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Open Theology 2019; 5: 403–404 Phenomenology of Religious Experience III: Visuality, Imagination, and the Lifeworld Editorial Open Access. © 2019 Martin Nitsche, published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License. *Corresponding author: Martin Nitsche, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic; E-mail: nitsche.martin@gmail.com Martin Nitsche* Introduction to the Topical Issue “Phenomenology of Religious Experience III: Visuality, Imagination, and the Lifeworld” https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2019

Abstract

In 1988, Tymieniecka explored the religious phenomenon, pursuing the spiritual experience of the sacred as it surges in the life of our soul. She described three movements of the human soul that lead to revelation of the spiritual experience of the sacred. A first movement of “radical examination” is followed by one of “exalted existence” in which the soul proceeds beyond the usual reflection on the interior of the ongoing current of life. Here, we experience sadness at not being able to transcend our finiteness. When the screen of objectivity is broken, the soul surprisingly does not plunge again into its underground turmoil; on the contrary, it dives into the life-giving waters of an underground stream which, like a “sacred river”, flows imperturbably and silently. On this basis, the soul can move “toward transcending”, and lay the groundwork for the life of the spirit, which seeks the Other from finiteness. Tymieniecka stopped at this threshold in 1988. In 2008, she reiterated that from her phenomenology of life no theology had arisen, and yet she hinted that glimpses in this direction had opened with the start of a metaphysics of the fullness of the logos in a vital key.

, metaphysics, and value theory for his conclusions at every step, subjecting his own religious suppositions to critical scrutiny and thereby inviting those of other religious outlooks who may not be persuaded by his arguments to intellectual dialogue. 6 Assessing religious experience normatively In developing a Schutzian interpretation of the phenomenology of religious experience, I provided for the critique of religious experience by the fact that the province of religious meaning has as one of its cognitive features social relations that can include the possibility of

Abstract

The paper explores how different models of space articulate the nature of religious experience. Analyses are focused primarily on Heidegger’s phenomenology. Throughout his work, three models of space are determined: an opened, an empty, and a topological space. According to these models, there are three types of sacred places, that is, places of encounter with Divine: 1. a sacred place defined by coordinates materialized in a sacred building or symbolized by a cultic procedure; 2. a negative place, a place of a negative form of encounter; 3. a place as a path-mark, defined by a transitive (wayfaring) involvement into a lived environment.

Abstract

This paper concentrates on the transformative impact of religious conversions. I understand religious conversions here as all individual spiritual transformations that either create an essentially new religious experience or substantially intensify an existing religiosity. The transformative impact of these transformations consists not only in modifying life perspectives or values, but also (and more substantially) in altering the very structure of personal experience. They can even bring significant changes in the phenomenal character of individual life-worlds, which are then experienced as perceived “differently”. This reflects on the possibilities the phenomenological method possesses to describe (and understand) these changes, and mainly discusses the applicability of Husserl’s analyses in Ideas 2 of the double constitution of body. On this basis, I suggest an explanatory model of transformative localizing/layering.

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Abstract

Amplifying the idea of religious experience as occurring within an encompassing “religious province of meaning” and developing the personal character of the experience of God in the Abrahamic religious traditions, this paper argues that mystics in those traditions experience God “objectively.” Their experience of God is that of experiencing God as what Alfred Schutz called a “Consociate,” despite the lack of God’s bodily presence. Such a phenomenological account of religious experience converges with the description by analytic philosopher William Alston of religious experience as an objectively given, non-sensual perception of God, even though the personal Consociate model is preferable to the perceptual one, given the Abrahamic traditions. Conversely, Alston and Alvin Plantinga show how ascending levels of rational justification of religious experience are possible with reference to the experiential level, and such levels can be accommodated within the Schutzian “theoretical province of meaning” in its collaboration with the religious province. Both the Consociate and Schelerian/personalist accounts of God resist any explaining away of religious experience as mere phantasy, and the religious finite province of meaning provides a more comprehensive explanation of religious experience than either Alston’s or Plantinga’s approaches. However, the strategy of envisioning religious experience as taking place within a finite province of meaning is more noetic in character than Scheler’s view of an eidetically elaborated noematic absolute reality that precedes the rise of consciousness itself and that counterbalances the noetic portrayal of religious experience.

Abstract

This paper investigates the connections between the phenomenology of religious experience and Michel Henry’s entire body of work. Henry debated on Christianism and the phenomenological interpretation of religion in the latter part of his philosophical thinking. However, a new interpretation of Henry’s work is needed starting from his work The Essence of Manifestation and his critique of religion by Marx and Feuerbach which he analyzed in two volumes devoted to these two philosophers (1976). Although it has been scarcely investigated, Henry’s work should be considered as a whole from its beginning to his philosophy of Christianity. As this aspect of Henry’s work has often been ignored, this paper proposes a new interpretation of the essence of religion through its connections with the essence of manifestation. This will be done in three steps: firstly, an investigation of Henry’s thought starting from his interpretation of Marx and Feuerbach will be proposed; secondly, a “new ontology of manifestation” by Henry will be analysed; and finally, a connection between Henry’s phenomenological essence of manifestation and the new conception of the essence of religion will be suggested.

Abstract

In this paper I develop a phenomenology of religious experience through the notion of keyphenomenon. My analysis moves from a general phenomenology of situation, in which we have to relate different phenomena according to a sense. What does “according to a sense” mean? My suggestion is that we should look for a relationship among these data when we find a key-phenomenon (among a series of phenomena) that would enlighten all the others. This key-phenomenon would show a non-phenomenal meaning which would make all the others understandable. Each other datum, therefore, becomes the witness of invisible meaning through a key-witness. The key-phenomenon we choose determines the role (i.e., the truth) of each datum within its situation. This phenomenological relationship belongs to both the sense of day-life situations, and that one of possible religious situations. If the religious interpretation of a situation depends on our choice of key-phenomenon, or key-witness, we have to define what kind of keyphenomenon constitutes a religious intuition.

Toward a Phenomenology of Orthodox Liturgy