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Publisher's Summary

Each of the great three Abrahamic religious traditions holds the seeds for deep mystical contemplation. But what do most of us know about these mystics and the tradition they sustained? Explore this spiritual, literary, and intellectual heritage in these great faiths of the West as it unfolds over three millennia with these 36 enlightening, thought-provoking lectures that offer nearly unprecedented access to these seldom-studied traditions. By laying the mystical traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam side by side, Professor Johnson offers a unique opportunity to compare and contrast the many forms of religious experience in the West. Starting with the most ancient texts of the Hebrew Bible, Professor Johnson traces the emergence, growth, and persistence of mystical thought in many countries and in many ages. Bringing together the disciplines of philosophy, history, literature, and religious studies, these lectures offer a nuanced and insightful examination of Western spirituality-one that contributes not only to a fuller understanding of our religious traditions, but to our shared culture and history as well.

As you examine the mystical experience, you'll see how, again and again, Western mystics have sought the answers to a few fundamental questions: What is the nature of reality? What is the relationship between humankind and the divine? Can human beings ever attain full knowledge of creation? What emerges from exploring these potent spiritual and intellectual questions is a picture of Western mysticism as diverse, multifaceted, and ever-developing.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

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  • Peter
  • Australia
  • 27-04-2017

Totally engaging on a difficult topic

Loved it, but it took quite some concentration to get through it all. Definitely worth the effort and I will be re-listening yet again soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 06-03-2017

Powerful perspective

The course gives a powerful perspective of the three major monotheistic religions. It is very balanced and extremely respectful.
As a member of one of these mystical traditions, it was thrilling to hear about the other traditions, to witness the similarities and differences, but mostly feel great respect to fellow members of mystical traditions. It was also interesting to hear about my own tradition in a broad perspective.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jason Cherniak
  • 10-11-2015

Good for the topic

This is a good overview of more religious people in the three religions. Best to think of it as an historical perspective of mysticism, which is what I wanted.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Hike
  • 06-08-2018

Very Good History of Mystics

This is a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening survey of the history, development and teachings within the Mystic tradition of these three world religions. I was amazed (enjoyed) the similarity of experience of each faith's mystics as well as each's different perspective on the mystic experience.

This was one of the best descriptions of "Mysticism" from a person who is not a mystic. Dr. Johnson does a good job describing a mystic without rendering his own judgement on mystic. This is someone that I rarely see in the other critiques of mystic. Even some mystic define mysticism to narrowly and if every other mystic has to conform to their image or trod their path. For a non-mystic to give an unbiased and honest characterization is refreshing to me. If all historians and theologians took Dr. Johnson's approach there would be a great understanding and acceptance of mystics and mysticism -- all a lot fewer dead mystics.

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about mysticism.

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  • Ben
  • 04-05-2016

I was looking for a thorough explanation

What I got was just quotation from the various people without much explanation of what the specific quotes meant.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Talal
  • 04-05-2017

Some wrong information

Some information is wrong as the location of kufa which is in Iraq not in Iran

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Tommy
  • 07-06-2017

Indoctrination?

While the Christian and Jewish segments we're direct and informative, I felt that the section on Islam tilted into the realm of indoctrination and fawning upon the beauty and insights. I would not recommend to any of my friends.

1 of 11 people found this review helpful