Recent Ph.D. Dissertations Concerning Mysticism

TITLE Rhetorics of darkness: Modern occultism and the popular imaginary (Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Aleister Crowley)

AUTHOR Gunn, Joshua Gresham;



DATE 2002


ADVISER Scott, Robert Lee

ISBN 0-493-67312-1

SOURCE DAI-A 63/05, p. 1626, Nov 2002


Abstract: The occult traditionally has been understood as the study of secrets and the practice of mysticism or magic. My dissertation broadens our understanding of occultism by treating it as a rhetorical phenomenon, as an idiom and as a social force inextricably tied to language and symbol. Understood as an idiom, a number of chapters examine the ways in which the critical act is "occult" insofar as much of the work published in discourse and rhetorical studies tends to obsess about the fetishized book or speech in search of a transcendental signified. Understood as a social force, I trace the occult as a form or genre across various media, from newspapers and books to television, to provide a chronicle of occultism in the United States that reveals recurrent patterns in occult texts during the modern era (the late nineteenth century through end of the twentieth). These patterns, I conclude, are premised on a generalized, popular anxiety about language and its limitations, as well as a general unwillingness to contend with the divided or split subject.


TITLE Emancipatory dimensions of Christian mysticism according to feminist philosopher Grace Jantzen

AUTHOR Freitas, Donna Marie;



DATE 2002


ADVISER Happel, Stephen

ISBN 0-493-61136-3

SOURCE DAI-A 63/03, p. 980, Sep 2002


Abstract: There is a debate within the study of mysticism about whether mystical experience has any impact within the social sphere. Grace Jantzen, a feminist philosopher of religion, argues that the tearing apart of mystical experience from its natural, social dimensions arises directly out of the work of prominent philosophers of mysticism, particularly William James. Jantzen argues that philosophers have promoted a view of mystical experience that is subjective and private. They disregard the social context of the mystic and its relationship to the mystic's experiences and political activities. Thus, the potential social and political implications of mystical experience have been ignored or, at best, regarded as irrelevant for philosophical speculation. Newer analyses within the field of Christian mystical theology, particularly analyses contributed by women scholars such as Grace Jantzen have challenged this supposed rift between mystical experience and the political sphere. Jantzen's work provides the extensive historical and philosophical context needed to understand the relationship between Christian mysticism and the political sphere. Throughout her work she constructs a framework that includes not only an analysis and critique of the origins of this rift between mysticism and worldly life, but also the assertion of a social, liberating dimension within the mystical life itself. This dissertation provides a synthesis of Jantzen's critique of contemporary philosophy of mysticism and analyzes the emancipatory dimensions of mysticism according to her work. Chapter One situates Jantzen's work in the context of twentieth century philosophical and feminist scholarship on mysticism. Chapters Two and Three are expository sections on the historical development of the division between the mystical life and the political sphere. Chapter Four presents an analysis of the relationship between emancipation and mysticism according to Jantzen, focusing on the central role that her account of feminism holds in this relationship. Finally, Chapter Five evaluates Jantzen's work regarding the emancipatory dimensions of mysticism for its overall coherence and applicability on a practical level


TITLE When deep calls unto deep: Images of the abyss in Jacob Boehme, Carl Jung, and clinical practice

AUTHOR Madden, Kathryn Wood;



DATE 2002


ADVISER Ulanov, Ann Belford

ISBN 0-493-63228-X

SOURCE DAI-B 63/04, p. 2044, Oct 2002


Abstract: Images of the abyss in traditional Christian theology and psychology are generally symbolic of hell, destruction, or death. In this thesis, an experience or vision of the abyss is regarded afresh through the lenses of depth psychology and mysticism. The relevance of an experience that is identified as that of "radically other otherness" is examined in light of the of clinical practice. A major theme that a unitary reality underlies all psychological experience is explored. A comparative review is conducted of the selected writings of two individuals who appeared to have had the experience of such a reality in their early adulthood to mid-life: Jacob Boehme, the 17th century German shoemaker and mystic, and C. G. Jung, the 20th century Swiss psychoanalyst. In Boehme's case, this experience was of a pre-existent abyss, which he called the <italic>Ungrund</italic>, or un-ground, and saw as underlying all of creation, even God. In the case of Carl Jung, the experience was of a pre-existent Pleroma, an emptiness of fullness, which precedes all of creation. These experiences appeared for both to be "watershed" events. They followed periods of melancholia (Boehme) and/or inner confusion (Jung). Significantly, these experiences also inspired in each the production of a life-long opus of creative work. Commonalities and differences between these two experiences are addressed. In addition, distinctions are highlighted between these experiences and the disintegrating experiences of psychotics. Several clinical examples are presented.


