Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Matthew Lamb

Second Advisor

Dennis J. Doherty

Third Advisor

Philip Rossi

Fourth Advisor

Robert Masson

Fifth Advisor

James V. Zeitz


The task of mystical theology, as presented in this dissertation, is ultimately to lay the foundations for fostering the emergence of a more differentiated theology of mysticism as foundational to the whole of theology and religious practice. Such a differentiated theology of mysticism is grounded in self-transcending and self-authenticating persons whose Spirit-filled hearts of flesh transvalue all other values and ground the transformation of their conscious intentionality. As Bernard Lonergan has shown, such transformation is normative for all genuine human activity. The first three chapters present Joseph Marechal's study of the psychology of the mystics and offer a critique of his cognitional theory as it relates to his understanding of mysticism. Initially, presentation is made of Marechal's orientation to the study of mystical psychology in the empirical sciences. It is shown that the mystical experience, as a grace-filled experience, does not provide adequate data for the empirical sciences or a metaphysical analysis. Development of the cognitive, ontological categories of Marechal's analysis shows how they provide for him the conditions for the possibility of a mystical experience and mystical knowledge. In his analysis of the dynamism of the intellect, Marechal speaks of an intuitive element through which he maintains that metaphysics opens upon theology, the queen of all sciences. The inchoate intuition of his cognitive analysis is grounded in his interpretation of a more general faculty psychology. Its developmental process in the psychospiritual life of the mystic culminates in the intellectual intuition of the mystic's experience of ecstasy. It is in this intellectual intuition that the discursive and intuitive modes of knowledge reach their synthesis. In the fourth chapter this writer presupposes a knowledge of Bernard Lonergan's writings and draws upon his generalized empirical method and intentionality analysis of the subject as context for an on-going critique and corrective to Marechal's ontological categories. In conclusion, it is the impassioned subject who best exemplifies the mystical subject of Joseph Marechal's study of the psychology of the mystics and Bernard Lonergan's self-transcending and self-authenticating subject.



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