This book explores the motif of the spiritual journey and its evolution in Western literature. A spiritual journey can be broadly defined as a search for the divine. Such a search can occur either internally as a psychological process or in some cases may involve an actual geographic journey. Spiritual journeys can be conducted by individuals or groups. In exploring this topic, various kinds of texts will be reviewed, including autobiographies, novels, and short stories, as well as myths, folktales, and mystical writings. The book classifies spiritual journey narratives into four categories: theological journeys, mystical journeys, mythopoetic journeys and allegorical journeys. Representative texts have been selected in the history of Western religious literature that illustrate the basic features of each of these four categories.
About the Author
John C. Stephens is an adjunct professor of religion at San Joaquin Delta Community College, USA, and received his PhD in the field of religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a specialist in the history of religions, and his work focuses on the ancient religious traditions of the West. His previous books include The Dreams and Visions of Aelius Aristides: A Case-Study in the History of Religions; Ancient Mediterranean Religions: Myth, Ritual and Religious Experience; Journeys to the Underworld and Heavenly Realm in Ancient and Medieval Literature; and The World of the Axial Sages: The Age of Awakening.