TITLE Systems theory and the unity of mystical traditions: A comparative analysis of rDzogs-chen and Rhineland mysticism

AUTHOR Studstill, Randall;



DATE 2002


ADVISER Payne, Richard

ISBN 0-493-62196-2

SOURCE DAI-A 63/03, p. 984, Sep 2002


Abstract: The purpose of this dissertation is to articulate and defend a theory of the essential unity of two mystical traditions: rDzogs-chen and Rhineland mysticism. Based on a systems approach to the doctrines and practices of each, it will be shown that both traditions affect common transformative processes in the consciousness of the practitioner. This thesis exemplifies (as well as supports) a general theory of mysticism I refer to as "soteriological ecumenism." This theory asserts that the unity of mystical traditions is not based on cross-culturally identical doctrines and/or experiences, but on a common soteriological trajectory discernable within the traditions (which may or may not manifest itself in similar or identical doctrines and experiences). The essence of this trajectory is the erosion of the ego and the "opening up" of consciousness, experientially realized as a deepening attunement to the Real. A systems approach to mysticism (and the ecumenical theory it supports) is justified on two levels. First, it is justified in a negative sense by the fundamental inadequacy of current, philosophical approaches to mysticism: perennialist, typological, and constructivist. In Chapters One and Two this inadequacy will be demonstrated, establishing the need for an alternative approach to mysticism. Second, a systems approach to mysticism is justified in a positive sense, based on its own philosophical, epistemological, and psychological merits, as well as its ability to account for a wider range of the data. In Chapter Three this systems approach will be explained by reviewing some of the general principles of systems theory and presenting a systems-based model of consciousness/mind based on those principles. Chapters Four and Five survey central doctrines and practices from two mystical traditions: rDzogs-chen and Rhineland mysticism respectively. Using the systems-based model of consciousness discussed in Chapter Three, the interpretation of these teachings will focus on the issue of soteriological efficacy: how they might transform the consciousness of the practitioner who internalizes them and lives them. Chapter Six concludes this project. It compares the doctrines and practices of rDzogs-chen and Rhineland mysticism from a systems perspective, showing the essential unity of these two mystical paths and, by implication, the essential unity of mystical traditions in general.


Title: Philo of Alexandria: An exegete of scripture (Saint Paul, Egypt)
Author(s): McNutt, Walter Buswell

Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2001 Pages: 00358 Institution: University of Missouri - Kansas City; 0134 Advisor: Adviser Joseph P. Schultz Source: DAI, 62, no. 03A (2001): p. 1068 Standard No: ISBN: 0-493-19565-3

Abstract: Philo of Alexandria (c.20 BCE-c.50 CE) has been characterized by scholars of the twentieth century as a great philosopher (Harry A. Wolfson), a Hellenized mystic (Erwin R. Goodenough, David Winston), and recently as an allegorizing exegete of the Hebrew scriptures (Valentin Nikiprowetzky and Peder Borgen). Nikiprowetzky and Borgen viewed Philo as an exegete, whose commentaries are designed to explain the Pentateuch to a thoroughly Hellenized religious community. While this debate continues among Philonic scholars, contemporary New Testament studies have downplayed at best, and ignored at worst, Philo's contribution to the understanding of the Christian scriptures. By comparing Philo's writings with Paul's Letter to the Galatians , this dissertation attempts to advance the perspective that Philo was an exegete and that his writings are useful to New Testament scholarship. After a brief biographical introduction to the lives of Philo and Paul in chapter 1, the dissertation surveys the survival of Philo's writings and outlines Philonic scholarship of the twentieth century in chapter 2. Chapter 3 provides a historical backdrop by surveying the history of interpretation of the Jews during the Second Temple period and the Christians in the early first century. Following the survey, this chapter focuses on three key features of Philo's and Paul's interpretative methodology: the socio-historical contexts of their first-century readers, their use of the literal and allegorical methods of interpretation, and their apologetic motives. Chapter 4 compares Philo's and Paul's interpretations of the narrative of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar found in Genesis 15-21. Using the socio-historical discussion of chapter 3 as a point of departure, this chapter juxtaposes the authors interpretative rationale and structure in order to discover common exegetical elements. In this approach to Philo as an exegete of scripture, the dissertation attempts to uncover aspects about Philo's Alexandrian context and writings that may have been similar to Paul's historical horizon and letters. Chapter 5 highlights the contributions of each chapter and posits areas for further study. While no single factor may be sufficient to support the entire thesis, the cumulative effect of the biographical, motivational, and exegetical similarities uncovered in this dissertation offer valid evidence for the comparative approach to understanding Philo of Alexandria. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: RELIGION, BIBLICAL STUDIES Accession No: AAI3010619

Title: Balaam's she-ass speaks: Madame Jeanne Guyon and her "Justifications" (Jeanne Marie Bouvier de La Motte Guyon)

Author(s): Smith, Sarah Jane Nix
Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2001 Pages: 00269 Institution: Emory University; 0665 Advisor: Adviser Robert A. Paul Source: DAI, 62, no. 03A (2001): p. 1075 Standard No: ISBN: 0-493-19528-9

Abstract: In a brief comment in her autobiography the French mystic Madame Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717) compared herself to Balaam's she-ass, whose story unfolds in Numbers 22. There God speaks through the mouth of the lowly she-ass to instruct her master Balaam. This story raises two questions: "who can speak?" and "how does the person in a subordinate cultural position speak?" Guyon assumes that if God can speak through a she-ass, He can speak through her. She writes forty-one texts to prove her point that even a woman can speak if God empowers her to do so. How she speaks is also revealing, especially in her Justifications , the mammoth text she wrote to defend herself from the heresy of Quietism. In her Justifications Guyon utilizes a double-voiced discourse by combining the voices of submission and assertion in an unusual manner: she assertively speaks from the submissive place of footnotes. She, thereby, generates a unique application of the double-voiced discourse; she also discloses the gender and authority issues she confronted. In fact, Guyon used the double-voiced discourse to great effect in her Justifications . In this text she transformed the double-voiced discourse from its usual negative place in gender studies and raised it to new and positive heights. In Guyon's hand this technique of narrative voice becomes a model for combining the opposite voices of submission and assertion and forming them into a discourse of moderation. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: RELIGION, HISTORY OF WOMEN'S STUDIES LITERATURE, ROMANCE Accession No: AAI3009473

