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Analytic TheologyNew Essays in the Philosophy of Theology$
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Oliver D. Crisp and Michael C. Rea

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199203567

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199203567.001.0001

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Dark Contemplation and Epistemic Transformation

Dark Contemplation and Epistemic Transformation

The Analytic Theologian Re‐Meets Teresa of Ávila

(p.280) 14 Dark Contemplation and Epistemic Transformation
Analytic Theology

Sarah Coakley (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the mystical writings of St Teresa of Ávila with an eye to providing certain correctives to analytic appropriations of St Teresa's work. It begins with a playful feminist analysis of some of the most important turns to religious experience in analytic philosophy of religion in recent decades, which lead on, in the light of a feminist critique, to an analysis of how Teresa's project might suggest how contemplative practice (as opposed to passing religious experiences) could help provide justification for certain sorts of theistic claim, and what role an apophatic sensibility would play in such a move. This final chapter not only attempts to extend some of the main moves made by William Alston in his Perceiving God in such a new way, but also responds to Alston's own recent attempt to press his epistemological project in this apophatic direction. It is argued that Alston's new ‘turn’ has considerable potential, but one still in need of further development and critique.

Keywords:   religious experience, analytic philosophy, analytic theology, feminism, contemplative practice, William Alston

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