The Roots of Christian Mysticism
The entire course is divided into 3 terms and each term consists of 8 Lessons. Each lesson focuses on a mystic, and we learn about the times they lived in, their life witness and their spirituality. Each lesson also has extracts from their writings and inspirations to help us in our spiritual practice. There is also a bibliography, audio and visual recordings to allow you to explore further. This course is not just an intellectual exercise but a journey from the mind to the heart – a spiritual journey of discovery. So we invite you to meditate at the beginning of each lesson and to experience this contemplative dimension of faith.
This online course is inspired by the book Journey to the Heart: Christian Contemplation through the Centuries edited by Kim Nataraja. We recommend you use this as your Course Book.
In this talk, Prof Bernard McGinn, the preeminent scholar in the field, gives a panoramic view of the mystical and sets the scene for the course. He explores the nature of mysticism and why Christian mysticism is so important. What does the word “mysticism” mean? Is it an exclusive state, just for the few or is it for all? What is a mystic and why are they crucial to humankind? And why does Karl Rahner, a 20th century theologian say “The Christian of the future will either be a mystic or will not be a Christian at all?”