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Mysticism is "a constellation of distinctive practices, discourses, texts, institutions, traditions, and experiences aimed at human transformation, variously defined in different traditions."[web 1]

The term "mysticism" has Western origins, with various, historically determined meanings.[web 2][web 1] Derived from the Greek μυω, meaning "to conceal",[web 1] it referred to the biblical, the liturgical and the spiritual or contemplative dimensions in early and medieval Christianity,[lower-alpha 1] and became associated with "extraordinary experiences and states of mind" in the early modern period.[1]

In modern times, "mysticism" has acquired a limited definition,[web 2] but a broad application,[web 2] as meaning the aim at the "union with the Absolute, the Infinite, or God".[web 2] This limited definition has been applied to include a worldwide range of religious traditions and practices.[web 2]

Since the 1960s, a scholarly debate has been ongoing in the scientific research of "mystical experiences" between perennial and constructionist approaches.[2][3]


See also


  1. King 2002, pp. 17–18.
  2. Horne 1996, p. 9.
  3. Paden 2009, p. 332.



Published sources


External links

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