1 Thessalonians 1 BHT, Paul’s First Words about the Word in the New Testament

An addition to the BHT, which may be the very earliest words written in the New Testament, around 50 AD, in Paul’s letter to the family who are gathering in Thessaloniki. Paul is exuberant about their faith, and talks about how they knew it for themselves through the manifestation of the Spirit in themselves, after much suffering, just like Paul and Jesus. Their great example was quickly spreading abroad.

(The photo above is of Papyrus 65 (rotated), dated to the 3rd century, an early papyrus manuscript copy of the New Testament, which contains the text of 1 Thessalonians 1:3-2:1 and 2:6-13.)

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Yet another “First Vision” Account from St. Symeon the New Theologian

St. Symeon the New Theologian

St. Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022 AD) was a Byzantine Christian monk and poet, and was canonized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox church. He wrote much about Christian mysticism, including his own experiences.

I’ve written twice before about St. Symeon’s “First Vision” accounts. He seems to have recorded many of them. He was prolific in sharing his experiences of theosis, or deification, and is called by Father George A. Maloney the “mystic of fire and light.”

Continue reading “Yet another “First Vision” Account from St. Symeon the New Theologian”

Another “First Vision” Account from St. Symeon the New Theologian

St. Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022 AD) was a Byzantine Christian monk and poet, and was canonized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox church. He wrote much about Christian mysticism, including his own experiences.

I have written previously about his experiences of the Divine Light, and his writing in Hymns of Divine Love. Here I relate perhaps his very firstFirst Vision” experience of that Light which he wrote in a homily called On Faith, which he experienced prior to becoming a monk. He seems to have related this experience in the third person, under the name “George,” which may have been his own birth name.

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What does it mean to be “a god”?

There are stories, legends, mythologies, folklore, traditions, histories, scriptures, and texts from all around the world which tell us of humans who have reached the stature of the gods. They have, in essence, become “a god.” Some recognizable examples are people such as Jesus, Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), and Muhammad. The process that these went through has been called theosis, deification, divinization, realization, awakening, and enlightenment. What does it mean to become or be “a god”? Continue reading “What does it mean to be “a god”?”

Richard Bucke’s “First Vision” Account

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Richard Maurice Bucke

Richard Maurice Bucke (1837-1902) was a Canadian psychiatrist. He is best known for his 1901 book Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mindin which he explored higher forms of consciousness as they have been expressed throughout human history.

In 1872 Bucke had a mystical experience of his own, which he later recorded: Continue reading “Richard Bucke’s “First Vision” Account”

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “First Vision” Account

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Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1876

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was a Russian novelist, writer, and philosopher. He often explored questions of psychology, philosophy, and religion. He wrote many acclaimed novels.

He published a short story in the 1870s in a collection called A Writer’s Diary with the title “The Dream of a Queer Fellow,” also published as The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. As Maria Popova points out, “the story sheds light on Dostoyevsky’s personal spiritual and philosophical bents with extraordinary clarity — perhaps more so than any of his other published works.” As with so much so-called “fiction,” it is perhaps a true reflection of his own deepest intuitions, spiritual experiences, and understandings. Continue reading “Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “First Vision” Account”

Bahá’u’lláh’s “First Vision” Account

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Bahá’u’lláh in 1868

Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892) was the founder of the Bahá’í Faith. In 1863 he announced that he was the fulfillment of a messianic prophecy given by the Báb in 1845. This prophetic call he said was made clear by a vision he had while imprisoned. The vision was of a heavenly Maiden who he said gave him his mission as a messenger of God, or Manifestation of God, as had been prophesied by the Báb.

Bahá’u’lláh described his vision: Continue reading “Bahá’u’lláh’s “First Vision” Account”