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Islam, Christianity and the Mystic JourneyA Comparative Exploration$
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Ian Richard Netton

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640829

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640829.001.0001

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Caves, Clouds and Mountains: The Apophatic Tradition

Caves, Clouds and Mountains: The Apophatic Tradition

(p.53) Chapter 2 Caves, Clouds and Mountains: The Apophatic Tradition
Islam, Christianity and the Mystic Journey

Annmarie Hughes

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses the meaning of caves, clouds, and mountains in the apophatic tradition of Islam and Christianity. The first section discusses the Qur'anic cave which represents the locus of revelation, safety, and Divine protection. In this section, the focus is on the ‘physical cave’ and the ‘textual cave’ which embrace and disclose the ‘hero’ or the vessel of revelation. The second section discusses a different kind of ‘unknowing’. It focuses on the interpretation of clouds and its way to perfection. The third section discusses the mountains and their resonance in the Islamic and Christian mythical tradition. In mythical traditions, mountains are seen as places of divine revelation and symbols of the ascent to divinity.

Keywords:   caves, clouds, mountains, apophatic tradition, Qur'anic cave, revelation, physical cave, textual cave, divinity

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