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Qumran And The Genealogy Of Western Mysticism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter sets out two linked theses. The first is that the evidence that has accumulated for the existence of mysticism in the Qumran community is now substantial and compelling. The second is that the type of mysticism attested at Qumran, for which one could cautiously borrow the later Christian term angelikos bios, somehow fed into not only later Jewish but also later Christian mysticism, and this puts Qumran firmly into the genealogy of the western mystical tradition. There are two ways in which we can identify mysticism at Qumran. The first is indicatively. We can attempt to show that certain Dead Sea texts contain such close parallels in thought, terminology and praxis to other texts universally deemed mystical as to be plausibly placed in the same category. Secondly, can we find anything at Qumran which would conform to an acceptable abstract definition of mysticism?.

Keywords: angelikos bios; Christian; Dead Sea texts; Jewish; Qumran; western mystical tradition



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