In this new world, those Christians who most single-mindedly devote their time and energy to prayer (people known hitherto as ‘contemplatives’) begin to seem like ‘experts’ in an esoteric branch of knowledge. And, since they seem to have some difficulty in straightforwardly communicating quite what it is that they are on about, theirs appears to be a secret knowledge, a knowledge of extraordinary facts, obtained by people who enjoy unusual experiences. This new field of expertise deserves a name: let’s call it ‘la mystique’ (or, as Certeau’s translator nicely coins it, ‘mystics’ — to set alongside ‘ethics’ and ‘dogmatics’). And the experts who work in this field? We’ll call them ‘mystics.’

The Beginning and the End of Religion
The Beginning and the End of ‘Religion’
Nicholas Lash


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