THE INNER EYE OF LOVE: Mysticism and Religion by William Johnston

THE INNER EYE OF LOVE: Mysticism and Religion

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A simple, readable, ecumenically-oriented survey of Christian mysticism. Johnston was the right man for this job, with solid credentials in both Catholic mystical theology (his last book dealt with The Cloud of Unknowing) and Oriental religion (he is a scholar at Sophia University in Tokyo). Framing his definition as broadly as possible, he sees mysticism as a response to a transcendent call which leads the initiate through an intellectual darkness to the ""great mystery."" The core of this mystery may be a personal God, as in classical monotheism, or an impersonal Tao. It may be approached through the baffling wisdom of a Zen koan or the folly of the Cross. But it always demands the radical emptying of self, and it always gives rise to active compassion for humanity. It begins in vision and ends in love. While granting the importance of prayer and ascetical discipline, Johnston follows Jesuit tradition in stressing that the believer chiefly encounters God in loving service of others. He recognizes the enormous cleft between Eastern and Western religious thought, but he marks off as much common ground as he can find. He presents various Christian mystics (St. Paul, Dionysius the Areopagite, John of the Cross, etc.) in a conciliatory light, emphasizing the ""universal"" implications of their teaching. For all his ecumenical spirit, however, Johnston sadly neglects--in fact, he barely mentions--Protestant and Jewish mysticism. Otherwise, an attractive and knowledgeable introduction to the subject.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1978
ISBN: 0823217787
Publisher: Harper & Row