Title: Ecstatic experience, crime, and conversion in Robert Musil's "Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften"

Author(s): Grill, Genese Elinor
Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2001 Pages: 00356 Institution: City University of New York; 0046 Advisor: Adviser Burton Pike Source: DAI, 62, no. 03A (2001): p. 1038 Standard No: ISBN: 0-493-18475-9

Abstract: Robert Musil (1880-1941), as physicist, behavioral psychologist, engineer, mathematician, and novelist, possessed multiple vocabularies for defining the burgeoning complexities of twentieth-century thought. As one of the pioneers of experimental European Modernism, Musil was engaged in the serious game of reinvesting the deadened communal language of nineteenth-century positivism with the intensity of individual subjective experience, alternate visions of reality, and a constant and rigorous reevaluation of values. Without abandoning the precision he had learned in his scientific studies, Musil attempted to explore the murkier regions, to investigate the realms of the mystical, the aesthetic, the emotional with the sharpness of a "vivisector" and, conversely, to revisit the realms of precision with the energy of what he called "living" language. To that end he developed something he called "the other condition," based on traditional mysticisms, on anthropological studies of primitive ritual and consciousness, on contemporary findings on child psychology, pathology, sense perception, sexology, consciousness science, Gestalt psychology, and aesthetic experience. Within Musil's "other condition," the mind was more fruitful than otherwise--a "moral fruitfulness"--and preconceived notions of good and evil, self and other were temporarily suspended. This state, far from a quietist piety, is associated by Musil with what I call an "other tradition" of mysticism, a tradition of heresy, independent thought, and radical re-visioning of an infinite number of possible realities. Formal arrangements, whether aesthetic, ethical, or social, could, within the creative zone of this "other condition," shift, creating new conversion experiences. In this work I explore Musil's diverse readings on primitive anthropology, heretical medieval mysticisms (including Christian mysticism, Sufism, the occult), crime, and conversion and show how these readings are developed in Musil's great unfinished novel, Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften , both formally (in reference to Musil's text) and philosophically. Discussions of traditional mystical questions of the magic of the Word, time and timelessness, self and other, longing and union are all explored with reference to Musil's aesthetic theory and practice. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: LITERATURE, GERMANIC LITERATURE, COMPARATIVE LITERATURE, MODERN LITERATURE, MEDIEVAL Accession No: AAI3008832

Title: Reading and re-presenting Rilke: Orphic identity and poetic invention (Rainer Maria Rilke)
Author(s): Nelson, Erika Martina Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2001 Pages: 00249 Institution: The University of Texas at Austin; 0227 Advisor: Supervisors Katherine Arens Hubert Heinen Source: DAI, 62, no. 03A (2001): p. 1039 Standard No: ISBN: 0-493-18140-7

Abstract: My study of Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) tackles issues of identity construction in terms of the poet's understanding of the malleable nature of identity, while simultaneously addressing the question of Rilke's place in literary history. In line with contemporary literary and critical theory which views the "self" as a societal "construction" and strategic narrative device within language, this dissertation examines Rilke's preoccupations with identity and self-consciousness in his work, as he investigates the disintegration of personality, the instability and the fragility of the subjective self in the modern world. Rilke's re-reading of mythological figures, such as Orpheus and Narcissus, in modern, psychological terms, as well as in terms of traditional poetics, are keys not only to Rilke's poetics and his changing understanding of "self," but also to his evolving critique of society. Rilke's Orphic work disengages traditional patterns of perceptions, not only to decenter fidelity to history, but to recover the power of traditional elements from that history to help one articulate one's subjectivity. While earlier parts of Rilke's oeuvre follow in the modernist vein of resisting the fragmentation or loss of the self, his later work Rilke espouses also a vision of poetic life and regeneration beyond the death of the solitary individual that encompasses an expression of secularized mysticism that enacts a celebration of the dispersal, death, and loss of self and the tearing off of the disguises of self which conceal its naturalized, artificial origins. Rilke's intertextuality of Orpheus thus anticipates a postmodern narrative and treats identity not in terms of the socially-constructed personae, but as a pre-linguistic, polymorphous phenomenon in its acceptance of the multivalent-self or selves, a reading far closer to the postmodern than to the modern. Rilke's presentation of newly revised and secularized cultural forms sought to provide the individual with a greater sense of social cohesion--he deconstructs the western traditions, in order to reconstruct a space for the various voices in the collective in an age of increasing modernist fragmentation. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: LITERATURE, GERMANIC Accession No: AAI3008405

Title: Mystics without God: Spirituality and form in Italian and French modernism

Author(s): Wittman, Laura Vera Harwood Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2001 Pages: 00714 Institution: Yale University; 0265 Advisor: Director Paolo Valesio Source: DAI, 62, no. 03A (2001): p. 1013 Standard No: ISBN: 0-493-16876-1

