THRS 324 – JEWISH AND ISLAMIC MYSTICISM
How have Jews and Muslims understood and articulated mystical experiences, their most intimate encounters with ultimate realities, God, and/or God’s messengers (e.g., angels)? What are the distinctive features of Jewish Mysticism? What are the particular characteristics of Islamic Mysticism? What are their shared elements? What are their areas of ideological and experiential contact? What are examples of when these distinct traditions have conflicted or collaborated with one another? How is it accurate, meaningful or fruitful to speak of a creative symbiosis between Islam and Judaism? What are the advantages and limits to the comparative method when analyzing God? Can God be understood through a single lens only or is the comparative method incumbent upon all who study mysticism? What are the social, political and spiritual implications of the historical interactions, intersections and transformations we observe in the evolution of these so-called Abrahamic mystical traditions? This seminar will approach these questions through a broad exploration of primary texts in translation and scholarly commentaries.