chapter  1
Introduction
Pages 40

One of the most intricate problems in the study of religion concerns finding an adequate definition of mysticism.1 T h e huge literature that has been written on the topic may be one of the best indications that a universally acceptable definition is so difficult to reach. For mystics of the three great religious traditions of the western world (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), mysticism pertains to a perceived experience or realisation of God. This perception of the divine has been interpreted in a variety of ways, and a fourfold categorisation of the main interpretations is offered below (the order of which is purely arbitrary and does not reflect any particular preference).