Honors | Western Christian Mysticism
H303 | 24551 | Mary Jo Weaver
This course focuses on Western Christian mysticism as a way to
understand the broad concept of “spirituality.” We will try to
develop a working definition of mysticism, but I am not as
interested in defining it as I am in looking at some of the great
classical texts that describe it. Although it is possible to find
mystics in almost any century, we will spend most of our time in
16th century Spain (Teresa and John); but will begin in 4th century
Cappadocia (Gregory), move to 11th century France (Bernard), then to
13th century Italy (Bonaventure), 14th century Germany (Eckhart) and
14th century England (Julian). Let’s see if we can figure out what
mysticism is by the end of the semester.
Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses
Bernard of Clairvaux, “On Loving God”
Bonaventure, The Soul’s Journey into God
Meister Eckhart, “Sermon 52” (to be provided)
Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love (edited by Elizabeth
Teresa of Avila, “The Interior Castle” Collected Works of Teresa of
Avila, volume II*
John of the Cross, “Living Flame of Love” The Collected Works of St.
John of the Cross*
*both these volumes edited by Kavanaugh and Rodriguez.
1. Full and active participation is required which means attendance,
unfailing preparation, and a willingness to engage the material in
every class. Much of the value of this class will be in our
interaction with one another, so it is imperative that you read all
assignments in advance and think about them before you come to
2. A major paper on a mystic of your choice. We will stage this
assignment out so that you will need to have a person in mind pretty
quickly, then a meeting with me, then an outline, etc.
3. Mid-term and final exams and reading quizzes if necessary.