Mystical Recognition
Mystical Recognition

Mystical Recognition

Gnoseology and Philosophical Relevance of the 'Mystical Relation'


532 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, ebook: EPUB, Mobipocket

Paperback, $44.95 (US $44.95) (CA $60.95)

Publication Date: October 2020

ISBN 9780824598020


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Mystical Recognition relies on the insights of Albrecht's earlier study Psychology of Mystical Consciousness, which are applied here to the critical analysis of a representative corpus of mystical texts—about 100 testimonies of numerous Christian and non-Christian mystics across cultural and historical traditions. Mystical Recognition aims at exploring the 'ontic fundament' by which the psychological phenomena and responses are elicited in a mystical event. While conceding that an individual mystical experience is largely imbued with the beliefs and suppositions that a mystic holds prior to a mystical experience, Albrecht insists that a genuine mystical experience will always impart some impact and cognitive insight that cannot reasonably be accounted for from the subject's prior knowledge or the subjective domain of his/her consciousness. Any genuine mystical event is caused by an 'impact' imposed from beyond the confines of the individual self and thus the manifestation of a living 'mystical relation' between the experiencer and the 'All-encompassing. The discovery that the 'mystical relation' is an existential facticity and, as such, an 'ultimate phenomenon' (i.e. a phenomenon that 'is'—like 'life,' 'spirit,' or 'love'—but which cannot be rationally explained or traced to a known source) is a unique pioneering achievement and provides a new epistemological foundation for the understanding of the spiritual nature of man. In the final chapter, Albrecht juxtaposes his findings of his analyses of the corpus of mystical records and of several original accounts of mystical experience (including his own) critically to the conception of human 'Dasein' as outlined by Heidegger's and Binswanger's 'hermeneutics of Dasein,' resulting in the claim that man is endowed with the capacity of 'openness' which enables him/her to perceive and respond to phenomena of 'transcendental Reality' 'arriving' in his/her consciousness.

Author Biography

Franz K. Woehrer was associate professor of English Literature and Cultural Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria until his retirement in 2015. He studied English, psychology and philosophy at the University of Vienna (MA 1977, PhD 1982). He spent two years in England as a lecturer and research student before completing his post-doctoral thesis on the mystical element in the English Metaphysical Poets, which earned him an associate professorship at the university of Vienna. The innovative interdisciplinary study was published in 2003 as Phänomenologie Mystischer Erfahrung in der Englischen Lyrik des 17. Jhdts. Versuch einer Interdisziplinären Hermeneutik Erlebnismystischer Texte. His critical interdisciplinary approach to medieval and contemporary mystical texts is mainly based on the findings of Albrecht and in part on the mystical theology of the Italian Jesuit Giovanni Scaramelli (1687-1752). In 2013 he edited (jointly with John Bak, University of Lorraine) British Literature and Spirituality: Theoretical Approaches and Transdisciplinary Readings. The project of translating Albrecht's works in an annotated English edition has been accomplished first with the publication of Psychology of Mystical Consciousness in 2019, and now with the publication of Mystical Recognition. Carl ALBRECHT (1902-1965), was a German medical doctor, psychotherapist and mystic. He developed an innovative method of meditation (based on 'Autogenic Training'), which allowed practitioners to speak while immersed in meditative states (notably the serene state termed 'Versunkenheit'). In decades of research, Albrecht recorded hundreds of spontaneous utterances of his clients (and several of his own) and subjected the recordings to meticulous psychological scrutiny. The empirical research materials were supplemented by numerous records of mystics from Christian and Eastern mystical traditions and the findings were first published in Psychologie des Mystischen Bewußtseins (rpt. 1958, 1990 and 2019; first English edition Psychology of Mystical Consciousness 2019). In the sequel Das Mystische Erkennen, first published in 1958 (rpt. 1982 and forthcoming), the results gained in the earlier study were expanded to include the cognitive ('gnoseological') import of mystical experience. Contrasting genuine to pseudo-mystical varieties of mystical experience, Albrecht insists that a genuine mystical event is sustained by the concomitant awareness of an extant 'mystical relation' between the experiencer and a mystical Otherness ('all-encompassing Reality') encountered. This 'mystical relation' is identified by Albrecht as an 'ultimate phenomenon' of human existence and is as such it is an inexorable albeit inexplicable empirical fact (like other 'ultimate phenomena' such as 'love', 'spirit', or 'life'). Albrecht died prematurely of a heart-attack in 1965, aged 62.