"No one can be a theologian unless they are first a mystic." Otherwise they would be writing about things they have not experienced. I have some sympathy for that perspective.
I guess it would depend on how one defines "mystic." One can follow a mystic without necessarily having to "be" one by trying to experience the types of states that you and others embrace, but rather by simply applying the teachings. So I have to disagree. Furthermore, That person can become knowledgable about the history and doctrine to the point where they can offer insightful exegeses. It's a skill not necessarily one which requires the requisite of being a mystic.
What would end up becoming official Christian doctrine was that there was absolutely no secret knowledge within Christianity. This is particularly to argue AGAINST the prevalence of mystics in the Gnostic traditions, which posed problems for early Christianity. For instance, the very quote "I exist permanently in the very place where God calls itself into being"
wouldn't be considered a humble statement.
This is why i made the comment earlier that allegory can be excruciating, because it leads to a deep potential for schism.
My first teacher said "Everything that was happening at the time of Jesus is still happening."
My first question would be "What evidence do you have to support that"
I have always thought that historians and literary critics of religious literature should have to state their positions on the existence of God, miracles, and mysticism just to reveal to the reader possible biases in their interpretations.
The danger there would be that if they all did so, then it would merely encourage your own bias. History is a discipline. Historians operating within the scope of historians can only comment on the facts.
By the way man. If maybe you could recommend a book or two on the subject because I would be interested in reading some of that kind of literature more deeply. My exposure is limited in this area.
On what topic? My area of focus in this aspect is ante-Nicene Christianity to approx 600CE, with particular emphasis on Christological Controversies. From there it skips to the Crusades.
From a purely historical standpoint, if I was going to explore Christian Mysticism, it would probably be in the context of the historical development of it, rather than the theology. The best path to understanding a movement is probably through the understanding of the historical context and origins of the movement:
What is the nature of Mediterranean Religious syncretism?
How did the Zoroastrians influence Judaism?
How did the Babylonian post-exile period of Judaism result in the development of apocalyptic literature?
How did that post-Apocalyptic literature result in the manifestation of sub-sects of millenarian mystic itinerant preachers from which John the Baptist and Jesus emerged and how prevalent were these subsects?
Once Jesus was established I would ask:
What was the influence of Gnostic mysticism on early Christianity and what was the origin of that?
How did Greek Philosophical disciplines influence Christian doctrine?
What were the beliefs of non-Christian religions?
What are the various categories of Christology?
What was the extent of the information exchange between the Eastern Roman/Byzantium Empire and Persia/India/China?
I'm sure you have a pretty solid background already.
That's probably a couple of years worth of research there.
I go about explaining religious phenomena from this approach.