Mystical Theology and Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Volume II

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Theologies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2023) | Viewed by 10551

Special Issue Editor

Department of History, Patrimony and Protestant Theology, University “Lucian Blaga” of Sibiu, 550024 Sibiu, Romania
Interests: spirituality and mysticism; ecumenical dialogue; Muslim-Christian dialogue; Chiara Lubich; human rights between East and West; human dignity and poverty; social inclusion of minorities, especially Roma people
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Muslim–Christian dialogue is a crucial issue in the contemporary world. Possible means for dialogue must be pursued on many levels, but dialogue can only be successful when religious experiences are taken seriously in their claim of truth. One form of religious expression which combines a strong connection to one's own tradition with genuine openness to dialogue is mysticism.

In 2022, a Special Issue of Religions (https://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions/special_issues/Mystical_Theology) has gathered a number of interesting contributions, but above all, has shown that there is still much to be explored. An experts’ conference in Sibiu/Romania in September 2022 showed, on the one hand, the potential for dialogue that lies in the study of mysticism in both religious traditions. On the other hand, a number of new questions have also arisen, both methodologically and in terms of content. Therefore, here, we present the call for a second volume on this topic in Religions.

Mystical theology, which is rooted in spiritual experience and is relatively free from the theology of power, could be a bridge of dialogue between Christianity and Islam, seeking common ground and shared values. It is open also to the possibility of reading the other’s traditions beyond apologetics or polemics, without avoiding dissension themes in Islamic–Christian dialogue. The experiences and writings of classical and modern mystics, both Muslim and Christian, could be possible bridges for Christian–Islamic dialogue. This issue invites researchers to reflect upon aspects, examples and systematic elaborations regarding mystical theology, analysing their potential for that dialogue.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Mystical Christian theology;
  • Mystical Muslim theology;
  • Comparative mystical theology;
  • Hermeneutics of mystical texts;
  • Epistemological implications of the term "mystical theology";
  • Personalities engaged in Muslim–Christian dialogue with an affinity for a mystical approach to faith;
  • Controversial topics of faith, read from the perspective of a mystical approach;
  • Mystical imaginary;
  • The mystical approach to the theology of religions.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Tobler
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • mysticism
  • Sufism
  • Islam
  • Christianity
  • Christology
  • hermeneutics
  • religious experience
  • interreligious dialogue, Muslim–Christian dialogue, mystical theology

