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Document Details :
Title: The Night in John of the Cross and Michel Henry
Author(s): WELTEN, Ruud
Journal: Studies in Spirituality
Volume: 13 Date: 2003
In the texts of John of the Cross and the French phenomenologist Michel Henry, the ‘night’ is the realm of revelation. How can we understand this seemingly paradoxical thesis from a phenomenological point of view? This article offers a phenomenological interpretation of the night in John of the Cross. The analysis focuses on passivity and its role in the experience of the night. Starting from Husserl’s analysis on passivity, it becomes clear that classical phenomenology cannot understand the radical passivity as described by John of the Cross. An appeal to contemporary radical phenomenology, offered by Michel Henry, is therefore inevitable. It is argued that the phenomenological interpretation of the night is not only of consequence for the science of spirituality or for the mystical attitude, but for human existence in general.