Mysticism, Death and Dying

By Christopher Nugent

Subjects: New Age
Series: SUNY series in Western Esoteric Traditions
Paperback : 9780791422069, 142 pages, September 1994
Hardcover : 9780791422052, 142 pages, October 1994

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Table of contents


1. Initiation: The Mystery of Death


What is Mysticism?

Mysticism and Death

A Note on the Problem of Evil

The Wound of Love

Reflections to the Reader

Reflections on the Ecumenicity of Death

The Comedy of Resurrection

2. Illumination: Nocturne


Night and Negative Theology

St. John of the Cross

The Cloud of Unknowing

Negative Theology Reviewed

Prayer, Meditation, and Contemplation


The Prayer of Suffering, or Purgatory on Earth: St. Thérèse and Etty Hillesum

The Night is the Time of Salvation.

3. Immolation: The Sacrifice


The Sacrifice

Our Sacrifice and the Sacrifice of Christ

Purgatory on Earth: St. Catherine of Genoa and Caryll Houselander

Concluding Reflections: Glory.






This book charts the borderline between the nocturnal side of mysticism and the luminous side of death and it illuminates their paradoxical affinities. Within a culture of both denial and despair, it affirms the reality but not the finality of death. If what the generations have called the mystery of death is "the last enemy," a still more mysterious mysticism would anticipate, illuminate and disarm it, issuing in what "eyes have not seen, ears have not heard. " This work is contemporary in that it represents a creative and original appropriation of tradition, is spiritually more mystical than devotional—and is ecumenically conversant with and sensitive to the great religious traditions.

Christopher Nugent is Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies at the University of Kentucky. He is the author of The Colloquy of Poissy: A Study in Sixteenth-Century Ecumenism, and Masks of Satan: The Demonic in History.


"This book illuminates the mysterious affinity between mysticism and death. There are many books today on death and dying, but none like this one. " — Bernadette Roberts