To express the inexpressible : poetry as philosophy within mystical discourse Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/zc77sv31j

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  • Within this thesis, I posit that poetry, rather than philosophical argument, is a more effective means of expressing and understanding the nature of mystical experiences. William James’ analysis of mysticism inspires the theoretical approach utilized in this thesis. An analysis of the unique qualities of poetic language within mystical discourse is given. Cross-cultural mysticism between Abrahamic and Buddhist religious traditions is analyzed, along with a comparative exegesis of mystical poets from these traditions. Theologian Ursula King’s feminist critique of mysticism informs the discussion of feminine mysticism, which transitions into an analysis of female mystical poets. Proceeding from the creatively novel usage of language employed by the mystical poets throughout this thesis, I conclude that the “transrational” quality of mystical experiences is more suited for poetic language. Poetic language is a meditative exercise within the context of mystical literature, because rather than pedantically leading to a conclusion via argumentation, this language intends to invoke a profound experience within the reader.
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