Abstract: This dissertation explores the origins, as well as the literary and spiritual implications of the term "mystic without God," used simultaneously by Gabriele d'Annunzio and Paul Valéry to describe their understanding of the religious situation of modern man--a religious situation that characterizes both literary and Theological modernism. Part One focuses on the origins of modernist mysticism in the nineteenth-century roman d'analyse (in the works of Bourget, Constant, Foscolo, Barrés, Bloy, Amiel, and Huysmans) and its failure to mirror a spiritual "falling away from God" in the erotic. After a transitional theoretical chapter discussing the concepts of repetition and possession (in Kierkegaard and Ricoeur), Parts Two and Three consider two different attempts made by the modernist mystic to grasp the nature of the dark night he, traverses. Part Two begins with a theoretical reflection on the dissolution of the self and "poésie pure" (mainly in Bremond, Maritain, and Valéry), and then concentrates on the mystic's attempt to abolish his nameless longing by rendering it transparent to self-consciousness, which leads him to rediscover in the spatial and temporal density of the symbol the reality of an undifferentiated suffering that is common to all of Creation (the two main examples are d'Annunzio and Fogazzaro). Part Three begins with a theoretical analysis of "atto puro" and its relevance to a modernist via negativa (in the encyclical Pascendi, and in Croce, Gentile, Blondel, Laberthonnière, Underhill, Baruzi, Otto, and Buonaiuti), and then continues with the mystic's attempt to enact, and thereby possess, the process of his own alienation--the instant in which the self is penetrated by an alien longing and made other--which leads him to discover increasingly suffered solitude, one that struggles with a presence that is neither fully manifest, nor entirely absent (the two main examples are Marinetti and d'Annunzio). The conclusion, finally, meditates on whether the modernist mystic without God ultimately inscribes his suffering and his solitude in the powerlessness of Presence, or in God's own agony, and how this inscription may be related to prayer. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: LITERATURE, MODERN LITERATURE, COMPARATIVE LITERATURE, ROMANCE RELIGION, GENERAL Accession No: AAI3007449

Title: "Architecture, Mysticism and Myth" (1891): William Lethaby and the foundation of a syncretic modernism
Author(s): van der Plaat, Deborah Anne Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2000 Pages: 00001 Institution: University of New South Wales (Australia); 0423 Source: DAI, 62, no. 01A (2000): p. 3

Abstract: In this study I attempt to re-evaluate the thought of William Lethaby and his contribution to modern architecture, particularly through his most influential work, Architecture, Mysticism and Myth (1891). My thesis is that Lethabys work presented a new view of architectural history which became the basis of an alternative tradition to mainstream modernism. His distinctive contribution emerged from a reconciliation of profound dichotomies in Ruskin's thought and criticism, particularly the opposition between rational knowledge and artistic imagination. Unlike Ruskin, Lethaby did not retreat into a medieval past but boldly advanced towards an architecture of the future. In achieving his new synthesis Lethaby was deeply indebted to Matthew Arnold's dialectical analysis of the &lsquo;Hellene&rsquo; and the &lsquo;Hebraic&rsquo; streams of Western culture, the ambivalent methodologies of Victorian mythography, and to the important Renaissance treatise Hypnerotomachia Poliphili , now ascribed by some to Alberti. Lethaby's work, Architecture, Mysticism and Myth, had an enormous impact on his contemporaries and following generations of architects and theorists in the English speaking world. In seeking an architectural realisation of Arnold's "Sweetness and Light" Lethaby bequeathed an alternative vision of twentieth century sensibility, architecture and civilisation which saw its "cultural perfection" in the balance of scientific knowledge and creative Imagination. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: ARCHITECTURE ART HISTORY Accession No: AAI0802265

Title: Bending the light: Paul Celan's "Todesfuge"

Author(s): Clarke, Robert Doane, III Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2000 Pages: 00306 Institution: University of California, Berkeley; 0028 Advisor: Chair Anton Kaes Source: DAI, 62, no. 01A (2000): p. 185 Standard No: ISBN: 0-493-10443-7

Abstract: Paul Celan's "Todesfuge" emerged from the depths of mankind's greatest madness. Confronted with that madness in the form of a poem, readers often search for orientation and think to find it in the singular historical moment the text seems to depict; when good and evil appear easy to define. This path avoids the text's paradox complexity. The opening two chapters discuss this complexity and the poem's reception, which so often denies it. Questioning why this denial occurs and how it has shifted over time without significantly altering safe categorizations of perpetrator/victim, I attempt to show why, as Celan often said: " is not so simple." Chapter three shows how the poem's language and lack of punctuation subvert any attempts at categorical understanding. It locates intersections of identity between the writer and an assumed "commandant," whom Celan identifies enigmatically as "a man." A close reading opens the text to a maelstrom of disintegrating boundaries and meanings, making an "understanding" of the poem as difficult, hopefully, as an understanding of the Shoah itself. Following strands of intertextual allusion uncovered in chapter three, the next two chapters concentrate on the poem's closing images: Margarete and Sulamith. Chapter four analyzes the complicity of alchemical theosophy and Germany's Enlightenment and their combined role in the betrayal of assimilated Jewish Europeans. Chapter five returns to Celan's personal loss to the Shoah and uncovers an intricate messianic system of signification developed to commemorate that overwhelming absence. The poet's obsession with repeating images and numbers unfolds a stunning architectural precision. The final chapters examine the effects of a more complicated "Todesfuge" on the reading of Celan's later, more difficult poems, exposing layers of compression that defy comprehension and deform the critical voice bent on understanding. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: LITERATURE, GERMANIC Accession No: AAI3001794

