Mysticism has been defined as a union with God, the Divine, or the Absolute. In the Mysticism Diploma Course, we explore mysticism in various religions, the forms it takes, how it is experienced, and how scholars define mysticism.
The Mysticism Diploma Course begins with an introduction to the union with the Divine, religious ecstasies and intuitive insight and enlightenment. From there, we take a look at three Greco-Roman religious mysteries, namely, Eleusinian, Samothracian and Dionysian mysteries, before looking into mysticism in various religions.
We’ll explore the basic definition of mysticism in the context of Christianity and the history of Christian mysticism, focusing on early and Eastern Christianity. The nature and characteristics of Jewish mysticism are discussed, along with the Judaic context of mysticism, the various types of Jewish mysticism and the earlier developmental stages of Jewish mysticism. We’ll dive into the basic concepts of Sufism, the history of Sufism and Sufi practice and thought, and the general nature of Hinduism, the five tensile strands and philosophical texts. We also consider the Sant tradition and the differences between the tradition’s two major strands; Sikhism, its brief history and basic doctrines; and Buddhism, its history, fundamentals and branches.
British academic Robert Charles Zaehner separated mysticism into three main categories, each of which are covered in the course. We’ll learn about theistic mysticism and its basic philosophy; monistic mysticism and how it differs from theistic mysticism; and panenhenic mysticism and how it differs from its monistic and theistic counterparts.
We’ll look into the characteristics of mystical experiences, the possible triggers of non-spontaneous mystical experiences, and examples of mystical experiences based on true stories.
The course concludes with a look at how scholars explain the various types of mysticism; perennialism, contextualism and constructionism; and how spiritual neuroscience views mysticism.