Madonna is studying the Kabbalah. The Shack is a runaway bestseller. Seven hundred years after he died, everyone’s reading Rumi. Yoga, Buddhism and other eastern practices are more popular among Americans than ever. So what gives? At the heart of all these cultural trends is mysticism, a vague word that can be translated as “the spiritual principle at the heart of religion.” Many people believe mysticism is the golden thread that unites all the world’s religions. Others scoff at the idea. Come decide for yourself in this class as we explore major themes and writings from the world’s great mystical traditions. Using Andrew Harvey’s The Essential Mystics as our textbook, we’ll examine the world’s great wisdom traditions — Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, as well as pagan and philosophical forms of mysticism — acknowledging both the common ground and the distinctive qualities of each mystical path. Class is taught from an academic/nonsectarian perspective.
Textbook: The Essential Mystics : Selections from the World’s Great Wisdom Traditions
What will be covered
- Session 1: Defining our terms, posing the question: Is there such a thing as a “world
mysticism”? Pro and con arguments
- Session 2: Indigenous, Taoist, and Hindu mysticism
- Session 3: Jewish (Kabbalah), Christian, and Islam (Sufi) mysticism
- Session 4: Buddhist and pagan/philosophical mysticism; summary/revisiting our