IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 217: The Mystical Experience of Spiritual Pleasure

Monday 1 July 2013, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Liz Herbert McAvoy, Department of English Language & Literature, Swansea University
Paper 217-aThe Notion of Spiritual Pleasure in the Mystical Odes of Jalal ad-Din Rumi
(Language: Français)
Somayeh Kamranian, L'Institut de Recherche sur la Renaissance, l'Age Classique et les Lumières (IRCL), Université de Montpellier III - Paul Valéry
Index terms: Islamic and Arabic Studies, Language and Literature - Other
Paper 217-bThe Dance, the New Song, and the Chalice of Vision
(Language: English)
Ann Marie Caron, Department of Religious Studies, Saint Joseph College, Connecticut
Index terms: Language and Literature - German, Monasticism, Theology, Women's Studies

Paper -a:
There will always be something unseemly to admit that one enjoys his faith or his experience of faith. However, happiness, peace, and joy in the mystical experience can hardly not be expressed in terms of pleasure.This presentation will explore the different modes of spiritual pleasure expressed through the mystical odes or, ‘The Divan of Shams of Tabriz’, by the greatest Persian mystical poet of the 13th century, Jalal ad-Din Rumi. In this work, we will try to discover the close link that connects the search for mystical union and spiritual pleasure. Defining pleasure as the opposite of pain, we will also try to decipher the contrariety between the notion of the pleasure and the pain in the poems of Rumi.

Paper -b:
‘I cannot dance, Lord, unless you lead me./ If you want me to leap with abandon (joy) / You must intone the song./ Then I shall leap into love’ (1.44). This very familiar passage from the first book of Mechthild of Magdeburg’s The Flowing Light of the Godhead, invites us to reflect on the 2013 congress theme of pleasure. The concept of pleasure that I will develop is intrinsic to the mystical jubilus. This concept came to signify the high point of an ineffable mystical experience of ecstasy. The influence of Richard of St Victor and the developing theologies of the spiritual senses, the language of the soul, are central to my study. I will compare the jubilus in the writings of the Helfta women, Mechtild of Hackeborn and Gertrude of Helfta with the Jubilus in writing of the beguines Mechthild of Magdeburg and Hadewijch.