produced in Byzantium. This raises the question: how can we account for this yawning gap? Two explanations are possible: either there was no interest in mysticism, or mysticism was actively rejected. This article argues that the latter explanation is correct. It analyses texts that rule out the possibility of mystical experiences and implicitly accuse mystics of heresy.
ISSN:1754-517X
Contains:Enthalten in: Journal for late antique religion and culture
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.18573/j.2018.10453