Navigating the Spirit and the Eschaton: Thinking Mysticism and History in the
Writings of Paul,
Luke and Julian of Norwich
Literature Review: 5-6.
Main Body: 7-31.
Summary and Conclusions: 32-33.
Bibliography and References: 34-36.
This paper is concerned with the nature of prophecy and revelation within scholarship which covers mystical experience and Christianity. It is specifically concerned with the ways in which the New Testament writings of the early church can be seen to manifest a fundamental tension between an affirmation of divine authority and revelation and the continuing fact of earthly history. The first section will therefore demonstrate how this can be seen to be case in relation to two key New Testament writers: Luke and Paul. It will consider the Gospel of Luke, his Acts of the Apostles and Paul's epistles in order to determine the relationship which all of these texts bear to conceptions of Spirit, revelation and the differing ways in which this relationship is reflected in and mediated by their conception of prophecy. It will argue that the relationship which is born to prophecy in each of the writers can be seen to be direct reflection of relationship towards mystical experience. It will take substantial influence from David Aune's study 'Prophecy in Early Christianity.' It will also consider ontological questions which Aune leaves untouched. These questions emerge most forcefully Giorgio Agamben's and Jacob Taubes' complementary readings of Paul, which will be utilised in order to determine the ontological difference between Luke's writing of history and Paul's messianic prescription. The will argue that the dividing line between Luke and Paul is both an historical and an ontological one, and that this line can be thought by comparing two possible universals; one of world history and one of 'love' and the latter is fundamentally related to the mystical content of Paul's writing In doing this, the paper will explore an essential tension that can be glimpsed between the nature of mystical experience and the nature of a religion experience which seeks to qualify history and to place the Christian eschatological moment within a sequence of still unfolding events. In doing so it consult contemporary scholarship on Paul, most notably Daniel Boyarin's study which places the Saint within a post-structuralist content and draws attention to both his affirmation of an unchanged world politics and also of mystical experience. By doing this, the dissertation will argue that the potential for mystical union is touched upon in Paul's writing however, as a direct result of the general tension between the simultaneously fulfilled and unfulfilled nature of the worldly eschaton, it remains largely not actualised. The paper will then consider the nature of the revelation of Paul as it stands in opposition and comparison to the status of revelation which appeared in the writing of Julien of Norwich. By demonstrating that the latter mystical revelation functions according to a fundamentally different ontological structure than either Paul or Luke, this dissertation will show how mystical experience has the potential to overcome structures of gender and oppression which, although their removal is hinted at in sections of Paul's writing, are nonetheless resistant throughout the history of Christianity. It will conclude by arguing that this movement is achieved through the internalisation of the eschaton as a condition of possibility for the continuation of history, rather than by posting it as teleological end point to a continuing historical narrative.
(ii) Literature Review
In order to conduct this investigation I...
References: Agamben, Giorgio. The Times That Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans. Translated by Patricia Daily. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005.
Aune, David E
William B. Freedsman, 1983.
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. London: Routledge, 2006.
Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Translated by Gayatri Spivak. New York: John Hopkins University Press, 1998.
Hill, David. New Testament Prophecy. London: Marshall, 1979.
Inge, W. R. Christian Mysticism. London: Methuen, 1899.
Houston, Graham. Prophecy Now. Leicester: Inter Varsity Press, 1989.
Julian of Norwich
Pelphrey, Brant. “Leaving the Womb of Christ: Love and Doomsday and Space / Time in Julian of Norwich and Eastern Orthodox Mysticism.” Julian of Norwich: A Book of Essays. Edited by Sandra J. McEntire. London: Routledge, 1998. 291-321.
Taubes, Jacob. The Political Theology of Paul. Translated by Dana Hollander. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004.
Reicke, Bo. The Gospel of Luke. Translated by R. Makenzie,Richmond. Vancouver.: KnoxPress, 1964
Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by Talcott Parsons. London, 2001.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document