Comparative Mysticism and the Problem of Interpretation: Rumi and Meister Eckhart

Since the second half of the nineteenth century, modern comparative studies of mysticism have generally adopted one of two divergent approaches. One group, generally labeled as essentialist or phenomenologist, has used comparative methodology in order to highlight the commonalities between different...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Islam and Christian-Muslim relations
Main Author: Zarrabi-Zadeh, Saeed
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Taylor & Francis [2015]
In: Islam and Christian-Muslim relations
Year: 2015, Volume: 26, Issue: 3, Pages: 287-306
RelBib Classification:AG Religious life; material religion
BJ Islam
CC Christianity and Non-Christian religion; Inter-religious relations
KAF Church history 1300-1500; late Middle Ages
TG High Middle Ages
Further subjects:B Meister Eckhart
B comparative mysticism
B practical mysticism
B Rumi
B Sufism
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
Description
Summary:Since the second half of the nineteenth century, modern comparative studies of mysticism have generally adopted one of two divergent approaches. One group, generally labeled as essentialist or phenomenologist, has used comparative methodology in order to highlight the commonalities between different mystics or mystical traditions, hence establishing universal structures and essential meanings from what seem to be overlapping aspects. The other group has been termed, inter alia, constructivist, particularly since the last third of the twentieth century, and it has used comparison as a tool for accentuating the distinctions between mystical systems and demonstrating how dissimilar backgrounds lead to the construction of differing mystical constructs. Avoiding overemphasis on either affinities or distinctions, this article suggests an alternative methodology, which utilizes comparison in highlighting the specific characters, central themes and focal points of its object of study. Applying this method to the practical mysticism of Jalal al-Din Rumi vis-à-vis that of Meister Eckhart demonstrates how comparison can be appropriately used as an apparatus of clarification and comprehension rather than as a device for imposition or reduction - as a “mirror” rather than as a “mold.”
ISSN:1469-9311
Contains:Enthalten in: Islam and Christian-Muslim relations
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1080/09596410.2015.1018721