Title: Bringing light to life: The art of Agnes Pelton (1881--1961)

Author(s): Sheley, Nancy Strow Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2000 Pages: 00430 Institution: University of Kansas; 0099 Advisor: Adviser Charles C. Eldredge Source: DAI, 61, no. 12A (2000): p. 4829 Standard No: ISBN: 0-493-06336-6

Abstract: This study places the life and works of American painter Agnes Pelton (1881-1961) within a cultural and historical framework, emphasizing her ceaseless efforts to support herself solely with art. Despite the forces--internal and external--which impeded her success, Pelton produced a quality oeuvre in multiple styles. Focusing on imaginative paintings, portraiture, floral representations of gender, sexuality, place, class, ethnicity, and religion, as well as delineates the issues which affected the inception, creation, and reception of her art. For example, Chapter Six examines Pelton's reconfiguration of the nineteenth-century metaphor, woman is a flower, into the floral symbol as eros, an internal creative force. Pelton exhibited in the acclaimed Armory Show in 1913; she was a student of Arthur Dow and Hamilton Easter Field, a contemporary of Georgia O'Keeffe and Arthur Dove, and active in New York City's avant-garde arts community in the 1910s. She belonged to the Transcendental Painting Group of New Mexico, was a friend of Mabel Dodge Luhan, knew Mary Austin, and participated in Will C. Comfort's California, creating Lotus tor Lida there in 1929. She also devised a visual representation of movement, a trajectus sursum, appealed to a limited audience "enlightened" by Theosophy and Agni Yoga. Because Pelton promoted her work without a long-term patron or support group, her diminished acclaim resulted, in part, from limited exposure in major galleries after 1932, her dedication to spiritual themes, and her decision to dislocate from the mainstream, city art world. Through all, Pelton's life can be read as a series of displacements, initiated, for the most part, by her own willful choices. At fifty, Pelton moved to the California desert and spent her later years painting realistic landscapes to sell to tourists Not only does this dissertation bring Pelton's life to light, it also illumines the spiritualized light she projected through her art. Moreover, it provides a glimpse of that elusive spotlight of fame and exposes the difficulties a highly competent, single woman artist faced in the first half of the twentieth century, as she struggled to bring her "especial light messages to the world." SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: AMERICAN STUDIES ART HISTORY BIOGRAPHY Accession No: AAI9998112

Title: The sensual and the spiritual: Tradition and transgression in medieval English mysticism (Julian of Norwich, Richard Rolle)

Author(s): Waggoner, Marsha Frakes Degree: M.A. Year: 2000 Pages: 00066 Institution: University of Louisville; 0110 Advisor: Adviser Julia Dietrich Source: MAI, 39, no. 01 (2000): p. 41 Standard No: ISBN: 0-599-86538-5

Abstract: Ecstatic mystical experiences were widely reported throughout Europe during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and an astonishing volume of mystical writing survives, writing that provides eloquent testimony about the nature of the mystical experience and defies the common assumption that such experiences are "ineffable." Not all mystical experiences are created equal, however, and the writings of English mystics differ from those of continental mystics in several significant ways. These English texts reveal variations in style and content that set English mystics apart from their peers in France, Italy, and the Rhineland. The works of Julian of Norwich and Richard Rolle are representative in several ways; they are not only distinctively English, but they are also gender-inflected in unexpected ways. The writings of Julian and Richard are examined as literature, as devotional treatises, and as cultural artifacts. The analysis is undertaken from a critical feminist perspective, with an emphasis on historically accurate positioning of the texts. A number of distinctions can be made for the purpose of comparative analysis, and these include the peculiarly English style of the works, the genderinflected nature of the texts, the reasons for which they were written and their intended audiences, and a genre differentiation which can be described as devotional as opposed to theological. (Abstract shortened by UMI.) SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: LITERATURE, MEDIEVAL RELIGION, HISTORY OF HISTORY, MEDIEVAL Accession No: AAI1400595

Title: Spiritual versus religious elements in selected shorter poetry of William Blake

Author(s): Hotchkiss, Lauren Rene Degree: M.A. Year: 2000 Pages: 00092 Institution: California State University, Dominguez Hills; 0582 Advisor: Adviser Joanne Zitelli Source: MAI, 38, no. 06 (2000): p. 1455 Standard No: ISBN: 0-599-78931-X

Abstract: In attempting to understand the meaning of William Blake's poetry, the reader is forced to take Blake on his own terms and join him on a spiritual journey that leads through a world of personal mythology and idiosyncratic symbiology. This study seeks to differentiate "spiritual" and "religious" as they apply to Blake's work in order to critically analyze the manner in which he gradually moved away from his sectarian roots, yet remained in touch with the essence that underlay all religion. The study makes use of primary and secondary sources concerned with Blake's spiritual and artistic growth, with selected examples from his shorter poems. Results are presented in chapters on (1) Blake's artistic and religious influences, (2) his disputed status as mystic, visionary, prophet, or madman, (3) the role of Religion in his life, (4) his religious radicalism, (5) his place in The Age of Reason, and (6) Conclusions. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: LITERATURE, ENGLISH RELIGION, GENERAL BIOGRAPHY Accession No: AAI1399845

