Mystical experience: women’s pathway to knowledge

Maria Clara Bingemer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article aims to reflect on two issues within the vast area of mystical studies: 1. The link between mystical experience and knowledge; 2. Mystical experiences lived through by women as a pathway to and from knowledge. Firstly, we will try to circumscribe the concept of mystical experience by retrieving some of the main thoughts of scholars who have studied the mystical phenomenon and the writings of individuals who experienced it. Secondly, we will pursue our reflection with the aid of philosophers and theologians who thought and argued that mystical experience is and contains knowledge and bears not only affective and spiritual, but also intellectual, fruit. Thirdly, we will attempt to demonstrate how, throughout the history of Christianity, a significant number of women were the specific protagonists of this synthesis between experience and knowledge and how this allowed them to bring original contributions to their context and historical time. We conclude with a detailed commentary and reflection on the French 20th-century mystic Simone Weil who, as both an intellectual and a mystic, was a pioneer in bringing a prophetic vision on issues that would inspire society, the Church, and spiritual life many decades after her death. Our conclusions will be based on this and on the countercultural benefits that mystical experience lived through by women can bring to contemporary times.
Original languageEnglish
Article number230
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender
  • Knowledge
  • Mystical experience
  • Mysticism
  • Theology
  • Women


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