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

13 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
Charismatic Embeddedness: A Cultural Starting Mechanism Generating Relational Goods in an Interreligious Field. An Analysis from Algeria
Religions 2024, 15(1), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel15010058 - 01 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1015
Abstract
This article, entering into the debate on the influence of cultural factors on social action, highlights how a charismatic inspiration, as part of religious culture, could represent a relevant element in social phenomena. In particular, this article proposes an analysis of the role [...] Read more.
This article, entering into the debate on the influence of cultural factors on social action, highlights how a charismatic inspiration, as part of religious culture, could represent a relevant element in social phenomena. In particular, this article proposes an analysis of the role of a specific charismatic inspiration, in relation to the spirituality of the Focolare Movement (FM), in the interreligious field thanks to the “embeddedness” of the social action of its members of different religions in a specific charismatic culture. The analysis aims to understand whether and how this mechanism works by observing a specific Catholic–Muslim phenomenon developed in Algeria since 1966, using an interdisciplinary perspective between sociology and history and the case-study strategy, discovering that what we define as “charismatic embeddedness” could work as a “starting mechanism” generating “interreligious relational goods”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mystical Theology and Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Volume II)
14 pages, 306 KiB  
Article
Pierre Claverie: Weakening the Truth—A Catholic Post-Conciliar Model of Understanding Religious Plurality
Religions 2023, 14(12), 1462; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14121462 - 27 Nov 2023
Viewed by 820
Abstract
Born into a pieds-noir family in Algeria in the first part of the 20th century, Pierre Claverie (1938–1996) realizes that he lived in a colonial bubble, completely ignoring the Algerian and Muslim realities. This “prise de conscience” will constitute the beginning of a [...] Read more.
Born into a pieds-noir family in Algeria in the first part of the 20th century, Pierre Claverie (1938–1996) realizes that he lived in a colonial bubble, completely ignoring the Algerian and Muslim realities. This “prise de conscience” will constitute the beginning of a deep mystical experience, a true process of “spiritual enlightenment” through which Claverie will try to re-establish himself in the lost meeting of his youth when he used to live in his “Western and Catholic bubble”. His theological path will also be an institutional one: he will become a Dominican monk and Catholic bishop of Orano. Inevitably, his desire to spiritually encounter the Algerian reality in its Muslim identity will make Pierre Claverie reflect on the tension present in the paradox of the concept of religious truth (absolutely unique and/or multiple?). His reflection on the uniqueness/pluralism of religious truth represents a model of post-conciliar theological understanding that is worth examining and that supports a very current approach in today’s religious and social world: understanding/accepting the truth of the other without the impression of betraying one’s own truth. This study aims to deepen the mystical theological reflection of Bishop Pierre Claverie, considered a martyr in the Catholic Church, with regards to the concept of religious truth. It also to tries to understand how this reflection fits into the Catholic theological line inaugurated by the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mystical Theology and Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Volume II)
16 pages, 625 KiB  
Article
Religions in al-Ḥarāllī’s Sufi Hermeneutics: An Apolemical Understanding of the Qurʾān
Religions 2023, 14(11), 1381; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14111381 - 02 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1271
Abstract
This article analyzes the three introductory epistles to Sufi hermeneutics written by al-Ḥarāllī, a mystic of Andalusian origin from the seventh/thirteenth century. According to this author, the objective of the Scriptures is to explain human beings to themselves. The revelation, received through a [...] Read more.
This article analyzes the three introductory epistles to Sufi hermeneutics written by al-Ḥarāllī, a mystic of Andalusian origin from the seventh/thirteenth century. According to this author, the objective of the Scriptures is to explain human beings to themselves. The revelation, received through a particular understanding called fahm, contains transformative knowledge that can change the life of the reader. In this foundational work, al-Ḥarāllī explains the relationship between the Qurʾān and preceding Scriptures, recognizing in the Qurʾān their unity and fulfillment. Dedicating the final chapter of the third epistle to the seven religions mentioned in the Qurʾān, which are, rather, ethical prototypes, he seeks to internalize the Qurʾānic critique expounded on each of these categories. In a reading that goes beyond polemics and offers significant elements to the Islamic theology of religions, al-Ḥarāllī demonstrates how the aim of the Qurʾānic narratives is not to present information about the past but rather to provide moral education for the Islamic community and the reader. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mystical Theology and Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Volume II)
12 pages, 707 KiB  
Article
The Divinity of Jesus and Ibn ʿArabī: A Study Based on Jesus’s Chapter in Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam
Religions 2023, 14(11), 1346; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14111346 - 24 Oct 2023
Viewed by 908
Abstract
The most impressive Muslim mystic, Muḥyī al-Dīn Ibn ʿArabī (d. 638/1240), devotes a chapter in his book Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam to Jesus. He emphasizes the divinity of Jesus and offers a distinctive viewpoint. In addition to two different expressions regarding Jesus’s divinity, by which [...] Read more.
The most impressive Muslim mystic, Muḥyī al-Dīn Ibn ʿArabī (d. 638/1240), devotes a chapter in his book Fuṣūṣ al-ḥikam to Jesus. He emphasizes the divinity of Jesus and offers a distinctive viewpoint. In addition to two different expressions regarding Jesus’s divinity, by which some deny this divinity and some affirm it, similar to the Bible’s differences, he specifically focuses on the duality of reality (taḥqīq) and illusion (tawahhum) in relation to Jesus. Accordingly, Ibn ʿArabī views the divinity of Jesus as related to his aspect of reality (the identity that emerged in his human form) and regards the denial of his divinity as related to his aspect of illusion (his human form). This research investigates Ibn ʿArabī’s views on the divinity of Jesus. It adds that the evidence confirming Jesus’s divinity is not based on the general theory of the unity of being but instead points directly to Jesus’s divinity. The epistemological position of Ibn ʿArabī toward the theory of the “indwelling (ḥulūl) of God in Jesus” is discussed in light of his significant phrases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mystical Theology and Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Volume II)
13 pages, 310 KiB  
Article
From Inter-Religious Dialogue to Intra-Religious Dialogue: An Original Perspective of André Scrima’s Thought
Religions 2023, 14(6), 756; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14060756 - 07 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1511
Abstract
