Date of Award

Summer 1954

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Three major subjects are the concern of this study: Mysticism, Plotinus, and St. Augustine, any one of which would allow elaborate investigation. Here, we have made no attempt to deal with any one of these comprehensively, but have been concerned only to make a comparative analysis of the mysticisms of Plotinus and Augustine.

The writer's interest in Plotinus stems from the fact that Plotinus is both a first-rate philosopher and a mystic, being generally regarded as "the father of Western mysticism." The significance of Augustine in the history of Western Civilization and the fact that he is both a convert from neo-Platonism and a mystic make him an apt subject for comparison with Plotinus. Both men carried their first principles to their logical conclusions so effectively that even today one can detect overtones of their fundamental theses reoccurring within the various systems of contemporary philosophy and theology.

Admitting an appreciation for mysticism, the writer finds it difficult to accept a mysticism-for-the-sake-of-mysticism, but is rather attracted to mysticisms of the type of Plotinus and Augustine's---mysticisms that are clearly metaphysically related and also suggest a meaning for ordinary human experiences.

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