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Mystiek > Over mystiek > Geschiedenis > Christelijk

Appendix (14)

Gouden eeuw van de mystiek

In Europe the mystic curve is now approaching its highest point. In the East that point has already been passed. Sufi, or Mahommedan mysticism, appearing in the eighth century in the beautiful figure of Rabi'a, the "Moslem St. Teresa" (717-801), and continued by the martyr Al Hallaj (ob. 922), attains literary expression in the eleventh in the "Confessions" of Al Ghazzali (1058-1111), and has its classic period in the thirteenth in the works of the mystic poets 'Attar (c. 1140-1234), Sadi (1184-1263), and the saintly Jalalu 'd Din (1207-1273). Its tradition is continued in the fourteenth century by the rather erotic mysticism of Hafiz (c. 1300-1388) and his successors, and in the fifteenth by the poet Jámí (1414-1492).

Whilst Hafiz already strikes a note of decadence for the mysticism of Islam, the year 1300 is for Western Europe a vital year in the history of the spiritual life. Mystics of the first rank are appearing, or about to appear. The Majorcan scholar-mystic Ramon Lull (ob. 1315) is drawing to the end of his long life. In Italy Dante (1265-1321) is forcing human language to express one of the most sublime visions of the Absolute which has ever been crystallised into speech. He inherits and fuses into one that loving and artistic reading of reality which was the heart of Franciscan mysticism, and that other ordered vision of the transcendental world which the Dominicans through Aquinas poured into the stream of European thought. For the one the spiritual world was all love: for the other all law. For Dante it was both. In the "Paradiso" his stupendous genius apprehends and shows to us a Beatific Vision in which the symbolic systems of all great mystics, and many whom the world does not call mystics - of Dionysius, Richard, St. Bernard Mechthild, Aquinas, and countless others - are included and explained.

The moment in which the "Commedia" was being written coincides with the awakening of mystical activity in Germany and Flanders. Between the years 1280 and 1309 was produced, probably in the Liege district and under Franciscan influence, the curious anonymous work which is now only known to us in Latin and English translations "The Mirror of Simple Souls." This long treatise, clearly influenced by Dionysius, the Victorines, and the twelfth-century tract known as the "Letter to the Brethren of Mons Dei," is a piece of mystical literature of an advanced kind, often fringing the borders of orthodoxy and looking forward to the speculative Flemish mysticism of the fourteenth century. Its writer was probably contemporary with the founder of this school; the great Dominican scholar Meister Eckhart (1260-1327), who resembled Dante in his combination of mystical insight with intense intellectual power, and laid the foundations at once of German philosophy and German mysticism. These two giants stand side by side at the opening of the century; perfect representatives of the Teutonic and Latin instinct for transcendental reality.

De Heer is mijn Licht en mijn Redding; wie dan zal ik vrezen?
- Psalm 27 -

Roemi: Juwelen
Een dagboek met 365 fragmenten van wijsheid. Nederlandse vertaling door Sipko den Boer en Aleid C. Swierenga
Cover van Roemi: JuwelenDeze tweede bloemlezing uit het werk van Roemi is even mooi en inspirerend als "Roemi
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