The divine liturgy as mystical experience

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3 Scopus citations


Most characterizations of mystical experience emphasize its private, esoteric, and non-sensory nature. Such an understanding is far removed from the original meaning of the term mystikos. For the ancient Greeks, the 'mystical' was that which led participants into the awareness of a higher reality, as in the initiatory rites of the ancient mystery cults. This usage was taken over by the early Church, which similarly designated the Christian sacraments and their rites as 'mystical' because they draw participants into a higher level of reality. I argue that the Divine Liturgy is a form of 'mystical experience' in this sense, and that philosophers have missed a great deal by excluding such communal acts from the scope of mystical experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-151
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal for Philosophy of Religion
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 European Journal for Philosophy of Religion.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Philosophy


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