André Scrima was confronted from the very beginning with the multifaceted reality of the religious phenomenon. To help us understand this reality, his theological approach can be compared to that of the reverse perspective in Byzantine art: the further away an object is, [...] Read more.
André Scrima was confronted from the very beginning with the multifaceted reality of the religious phenomenon. To help us understand this reality, his theological approach can be compared to that of the reverse perspective in Byzantine art: the further away an object is, the larger it becomes, and the closer it is, the smaller it becomes. From this perspective, the usual landmarks of knowledge are reversed, since it is the viewer who decides on the validity and truth of knowledge, and not the objective reality that would force adherence without any right to object. In theological terms, we could say that the ultimate significance of religious pluralism is not its outward manifestation nor the objectivity of its material data. In the final analysis, the person of faith brings their own experience into play as they decide on the truth of religions in general. The vanishing line no longer lies in the phenomenal exteriority of data but within each one. We will call this perspective intra-religious dialogue because, in addition to starting from the inner dimension of the experience of faith, it allows each of these experiences to reflect the “seeds of truth” that the Spirit scatters where it wills. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mystical Theology and Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Volume II)
15 pages, 272 KiB  
Article
Spirit, Word and Love: Insights of Pietro Rossano towards a Mystical Theology of the Christian-Muslim Dialogue
Religions 2023, 14(5), 635; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14050635 - 09 May 2023
Viewed by 843
Abstract
Pietro Rossano was an important protagonist of interreligious dialogue in the 20th century, serving for more than twenty years in the Vatican office in charge of this field. His experience and writings show how dialogue has many anthropological and theological dimensions and, because [...] Read more.
Pietro Rossano was an important protagonist of interreligious dialogue in the 20th century, serving for more than twenty years in the Vatican office in charge of this field. His experience and writings show how dialogue has many anthropological and theological dimensions and, because we are talking about an event between religious people, dialogue also has a mystical dimension. Rossano was very involved in the dialogue with Muslims, both in the theoretical study and in some meetings, like the one in Tripoli in 1976 and others. Spirit, Word and Love can be seen as the three keys to interpreting Rossano’s testimony in relation to the Bible, to dialogical thought—in particular, Ferdinand Ebner—and to the Christian theology of dialogue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mystical Theology and Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Volume II)
11 pages, 252 KiB  
Article
Baron Eric Hermelin—Translation and the Merge of Traditions; Encoding and Reception of Persian Sufi Poetry in 20th Century Sweden
Religions 2023, 14(4), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14040536 - 16 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1098
Abstract
The mysticism of the 19th and 20th centuries has often been perceived as a reaction towards the new fast, dense, and modern world. But is it not so that it thrives on the same material foundations, globalism, networks, and mass production of text, [...] Read more.
The mysticism of the 19th and 20th centuries has often been perceived as a reaction towards the new fast, dense, and modern world. But is it not so that it thrives on the same material foundations, globalism, networks, and mass production of text, that built our contemporary global information society? In this article, thoughts found in the writings of the Swedish mystic and translator Baron Eric Hermelin are analyzed. Hermelin was born into a Swedish noble aristocratic family in 1860. After traveling through the British Empire as a soldier in his youth, he returned to Sweden with books and knowledge. Unfortunately, he spent most of his remaining life incarcerated in the mental hospital St. Lars in the university town of Lund in the south of Sweden. But from the hospital, he released translations of Rumi, Khayyam, and other Persian mystics as well as reflections on Böhme and Swedenborg. The analysis will use Eric Hermelin’s work and focus on the process of creating and delivering the texts of the Persian Sufis to a Swedish audience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mystical Theology and Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Volume II)
17 pages, 329 KiB  
Article
“Gifts of Light”—Chiara Lubich’s Mystical Narrative with Hindus: An Analysis of a Hindu–Christian Dialogue Experience
Religions 2023, 14(4), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14040521 - 11 Apr 2023
Viewed by 954
Abstract
The present paper offers a presentation and a phenomenological analysis of a rather unusual event in the sphere of interreligious dialogue: a Catholic woman, the protagonist of a mystical experience, shared some of the traits of this experience with people of another culture [...] Read more.
The present paper offers a presentation and a phenomenological analysis of a rather unusual event in the sphere of interreligious dialogue: a Catholic woman, the protagonist of a mystical experience, shared some of the traits of this experience with people of another culture and religion. The protagonists of this experience include Chiara Lubich and a group of Hindus, some neo-Vedanta scholars and other social activists inspired by Gandhian philosophy and ideals. These pages represent an initial study of this case, which, at least so far, appears to be rather unique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mystical Theology and Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Volume II)
12 pages, 281 KiB  
Article
A Sociologist on the Contribution of Mystique and Theology in Interreligious Dialogue
Religions 2023, 14(3), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14030313 - 27 Feb 2023
Viewed by 800
Abstract
One of the spectacular changes in the Catholic Church in the 1960s was her positive judgement on the other religions, as transmitted by the texts of the second Vatican Council (1962–1965). A sociologist is by profession interested in the diverse processes of cultural [...] Read more.
One of the spectacular changes in the Catholic Church in the 1960s was her positive judgement on the other religions, as transmitted by the texts of the second Vatican Council (1962–1965). A sociologist is by profession interested in the diverse processes of cultural changes, and the birth of Catholic interreligious dialogue is therefore a very good case to study. For Catholics involved in interreligious dialogue, we can observe ideal-typically two attitudes at work that hinder a true dialogue between different religions: one is named ‘religious imperialism’ and the other is the contrary attitude, ‘religious indifferentism’. The present article studies how, in a crucial moment for the Catholic understanding of interreligious dialogue (around the year 2000), the mystical insights of Chiara Lubich (1920–2008), foundress of the Focolare Movement, alongside the theology of Piero Coda have made an interesting contribution to sustaining the process of change towards an always more convincing engagement in interreligious dialogue. In the context of the controversy on ‘Dominus Jesus’ (August 2000), they found a way to navigate between religious imperialism and religious indifferentism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mystical Theology and Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Volume II)
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