The Role of Mystery in Experiencing God

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Book Chapter

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John Henry Newman believed that it was necessary for religious precepts and doctrines to be intellectually simple and straightforward in order for someone to really apprehend and thus assent to the Christian faith. For this reason Newman had to deal with the problem of mysteries such as that of the Incarnation, the unity of body and soul, and the Trinity, all essential Christian doctrines in his estimation. Christianity, in his view, had to be simple enough for the intellectually ‘unsophisticated’ to grasp, not simply for the sake of gaining knowledge but for the sake of clarity.3 For worship to be authentic, mysteries need to be comprehensible to all Christians. Using Newman as a guide, this essay will approach an interpretation or hermeneutics of mystery under three aspects: (1) mystery as presence and absence; (2) mystery as inevitable ambiguity; and (3) mystery as distinct from nonsense.


Book chapter by Ono Ekeh.

ISBN 9781443867009