Elective unit (Min. No. 8)
1st semester: Tuesday evening
Cross listed as Spirituality DS9322Y
Karl Rahner is often quoted as saying that: “In the days ahead, you will either be a mystic or nothing at all.” In this unit students will explore the importance of this assertion through an investigation of mystical traditions throughout Christian history. These investigations will begin and end with attempts to define what is meant by mysticism and lead to a discussion of the contemporary importance of the mystic for the future flourishing of the Christian message and practice in the World today.
PREREQUSITES 18 points in DS or CH
Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:
1. articulate a definition of Christian mysticism and the role of the mystic
2. develop the ability to interpret writings within the Christian mystical tradition
3. demonstrate an understanding of the role of the mystic in the Church’s self-understanding
4. critically analyze ways in which a mystical posture can be integrated into the life of the church
5. critically assess the role of mysticism in the Church’s life today and for the future
10 tutorial papers 200 words each (50%); essay 4000 words (50%)
BIBLIOGRAPHY *set texts recommended for purchase
Classics in Western Spirituality New York: Paulist Press: John Cassian, Gregory of Nyssa, Origen, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Mecthild of Hackeborn, Julian of Norwich, The Cloud of Unknowing, Bonaventure.
Clément, Olivier. The Roots of Christian Mysticism: Texts from the Patristic Era with Commentary. 2nd ed. New York: New City Press, 2013.
Edwards, Denis. The God Evolution. New York: Paulist Press, 1999.
Hollywood, Amy. Sensible Ecstasy: Mysticism, Sexual Difference, and the Demands of History. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2002.
King, Ursula. Christian Mystics: Their Lives and Legacies throughout the Ages. London: Routledge, 2004.
McGinn, Bernard. The Presence of God. 4 Vols, London: SCM, 1992–2007. Vol. 1, The Foundations of Mysticism: Origins to the Fifth Century (1992); Vol. 2, The Growth of Mysticism (1994); Vol. 3, The Flowering of Mysticism: Men and Women in the New Mysticism (1200–1350) (1998); Vol. 4, The Harvest of Mysticism in Medieval Germany (1300–1500) (2007).
Merton, Thomas. New Seeds of Contemplation. Reprint. New York: New Directions, 2007.
Underhill, Evelyn. Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2002.
Weeks, Andrew. German Mysticism from Hildegard of Bingen to Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Literary and Intellectual History. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993.
Lecturer: CARMEL POSA SGS