Jewish orthodoxy found itself attacked by the more revolutionary aspects of mysticism and its tendencies to alter established customs. While the medieval scholasticism denied the possibility of knowing anything unattainable by reason, the spirit of the Kabbalah held that the Deity could be realized, and it sought to bridge the gulf.
The semi-Oriental mysticism of the Neoplatonists and the Logos doctrines of the Stoics alike influence early Christian doctrine, and the pantheistic view is found frequently in medieval theology (e.g.
Erigena's contemporaries, and was certainly unorthodox enough to justify the condemnation which it subsequently received from Honorius III.; but its influence, together with that of the Pseudo-Dionysius, had a considerable share in developing the more emotional orthodox mysticism of the 12th and 13th centuries; and Neoplatonism (or Platonism received through a Neoplatonic tradition) remained a distinct element in medieval thought, though obscured in the period of mature scholasticism by the predominant influence of Aristotle.
The Relic conveys the impressions of a journey in Palestine and in parts suggests his indebtedness to Flaubert, but its mysticism is entirely new and individual; while the versatility of his talent further appears in The Correspondence of Fradique Mendes, where acute observation is combined with brilliant satire or rich humour.
These works, together with the Prodigios del amor divino (1641), are now forgotten, but Nieremberg's version (1656) of the Imitation is still a favourite, and his eloquent treatise, De la hermosura de Dios y su amabilidad (1649), is the last classical manifestation of mysticism in Spanish literature.
The influence of the pseudo-Dionysian writings were transmitted to the West in the 9th century by Erigena, in whose speculative spirit both the scholasticism and the mysticism of the middle ages have their rise.
Leaving all detailed descriptions of these schools to special articles devoted to them, it is sufficient here to say that their doctrines were a synthesis of Platonism, Stoicism and the later Aristotelianism with a leaven of oriental mysticism which gradually became more and more important.
Trans., 1888, especially volumes 3 and 4); Newman Smyth, Old Faiths in New Lights (1879), Through Science to Faith (1902); Henry Drummond, The Ascent of Man (1894); William Ralph Inge, Christian Mysticism (Bampton Lectures, 1894); Wilhelm Herrmann, The Communion of the Christian with God (1895); George William Knox, Direct and Fundamental Proofs of the Christian Religion (1903); Albrecht Ritschl, Die christliche Lehre von der Rechtfertigung and Versohnung (1900).
While he was fundamentally at one with Luther in opposing both Romanism and Calvinism, his mysticism led him to interpret justification by faith as not an imputation but an infusion of the essential righteousness or divine nature of Christ.
In these compositions, remarkable for their lacile handling of medieval Latin rhymes and rhythms, the allegorizing mysticism which envelops chivalrous poetry is discarded.