The Darkness of God: Negativity in Christian Mysticism by Denys TurnerThe Darkness of God: Negativity in Christian Mysticism by Denys Turner

The Darkness of God: Negativity in Christian Mysticism

byDenys Turner

Paperback | November 13, 1998

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For the medieval mystical tradition, the Christian soul meets God in a "cloud of unknowing," a divine darkness of ignorance. This meeting with God is beyond all knowing and beyond all experiencing. Mysticisms of the modern period, on the contrary, place "mystical experience" at the center, and contemporary readers are inclined to misunderstand the medieval tradition in "experientialist" terms. Denys Turner argues that the distinctiveness and contemporary relevance of medieval mysticism lies precisely in its rejection of "mystical experience," and locates the mystical firmly within the grasp of the ordinary and the everyday. The argument covers some central authorities in the period from Augustine to John of the Cross.
Title:The Darkness of God: Negativity in Christian MysticismFormat:PaperbackDimensions:292 pages, 8.98 × 5.98 × 0.67 inPublished:November 13, 1998Publisher:Cambridge University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0521645611

ISBN - 13:9780521645614


Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I. Two Sources and a Synthesis: 1. The allegory and Exodus; 2. Cataphatic and the apophatic in Denys the Areopagite; 3. The God within: Augustine's Confessions; 4. Interiority and ascent: Augustine's De Trinitate; 5. Hierarchy interiorised: Bonaventure's Itinerarium Mentis in Deum; Part II. Developments: 6. Eckhart: God and the self; 7. Eckhart: detachment and the critique of desire; 8. The Cloud of Unknowing and the critique of interiority; 9. Denys the Carthusian and the problem of experience; 10. John of the Cross: the dark nights and depression; 11. From mystical theology to mysticism; Further reading; Index.

From Our Editors

To most of us, mysticism is mystical. But Denys Turner points out that the medieval Christians had a very different understanding of the experience from the mysticism of the modern period. The Darkness of God explores how the Christians of the time believed their souls met God in a cloud of ignorance, that the experience was essentially unknowable to them. So during their lifetimes, they simply concentrated on what was real for them, because they couldn’t know God while they lived. The author points out that modern readings of medieval Christians mistakenly put mysticism at the centre of their experience.

Editorial Reviews

"This book is rich in lucid exposition, critical analysis, and useful understanding. It is essential and enjoyable reading for anyone who wants to know more about medieval mysticism." Alan R. Perreiah, Lexington Theological Quarterly