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Spirituality and contextuality

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Abstract:

This article discusses various historiographies of spirituality as an indication of the influence of context on spirituality. It gives an overview of the most important historiographies of spirituality. Secondly, it describes the extremes of contextuality and noncontextuality, before finally reflecting on the dialectic tension between spirituality and contextuality. The contextuality or historicity of spirituality is not self-evident. Not until modern times, in Europe, did it become more or less normal to look at spirituality from a historical perspective. It is thus not strange that the historiography of spirituality arose from the nineteenth century. In that time, the historical perspective was flowering in all sciences. This historical approach is so compulsive that almost everything that “happens” has to be “historicised”. But we can ask ourselves whether this contextualisation, in its predominant and absolute sense, corresponds with the deeper spiritual reality. This article first gives an overview of the most important historiographies of spirituality. Secondly, it describes the extremes of contextuality, and noncontextuality. Finally, it reflects on the dialectic tension between spirituality and contextuality.

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