Departmental Bulletin Paper 「神秘主義」概念の歴史と現状
History and Actuality of “Mysticism”

鶴岡, 賀雄

34pp.1 - 24 , 2017-03-31 , 東京大学文学部宗教学研究室
In this paper I attempt to sketch the historical development or metamorphosis of the notion of mysticism, for the purpose of evaluating its efficacy in the contemporary study of religion. In the long history of "mysticism" one can point out some critical stages as follows. 1. In Ancient Greek mystery religions the words mueo (probably related to muo), muesis, musterion, etc. came into use with a specific religious meaning. 2. The New Testament, especially the Pauline Letters, introduced the term musterion in Christianity, referring to the hidden wisdom, the “mystery,” that could be revealed only to perfect Christians. 3. In Ancient and Medieval Christianity the adjective mysticos, closely related to musterion, is adopted to qualify the deepest dimension of Christianity: the corpus mysticum of Christ, sensus mysticus of Scripture, theologia mystica of Denys the Areopagite, etc. 4. Since the Late Medieval era theologia mystica gradually came to designate a special branch of theology distinct and independent from other branches such as dogmatic or scholastic, positive or Biblical theologies. The theologia mystica, which I name "Early Modern Mystical Theology" in this paper, is founded on interior (mystical) experience by saints (or mystics) who grasp the hidden truth of Christianity directly, transcending controversies among Churches and schools. In French "la mystique" is coined for this field of theology. 5. "Early Modern Mystical Theology" can be regarded as the prototype of what I call here "Modern Mysticism." “Mysticism,” a neologism of the 18th century, came into wide use since the latter half of the 19th century on and was variously discussed not only by theologians but by philosophers, historians of religions, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, theoreticians of politics, critics of literature, etc. It inherits from "Early Modern Mystical Theology" key characteristics such as a foundation in inner experience of mystics, transcendence of doctrinal and institutional divergences, not only among Christian churches but among religions of the world, and so on. The flowering of “Modern Mysticism,” however, entailed a confusion about what "mysticism" is. It seems difficult today to employ this word as an "etic" notion for describing and analyzing religious phenomena. The "emic" nature it bears cannot be cleansed off. Nevertheless "mysticism" is still attiring interests of contemporary authors in many fields. We are invited to redefine this problematic notion in a new and creative way, by focusing on the inextinguishable desire of those who needed and are still in need of the notion of "mysticism."

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