Reframing Spirituality and Mysticism in Past and Present
01 / 2006 - unknown
Website Radboud Universiteit
In present-day Western societies, marked as they are by religious pluralism and interreligious interaction, recent decades have seen growing interest in spirituality and mysticism, not only within the historical religions but also outside these traditional settings, in the so-called secular quest in new religious movements, alternative circuits and secular contexts. These developments profoundly transformed not only the socio-cultural manifestation of spirituality and mysticism, but also scholarly awareness of the inner structure of spirituality and mysticism as phenomena and processes, and their relatedness to texts, material objects, images, histories, practices and theoretical presuppositions. These transformations are awaiting thorough scholarly reflection that is not limited to the traditional intra-disciplinary approach of, for instance, spiritual theology or church history, but is open to interdisciplinary strategy as well, given the growing diversity of scholarly reflections in other disciplines. To promote such fundamental reflection the research cluster or sub-programme, Reframing spirituality and mysticism past and present , aims at reframing scholarly research into spirituality and mysticism in order to describe and understand these phenomena more adequately. So the objective of the cluster is renewal on two levels. On the substantive level it aims at a new, clearer, both more cohesive and more sophisticated understanding of the phenomena of spirituality and mysticism. On the methodological level it aims at multilateral, interdisciplinary study of these phenomena, unrestricted by the traditional boundaries of scholarly disciplines. In the research cluster there is close cooperation between researchers in the faculties of theology and religious studies and of the two para-university institutes, the Titus Brandsma Institute and the Institute of Eastern Christian Studies. The research cluster, Reframing spirituality and mysticism past and present , proposes drafting a new scientific design for approaching the phenomena of spirituality and mysticism. This process of redefinition implies interdisciplinary cooperation and forms of expertise that approach the phenomena of spirituality and mysticism on different levels: experts in describing and interpreting forms and structures of spirituality and mysticism (vocabulary, spiritual objects and material culture, imagery, texts and interpretation, history and processes) but also specialists in systematic reflection and meta-reflection (theories, disciplines, professions). In this research cluster the different levels (the phenomena of spirituality and mysticism) and perspectives (the cooperating disciplines) crystallise in nine interrelated dimensions, presenting the multifaceted phenomena (dimensions 1-6) and the systematic reflections (dimensions 7-9). These are integrated in the research strategy of a new digital encyclopaedia of spirituality, understood as an interactive body of knowledge and learning (dimension 10).