Christian Communities in the Middle East
Jerusalem University College
Dr. Petra Heldt
October 27, 2003
"Mystical Theology"

I.   Mystical theology = spiritually = doctrinal attitude - these will all be used interchangeably depending on how you talk to
A.   In the west we have mystics and theologians and they are very separate
B.   In the orthodox understanding, theology and mysticism must go together because the two support each other
1.   If you have mysticism with out theology it can just go crazy
2.   If you have theology with out mysticism it is just philosophy and there is a huge gift of God that one is missing
3.   The combination of these two "types" of a personality is really what the church needs and in the east they were never separated
II.   Deification (lit. theosis)
A.   Today (New Age): the act of becoming God on your own meditation, strength, or power
B.   Mysticism definition: the act of becoming closer to God so that essentially you are becoming closer to what you were created to be (the image of God)
1.   Mystical theology is not interested primarily in having knowledge of God
2.   Mystical theology is primarily concerned with being drawn closer to God and the character He developed us to be
III.   Orthodox theology (mystical theology) is not interesting in mystical psychology
IV.   Pseudo-Dionysius theology
A.   Dionysius is the author although little is known about him
1.   He claims he is a student of Paul's - but that is questionable
2.   His work were first quoted from Pope Gregory the Great
B.   Two types of theology
1.   Cataphotic theology - positive way of thinking
a.   West - everything that happens we try to integrate into our lives - therefore we want it to be a "positive" integration
b.   Knowledge is usually sought above all else
2.   Apophatic theology - negative way of thinking
a.   Proceeding by negations
b.   East - it take proceeding by negations to know the unknowable
c.   Pseudo-Dionysius 977B, "Amid the wholly unsensed and unseen they completely fill our sightless minds with treasures beyond all beauty."
d.   Getting closer to God
i.   Knowledge - the 1st level - with only knowledge you have nothing
ii.   Purity
iii.   Catharsis
i.   The process of purification of complete change towards God's will
ii.   The result is penitence
iv.   Ecstasy
v.   Apathy
i.   Stillness, deep contentment (it doesn't matter if this is ugly, or this hurts, etcÉ)
ii.   Not apathy like modern apathy which basically says, "I don't care"
e.   Prayer of the heart
i.   Hesychasm
ii.   Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner