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Author

Date of Award

4-2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Philosophy

Supervisor

Professor Jeffrey A. Mitscherling

Abstract

The goal of this dissertation is to understand the nature of mystical knowledge. After rejecting the perceptual model and the "pure consciousness" model for mystical knowledge due to their inaccuracies, I try to develop a new model for mystical knowledge using the phenomenological method. This new model is based on the mystical experience of St. John of the Cross, the famous Spanish mystic of the sixteenth century. To ensure the accuracy of the model, the mystical theology of St. John is exposed in sufficient details, with special emphasis on St. John's characterization of different types of mystical knowledge. Then, drawing on the insights of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Max Scheler and other phenomenologists, I develop a new model for mystical knowledge called knowledge through the resonance of love . According to this model, the mystical knowledge of St. John has the nature of an affective self-knowledge through love. Suggestions are also made on how the model can be applied to other mystics. The conclusion to be drawn from this model is that mystical knowledge is not an Absolute Knowledge of an extra-linguistic nature, but an event of understanding that takes place within the linguistic horizon of the mystic's religious tradition.

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