Title: Plotinus on the limits of discursive rationality

Author(s): McShane, Michael M. M. Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2000 Pages: 00338 Institution: University of Pennsylvania; 0175 Advisor: Supervisor Charles H. Kahn Source: DAI, 61, no. 10A (2000): p. 4027 Standard No: ISBN: 0-599-97053-7

Abstract: This dissertation discusses Plotinus's views on the limits of discursive rationality, or dianoia. It shows how dianoia is out of place in the higher hypostases of Plotinus's ontological system. A symptom of this displacement is that when discursive rationality is applied to the higher hypostases it generates logical inconsistencies or paradoxes, which I call "paradoxes of misplaced discursivity." Such paradoxes include: (1) that Nous is both identical to and different from its objects, the Forms; (2) that the Forms themselves are both all one and each separate and individual; (3) that the human soul in contemplation is both identical to and different from Nous. Although dianoia is, strictly speaking, insufficient for gaining knowledge of the higher hypostases, it is nonetheless necessary in this pursuit. It is required as part of a process of philosophical purification that is a pre-requisite to having a Noetic insight into the nature of the Forms. Generally, Plotinus self-consciously uses dianoetic argumentation to generate the paradoxes mentioned above. (This entails using dianoia against itself, since paradoxes, of course, are the bane of discursivity.) Plotinus does this in order to show his disciples the futility of relying upon unaided discursivity, and to forcefully move them beyond the level of Soul, which is dianoia's proper home, and to urge them into the higher regions through mystical experience. This process entails an ontological shift, as the mystic moves beyond the conventionally human realm and into the higher hypostases. Plotinus attacks the notion that dianoia alone is sufficient for gaining higher knowledge. These attacks produce interesting philosophical problems concerning the status of his own argumentation, since the great bulk of his writing itself is composed of dianoetic reasoning. There is thus a tension between the discursive and the mystical moments in Plotinus's philosophy. I controversially conclude that Plotinus's mysticism is the centerpiece of his philosophy, and that his mystical experiences are what guide the rest of his thought and writing. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: PHILOSOPHY Accession No: AAI9989626

Title: Saying and unsaying mysticism: The problem of defining mysticism in the social sciences

Author(s): Fitzpatrick, Sean Joseph Degree: M.A. Year: 2000 Pages: 00082 Institution: Rice University; 0187 Source: MAI, 38, no. 05 (2000): p. 1181 Standard No: ISBN: 0-599-74032-9

Abstract: The use of "mysticism" and "mystic" as analytical terms in the social sciences is found to be problematic. Through an overview of current attempts to define the terms and a discussion of the use of the terms by representative theorists (Max Weber in sociology; Jacques Lacan in psychology) in examinations of representative "mystics" (Teresa of Avila and Meister Eckhart), the difficulties inherent in speaking psychologically and sociologically about mysticism are made clear. The identification of individuals as mystics is always tied to a political, economic, religious, and linguistic context. Any attempt to isolate elements common to an uses of the label "mystical" must take into account the motivations and cultural contexts of those who apply the labels as well as the differences in social contexts between mystical texts. Abandonment of use of the term would be premature; a better descriptive understanding may appear through an apophatic process of describing what mysticism is not. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: RELIGION, GENERAL RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY OF SOCIOLOGY, THEORY AND METHODS Accession No: AAI1399263

Title: George William Russell (AE), 1867--1935: Anglo-Irish spokesman

Author(s): Lane, Leeann Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2000 Pages: 00332 Institution: Boston College; 0016 Advisor: Adviser Kevin O'Neill Source: DAI, 61, no. 07A (2000): p. 2875 Standard No: ISBN: 0-599-88130-5

Abstract: A critical study of the Anglo-Irish poet, journalist and agricultural co-operator, AE, the dissertation examines his reactions to social, economic and political change in late nineteenth, early twentieth century Irish society. The dissertation examines his turn to the alternative religion of Theosophy in the late 1880s and argues that his thesophical beliefs underpinned his commitment towards agricultural co-operation in Ireland. AE's concern to better the social, economic and cultural life of the Irish farmer by fostering agricultural co-operation in the rural districts allowed him to live out his Theosophical beliefs. However, despite AE's concern to promote the brotherhood of man he was primarily concerned to better the life of the small farmer and an examination of his editorials in the Irish Homestead show him to be opposed to the larger farmer who he viewed negatively as a member of the rising middle-class in early twentieth century Ireland. The large farmer, together with the gombeenman, was presented as the source of ill in the Irish countryside. AE's focus on the small farmer, his obvious dislike of the large farmer and his furious and sustained attacks on the gombeenman were an indication of his discomfort with the new configuration of social, economic and political power in late nineteenth, early twentieth century Irish society. Throughout his writings AE stressed the uncultured aspects of the Irish middle-class, often contrasting their, as he argued, lack of cultural achievement with the glory of the Anglo-Irish contribution to Irish literature and the arts in general. In particular this new middle-class was Catholic and thus AE's sense of the uncreative nature of Irish Catholicism coalesced with his hatred of middle-class materialism and lack of culture. Through rural reconstruction and agricultural co-operation AE desired to create a new role for the Anglo-Irish who had been relegated to the fringes of Irish society by the end of the nineteenth century. Recreated as an aristocracy of intellect and character the Anglo-Irish would establish themselves as the leaders of rural Ireland. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: HISTORY, EUROPEAN LITERATURE, ENGLISH BIOGRAPHY Accession No: AAI9981619

