Mysticism: Theory and History

I am very pleased to announce the formation of an online study group that will be reading and reflecting on the writings of the great mystics.

Sponsored by Christian Classics Ethereal Library, the group is called Mysticism: Theory and History, and is being moderated by yours truly. This group will be unpacking the great tradition of Christian mystical wisdom: understanding its history, looking at how it developed, and identifying the key themes and teachings. We will do this by getting to know the great mystics of the past, by reading the words of the mystics themselves and prayerfully reflecting on their wisdom. We’ll be starting with Julian of Norwich. I anticipate that we will be reading the texts slowly, so we’ll probably only read two mystics a year. The idea is not breadth, but depth: better to read just two books in a year’s time, but to read them slowly, contemplatively, prayerfully. I will be posting brief reflections on each chapter of the book, and inviting other group members to post their responses, either to the book itself or to what I’ve written.

This group will be starting May 1st with reading Julian. When we’re done with Julian, we’ll move on to another mystic, hopefully reading about two classic books each year.

Incidentally, I see this as complementing, not replacing, this blog. While the blog is basically a general forum where I write about whatever happens to be on my mind, this book group will be much more structured around reading and responding to the wisdom of a particular mystical writer.

Here’s the link to join the group:

Bruno Barnhart (1931-2015)
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Busting the "Goody Two Shoes" Stereotype of Saints
Talking about "Befriending Silence"
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • Peter

    I just joined your group, Carl, and am greatly looking forward to it.

    I have also joined the “practical” study group.

    Thanks for the invitation!