Spiritual Perception

Throughout history, many people have claimed to have an experience of God. Is this experience possible and, if so, what features of human cognitive equipment make it possible? Is spiritual perception a distinct form or perception? Do humans possess special “spiritual senses,” which are both akin to and distinct from the five physical senses? How is spiritual perception related to other aspects of the human self, such as the body, mind, heart, desire, affect, will, and so on? These and many other questions are the subject of the Spiritual Perception Research Project.

download-3.jpgDr. Gavrilyuk has been involved in this collaborative research project since 2007. The project involves over 20 theologians, historians, and philosophers. He has co-edited with Dr. Sarah Coakley a collected volume, The Spiritual Senses: Perceiving God in Western Christianity (Cambridge, 2012), and is presently completing with Dr. Frederick D. Aquino, Sensing Things Divine: Towards a Constructive Account of Spiritual Perception (Oxford, 2019). The essays that were included in these volumes were discussed at six international symposia in Boston (Massachusetts), Montreal (Canada), Chicago (Illinois), Atlanta (Georgia), San Antonio (Texas), and St. Paul (Minnesota). In addition, Dr. Gavrilyuk has co-led (with Dr. Mark Spencer, philosophy) a faculty seminar on spiritual perception at the University of St. Thomas (fall 2016).