Title: God's warrior lover: The via mistica of George Herbert's "Temple" and Teresa of Avila's "Interior Castle"

Author(s): Skivington, Gretchen Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2000 Pages: 00228 Institution: University of California, Davis; 0029 Advisor: Adviser Juliana Schiesari Source: DAI, 61, no. 07A (2000): p. 2702 Standard No: ISBN: 0-599-86751-5

Abstract: The via mistica or Mystic Way to God in the Western Christian tradition is a three part path of revelation and love between God and the human soul which reflects the conversion of the divided self or first Adam into the God-Self or new man through Christ's sacrifice and example. This classic trajectory through the via purgativa, illuminative and unitiva is also indicative of the psychological journey of the self at midlife as described by Carl Jung which in turn mimics the archetypal quest of the Western hero. George Herbert's poem sequence, The Temple, and Teresa of Ávila's spiritual travelogue, The Interior Castle, are poetic and psycho-spiritual constructions of the via mistica in which the miles Christi or warrior of God and the amicitias-sponsa Christi or lover unite at the imaginative center of a diamond and a heart in the mystical coniunctio with God within a sacred temple and a magical castle. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: LITERATURE, COMPARATIVE LITERATURE, ENGLISH LITERATURE, ROMANCE RELIGION, GENERAL Accession No: AAI9980545

Title: Holy dread: The theology of supernatural literature

Author(s): Potter, Pliny Aaron Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2000 Pages: 00274 Institution: University of California, Riverside; 0032 Advisor: Chairs Robert Essick George Haggerty Source: DAI, 61, no. 06A (2000): p. 2314 Standard No: ISBN: 0-599-83754-3

Abstract: Throughout the nineteenth century, many British authors reflected the growing dissatisfaction with the established church, and expressed the desire for an alternative foundation for spiritual and moral value in their works. Supernatural literature provided a site wherein they might interrogate traditional religious authorities, and suggest spiritual paradigms more relevant to the challenges of the age. Familiar supernatural signifiers were engaged in works such as "Christabel" and Dracula in order to dispute the traditionally privileged nature of orthodox religious discourse, even as the very artificiality of the supernatural genre allowed authors to utilize traditional religious metaphors to explore decidedly untraditional approaches to metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, and ethics. A side-effect of this admixture was the disassociation of religious signifiers from their original meanings, a process which effectively stripped them of their previous transcendent significance. The subsequent absence of a universal religious sensibility left the field open to a variety of previously suppressed discourses, such as mysticism and science, which then usurped the traditional roles of religion in literature and culture. Supernatural literature remains an essential site of theological speculation in Western culture, as authors and audiences pursue metanarratives which accommodate their spiritual needs. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: LITERATURE, ENGLISH RELIGION, GENERAL Accession No: AAI9977853

Title: The poetization of mystical constructs in the work of Novalis

Author(s): Freeman, Veronica Grace Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2000 Pages: 00243 Institution: University of Florida; 0070 Advisor: Chair Franz Futterknecht Source: DAI, 61, no. 06A (2000): p. 2318 Standard No: ISBN: 0-599-82348-8

Abstract: The poet Friedrich von Hardenberg, assuming the pen name Novalis when he joined the Jena circle in 1798, was venerated among his fellow artists for his keen perception, nostalgic evocative portrayal of moods, and fervent faith in the afterlife. Novalis and a number of influential interpreters (as does popular understanding of mysticism today) fuse the terms romanticism and mysticism to denote the unknown, secret and mysterious. The dissertation examines those constructs found in the romantic period typically given a mystical interpretation, based in part on their ineffability. As the constructs of self, home, and love are examined more closely, however, the difficulty in giving the romantic period a mystical interpretation becomes apparent when such issues as magical idealism, regressive tendencies, and a love of self arise. I suggest that in approaching these constructs in light of the mystical tradition, it is possible to argue that Novalis emits a mystical hue or flavor without being grounded in the practice. The romantics and mystics share a common goal of a return to original union, yet the path to wholeness led them down separate roads which, it may be argued, converged only linguistically. Couching my argument in the work of the contemporary philosopher Ken Wilber, who synthesizes western and eastern thought to offer a uniform scale of the levels of consciousness from its evolutionary beginning to the most evolved form of the transcendent levels attained by mystics, it becomes clear that metaphoric language must be examined within its tradition. The inward journey as depicted by the mystic is one which transforms as it evolves through stages of development from everyday consciousness through the spiritual (as heightened sensual sensitivity) through the self to the experience of no self which is pure potential. The romantic envisions this union poetically within the self, setting romantic consciousness at a different level than that of the authentic mystic. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: LITERATURE, GERMANIC Accession No: AAI9976537

