Platonic Mysticism: Contemplative Science, Philosophy, Literature, and Art. [Series in Western Esoteric Traditions, ed. David Appelbaum] Albany: State University of New York Press, 2017. PP. 132; notes, bibliography and index, 133-63. ISBN 978-1-4384-6633-0 $ 80.00Arthur Versluis’ brief but powerful, comprehensive and very accessible book (Introduction, 8 Chapters, and Conclusion) is a major contribution to the history and interpretation of Platonic mysticism and a much needed corrective to the tendency to dismiss Platonism in all its forms that has been growing steadily over the past 100-200 years.The word ‘mysticism’ has virtually become synonymous with delusion or airy-fairy nonsense in much contemporary discourse, particularly in the study of religion, philosophy, psychology. Arthur Versluis prefers some other variants such as ‘contemplative science,’ ‘mindfulness’ etc. that have less baggage than the word ‘mysticism’, but since the word mysticism emphasizes direct inner spiritual knowledge of the transcendence of subject and object, he accepts the necessity of the term and argues that unless we recognize the fundamental importance of its Platonic history and context, the term ‘mysticism’ as a descriptor becomes intellectually incoherent.In his Introduction, Versluis first makes clear that by ‘mysticism’ he refers broadly to “religious experiences corresponding to the direct cognition of
International Journal of the Platonic Tradition – Brill
Published: Apr 20, 2018
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