Pike's "Mystic Union" and the Possibility of Theistic Experience

Religious Studies 30 (2):231 - 242 (1994)
Abstract
In his long-awaited Mystic Union , Nelson Pike offers a phenomenology of mysticism. His account is based on the reports and descriptions of third parties, not on his own, first-person experience. So he calls his enterprise ‘phenomenography’, an attempt to describe the experiential content of conscious states by way of reports of them. Pike finds in the Christian mystical tradition three different kinds of experiences of mystic union, the ‘prayer of quiet’, the ‘prayer of union’ and ‘rapture’. These experiences differ phenomenologically, i.e. in experiential content. But they are all ‘theistic’ experiences; that is, they are all phenomenologically of God. By this Pike means: whether these experiences are veridical or not, their object – what they are veridical or hallucinatory experiences of – is God; and that they are of God is part of, or given in, the phenomenological content of the experiences themselves
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