Pamphlet 37: ‘The Mystery of Mysticism’, Jan Arriens, Prof. Chris Cooke, Dr Sharada Sugirtharajah, Dr Alinda Damsma, 2017

This pamphlet contains four papers given to the 2017 Annual Conference of the Quaker Universalist Group on the subject of mysticism. They cover aspects of mysticism as experienced and understood by speakers from different faith traditions. Each talk is well-referenced with pointers towards further reading.

Jan Arriens, a Quaker, considers what is meant by mystical experiences, with illustrations from everyday life, and considers how these experiences might be understood within modern concepts and scientific knowledge.

Professor Chris Cooke, an Anglican priest and Consultant Psychiatrist in the NHS, looks at different aspects of Christian mysticism as illustrated by three historic Christian mystics, and goes on to consider how mysticism might relate to experiences that today would be described in psychiatric terms.

Dr Sharada Sugirtharajah, a Hindu and Honorary Senior Research Fellow in theology and religion at the University of Birmingham, richly illustrates her descriptions of mysticism within the Hindu tradition with examples from Hindu texts.

Dr Alinda Damsma, a Jewish scholar at Leo Baeck College, outlines aspects of mysticism that are of particular relevance to the Jewish tradition and considers in particular whether the notion of a mystical union with God

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