Scholars have long noted that mysticism is a term that is hard to define and there is little consensus on what the term might mean. For some, mysticism has a negative connotation, referring to only what is vague. For others, mysticism refers to precise knowledge that is secret and available only to initiates. Still others find it an essential core to religious traditions, being found in all three Abrahamic faiths as well as in Eastern traditions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Mysticism also is claimed to be integral to secular traditions, such as Greek philosophical thought, and the two great traditions of China, Taoism and Confucianism. That a term so integral to many traditions refuses to be easily defined is problematic. This entry explores the ...

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