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The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Christian Mysticism

Julia A. Lamm (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-3286-5
672 pages
November 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Christian Mysticism (1444332864) cover image


The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Christian Mysticism brings together a team of leading international scholars to explore the origins, evolution, and contemporary debates relating to Christian mystics, texts, and the movements they inspired.

  • Provides a comprehensive and engaging account of Christian mysticism, from its origins right up to the present day
  • Draws on the best of current scholarship by bringing together a collection of newly-commissioned readings by leading scholars
  • Considers examples of mysticism in both Eastern and Western Christianity
  • Offers a brilliant synthesis of the key figures and historical periods of mysticism; its core themes, such as heresy, gender, or aesthetics; and its theoretical considerations, including theological, literary, social scientific, and philosophical approaches
  • Features chapters on current debates such as neuroscience and mystical experience, and inter-religious dialogue
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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors xi

Preface xix

1 A Guide to Christian Mysticism 1
Julia A. Lamm

Part I Themes in Christian Mysticism 25

2 The Song of Songs 27
Ann W. Astell and Catherine Rose Cavadini

3 Gender 41
Barbara Newman

4 Platonism 56
Willemien Otten

5 Aesthetics 74
Don E. Saliers

6 Heresy 89
J. Patrick Hornbeck II

Part II Early Christian Mysticism 103

7 Mysticism in the New Testament 105
Alan C. Mitchell

8 The Judaean–Jewish Contexts of Early Christian Mysticism 119
Ori Z Soltes

9 “Mysticism” in the Pre-Nicene Era? 133
Bogdan G. Bucur

10 Origen and His Followers 147
Augustine Casiday

11 Negative Theology from Gregory of Nyssa to Dionysius the Areopagite 161
Charles M. Stang

12 Syriac Mysticism 177
Brian E. Colless

13 Mysticism and Contemplation in Augustine’s Confessions 190
John Peter Kenney

14 Augustine’s Ecclesial Mysticism 202
J. Patout Burns

15 Benedictine Monasticism and Mysticism 216
Columba Stewart, O.S.B.

Part III Medieval Mystics and Mystical Traditions 235

16 Bernard of Clairvaux and the Cistercian Mystical Tradition 237
Brian Patrick McGuire

17 The Victorines 251
Boyd Taylor Coolman

18 The Mystery of Divine/Human Communion in the Byzantine Tradition 267
George E. Demacopoulos

19 Francis, Clare, and Bonaventure 282
Kevin L. Hughes

20 The Nuns of Helfta 297
Anna Harrison

21 Mysticism in the Spiritual Franciscan Tradition 311
Michael F. Cusato, O.F.M.

22 The Low Countries, the Beguines, and John Ruusbroec 329
Helen Rolfson, O.S.F.

23 Meister Eckhart, Johannes Tauler, and Henry Suso 340
Charlotte C. Radler

24 The Late Fourteenth-Century English Mystics 357
Christiania Whitehead

25 Late Medieval Italian Women Mystics 373
Armando Maggi

26 Nicholas of Cusa and the Ends of Medieval Mysticism 388
Peter J. Casarella

Part IV Mysticism and Modernity 405

27 The Protestant Reformers on Mysticism 407
Dennis E. Tamburello, O.F.M.

28 Spanish Mysticism and Religious Renewal: Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross 422
Edward Howells

29 Seventeenth-Century French Mysticism 437
Wendy M. Wright

30 The Making of “Mysticism” in the Anglo-American World: From Henry Coventry to William James 452
Leigh Eric Schmidt

31 “We Kiss Our Dearest Redeemer through Inward Prayer”: Mystical Traditions in Pietism 473
Ruth Albrecht

32 Nineteenth- to Twentieth-Century Russian Mysticism 489
Paul L. Gavrilyuk

33 Modern Catholic Theology and Mystical Tradition 501
Stephen M. Fields, S.J.

34 Mystics of the Twentieth Century 515
Mary Frohlich, R.S.C.J.

Part V Critical Perspectives on Mysticism 531

35 A Critical Theological Perspective 533
Philip Sheldrake

36 What the Saints Know: Quasi-Epistemological Reflections 550
James Wetzel

37 Mysticism and the Vernacular 562
Denis Renevey

38 The Social Scientific Study of Christian Mysticism 577
Ralph W. Hood, Jr. and Zhuo Chen

39 Neuroscience 592
Douglas E. Anderson

40 Christian Mysticism in Interreligious Perspective 610
Leo D. Lefebure

Index 626

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Author Information

Julia A. Lamm is Associate Professor of Theology at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She is a recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for research at the Academy of Sciences in Berlin. She is also the author of The Living God: Schleiermacher's Theological Appropriation of Spinoza (1996) and co-editor of a forthcoming volume on Schleiermacher, The Christmas Dialogue and Other Selections, for the Classics of Western Spirituality series. She has also published articles on Julian of Norwich.

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“As this comment indicates, I am assuming that this volume is going to assume a key place in the literature on this vast subject.”  (Ecclesiastical History, 1 January 2014)

“Julia Lamm has assembled a valuable collection of forty articles by leading scholars in this treasury of studies of (mainly) Christian mysticism. A lengthy and expert introduction by Lamm leads to the first section: five articles on “Themes in Christian Mysticism.”  (The Catholic Historical Review, 1 January 2014)

“Together they open a rich world of creative, inspired writing to contemporary students and fellow scholars.  Summing Up.  Recommended.  Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.”  (Choice, 1 September 2013)

“The Wiley-Blackwell Companion remains a treasure-trove of scholarship that will delight anyone interested in the academic conversation around Christian mysticism.”  (Carl McColman, 24 May 2013)

“There is much to praise about this book, from its well-judged contents to the beautiful presentation and typeface. This is a must-have for any library, and for any student or disciple of the mystical tradition."  (Church Times, 24 May 2013)

“The result is a compelling and engaging volume drawing on the best of recent cutting-edge scholarship, and providing insights into an ancient but important Christian tradition.”  (Eastern Christian Books, 17 December 2012)

“The past quarter century has seen an unprecedented outpouring of studies on mysticism, both in Christianity and in other religious traditions. While welcome, this proliferation of literature can also induce confusion—in the midst of so much to read, what will be most helpful for the general reader, and even enlightening for the specialist? The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Christian Mysticism does much to mitigate this problem. In this volume we have a superior survey of the course of Christian mysticism presented by excellent scholars in no less than forty-two essays. The coverage of the main themes and the historical development is impressive, the scholarship is sound, the balance among the sections and treatments is admirable. This Companion will set the standard for the study of Christian mysticism for years to come.”—Bernard McGinn, University of Chicago

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