Mysticism is Evelyn Underhill's timeless manual, which offers thorough and rich guidance to the principles of mystical Christianity.
A classic since its publication in 1911, Mysticism remains an authority on its subject. Despite more modern works providing a more updated or formal analysis of Christian mysticism, none do so with the passion and splendour with which Underhill tackles the subject. Having herself had spiritual experiences, the author mentions that such events inspire those who feel them to action rather than to continual idle reflection of the divine.
Although presented as a textbook, Evelyn Underhill's masterwork does not adhere to the traditional principles of logical presentation the reader expects to see in such a format. Instead, Underhill makes a point of opposing and contrasting her views on mysticism to that of contemporary psychologist William James.
In contrast to the four pillars of rational explanations devised by James, Underhill creates her own much different emphasis:
Firstly, she proposes that mysticism is practical, not theoretical - it requires action on the part of the seeker.
Secondly, there is nothing scientific about mysticism - it is based purely upon spiritualism.
Thirdly, mysticism is pursued, and happens because of, love between those experiencing the event and the divine forces they perceive.
Lastly, mysticism is a significant psychological experience which individuals identify as a turning point in their attitude to life and the world.
This publication is derived from the book's 12th edition, which is treasured for the mindful revisions and additions Evelyn Underhill appended to the original text. In reaction to earlier reviews, additional notes are appended to clarify some of the deeper passages and aid the comprehensive flow of the chapters.