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The Psychology of Mystical States
William James lays the groundwork
Although so similar to states of feeling, mystical states seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge. They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority.
William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience
According to Peter Tyler (The Return to the Mystical), psychologist William James’ classic work The Varieties of Religious Experience is the genesis of the “modern definition of mysticism.” Whereas this might be debated, James’s work certainly helped put the notion of mysticism back “on the map” within western intellectual circles.
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