Introduction to World Mysticism through Evening at Emory!

Register now for


This fall through Evening at Emory!

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

Instructor: Carl McColman, MA in Professional Writing and Editing, author of The Aspiring Mystic
4 session(s): Thu: Oct 2-23 / 7:00-9:00 pm
Registration fee: $115 Register now!

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

In Memoriam: Kenneth Leech
Is Mysticism Genetic?
Sanctity and Struggle, or, Why Saints Have Chaotic Inner Lives (Hint: It's Because We All Do)
Preliminary Practices for Christian Contemplatives
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.

  • Gerhard Venter


    What a disappointment! I have class at Emory on Thursday nights, otherwise I wouldn’t have missed your lectures for the world. (Especially not for the world!)

    Your retreat a few weeks back was very helpful in getting me to a point where I’ve got about a third of my novel written. Thank you again.

    Kind regards