The Darkness of God

Negativity in Christian Mysticism

The Darkness of God

For the medieval mystical tradition, the Christian soul meets God in a "cloud of unknowing," a divine darkness of ignorance. This meeting with God is beyond all knowing and beyond all experiencing. Mysticisms of the modern period, on the contrary, place "mystical experience" at the center, and contemporary readers are inclined to misunderstand the medieval tradition in "experientialist" terms. Denys Turner argues that the distinctiveness and contemporary relevance of medieval mysticism lies precisely in its rejection of "mystical experience," and locates the mystical firmly within the grasp of the ordinary and the everyday. The argument covers some central authorities in the period from Augustine to John of the Cross.


"This book lives up to its dust-jacket billing as a `timely and important' and `exciting' book..." Theological Studies

"[Turner's] prose is clear and precise, and he has a gift for finding good analogical examples for explaining difficult distinctions." Kent Emery, Jr.; Speculum

"This book is rich in lucid exposition, critical analysis, and useful understanding. It is essential and enjoyable reading for anyone who wants to know more about medieval mysticism." Alan R. Perreiah, Lexington Theological Quarterly

'… important, challenging, well-argued and convincing.' The Heythrop Journal

'… one of the finest books I have read in a long time.' The Expository Times

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