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Teaching Mysticism$
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William B. Parsons

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199751198

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199751198.001.0001

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Secrets in the Seats

Secrets in the Seats

The Erotic, the Paranormal, and the Free Spirit

(p.288) { 16 } Secrets in the Seats
Teaching Mysticism

Jeffrey J. Kripal

Oxford University Press

This chapter proceeds from the assumption that the direct personal experiences of the students inevitably constitute either the unspoken subtext or the creative context of a class on mysticism. The course provides an intellectual safe space through which the students can speak their own secrets and make some sense of them in relationship to their own cultural and religious traditions. The proposed class does so with respect to three main topics: mystical eroticism and sexuality, modern spirituality and the “free spirit,” and the paranormal. It provides the space within which one can meet students on a potentially deep level and speak with them about their own ambivalent relationships to all those historical realities that form the foundation and substance of a course on mysticism: tradition and text, ritual and doctrine, body and gender, scripture and religious authority, language and culture, orthodoxy and heterodoxy.

Keywords:   spirituality, mysticism, eroticism, paranormal, sexuality

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