Title: The embers of antiquity: The wartime political philosophy of Simone Weil

Author(s): Emery, Mark Thomas Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2000 Pages: 00202 Institution: Yale University; 0265 Advisor: Director Steven B. Smith Source: DAI, 61, no. 05A (2000): p. 2014 Standard No: ISBN: 0-599-79090-3

Abstract: Simone Weil's "wartime" reflections on politics, from around the time of her mystic conversion in 1938 until her death in 1943, contain the elements for an important critique of the place of spirituality in modern nation-states. I argue that Weil's chief contribution to political philosophy is her effort to show that politics and mysticism can share a part in authoring a "rooted" society that delivers justice to its most afflicted members. Many commentators argue that in her last years Weil surrendered hope for effective political action, or failed to offer concrete proposals for political reform in her late writings. I show that she did, in fact, offer an extensive set of proposals, balanced on the reform of republican institutions and the reorganization of labor into a form of medieval syndicalism. She insisted that these institutional changes be infused with a particular account of the human condition drawn from Greek epic, tragedy and certain strains of Christianity. This ancient line of inspiration counsels the moderate use of force and a stoic disposition toward fate. She elevated this Greek conception of justice against the liberal values of rights, personality and democracy, and Roman-style adoration of state power. Weil's stature as a political thinker will not be raised until her thought is subjected to a strong criticism, which would sort out the elements that can be brought together to form a coherent voice in today's political debates. This is what I begin to do by showing that while Weil's insertion of mysticism into the life of modern nation-states is defensible, there are serious shortcomings in her thought due to her failure to philosophize adequately about the middle strata of politics. In this strata individuals, as part of their mystical ascent, act to form traditions of inquiry and public practice and to make the values of mysticism into legitimate, authoritative public values. I build on Weil's thought by proposing an account of political action in which the claims of mysticism are opened up to critical public scrutiny. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: POLITICAL SCIENCE, GENERAL PHILOSOPHY RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY OF Accession No: AAI9973682

Title: H. Rider Haggard and the Victorian occult

Author(s): McIntire, Janet Elizabeth Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2000 Pages: 00132 Institution: Northeastern University; 0160 Advisor: Adviser Francis Blessington Source: DAI, 61, no. 02A (2000): p. 621

Abstract: In themes of spiritualism, Zulu magic, and oriental mysticism that both subvert and support colonialism, H. Rider Haggard depicts British subjects in foreign settings in three novels of the late nineteenth century: King Solomon's Mines, Nada the Lily, and She. Haggard's best known novels were written at the height of British imperialism, when England was exporting its language and culture to its colonies, and inadvertently showing its colonized its methods of advantage and rule which the colonized ultimately appropriated for themselves. Although an avowed imperialist, Haggard's fiction nevertheless demonstrates his empathy for this appropriation, and the occult is the medium through which his subtle subversions of empire, gender and race are presented. In a discourse of the Victorian occult, supported by material from Haggard's diaries and autobiography, this project shows Haggard assigning his fictional Africans supernatural power, and focusing on their imperial tendencies. Informed by his experiences in the seance parlors of late nineteenth-century London, and his apprenticeship as a British civil servant in England's Government House in Natal, Haggard's quest romances demonstrate not only how much the occult was an obsession among colonial Victorians, but also how much race and gender, when privileged by the occult, contributed to colonial attitudes and prejudices about Britain's colonized. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: LITERATURE, ENGLISH HISTORY, AFRICAN HISTORY, EUROPEAN Accession No: AAI9962496

Title: Deviant orthodoxy: A social and cultural history of ilusos and alumbrados in colonial Mexico

Author(s): Jaffary, Nora Elizabeth Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2000 Pages: 00401 Institution: Columbia University; 0054 Advisor: Adviser Herbert S. Klein Source: DAI, 60, no. 12A (2000): p. 4567

Abstract: This dissertation is an examination of the history of ilusos and alumbrados, two types of "false mystics" investigated by the Mexican inquisition during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In terms of sources, this study is based on the analysis of approximately one hundred inquisition trials as well as contemporary mystical and theological tracts and baroque religious artwork. This thesis considers the phenomena of iluminismo and alumbradismo from the perspective of both accusers and accused. It uncovers the basis upon which the officials of the Holy Office drew distinctions between authentic and false mystics, asserting that such distinctions had very little to do with their scrutiny of ilusos' and alumbrados' religious experiences, and much more to do with assessments about the nature and quality of the people who claimed to have experienced them. In particular, the officers of the inquisition in colonial Mexico, as this dissertation shows, were concerned with qualifying suspects according to notions of acceptable social, moral and gendered behaviour. Although regarded as deviants by the inquisition, this thesis argues that the accused parties themselves did not consider their practices to be deviant or defiant in either religious or social terms. Rather, they were spiritual individuals who attempted, in their religious practices, to conform to notions of orthodox mysticism, and who desired to be accepted and revered by their societies. Despite their efforts to conform to normalcy, however, ilusos and alumbrados did engage in some unconventional religious practices. These elements of non-conformity, this work suggests, were the product of ilusos' and alumbrados' tendency to incorporate elements of their everyday lived realities into their mystical experiences and their religious ideas and practices. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: HISTORY, LATIN AMERICAN WOMEN'S STUDIES Accession No: AAI9956363