Introduction to Christian Mysticism: Evening at Emory

Registration for the “Introduction to Christian Mysticism” class offered through Evening at Emory is now online. To register, click here.

The class will meet for five Thursday evenings starting on September 23 and continuing through October 21. The class will meet on the Emory University Campus. The textbook (of course) is The Big Book of Christian Mysticism. Continuing education credit is available.

Here is the course description from the Evening at Emory website:

Introduction to Christian Mysticism

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Evening at Emory – Humanities and Cultural Studies

The renowned twentieth century German theologian Karl Rahner said, “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist at all.” What could he have meant by this? In the popular mind, mysticism is associated with eastern spirituality, like Yoga or Zen. But there is a little-known tradition of meditation and spiritual awakening even within Christianity. This non-sectarian class will survey the history of Christian mysticism from Biblical times to the present, explore the meaning of mysticism and why Christians often view it with suspicion, and consider the role that mysticism might play in Christianity of the present and future. Textbook not included.

Textbook: The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative SpiritualityInstructor: Carl McColman, MA in Professional Writing and Editing, author of The Big Book of Christian Mysticism
5 session(s): Thu: Sep 23-Oct 21 / 7:00-9:00 pm
Registration fee: $210   CEUs: 1

After this class, you will be able to

    1. Understand what mysticism is, and how its meaning has evolved over time
    2. Survey the key Christian mystics from Biblical times to the present day
    3. Learn the reasons why mysticism is controversial within Christianity
    4. Understand mysticism’s relationship with monasticism, and what kinds of spiritual practices mystics have engaged in over the centuries
    5. Speculate on how mysticism can remain vital to Christianity in the future

What will be covered

    Class 1: Introduction
    -Defining mysticism
    -How the concept of mysticism has evolved over time
    -Distinctive qualities of Christian mysticism
    -How mysticism differs from occultism, esotericism, gnosticism and piety
    Class 2: History of Mysticism through 1200
    -Mysticism in the Bible
    -The Alexandrian Mystics
    -The Desert Fathers and Mothers
    -Pseudo-Dionysius, Augustine, and the Greek tradition
    Class 3: History of Mysticism from 1200 to the present
    -High medieval mysticism: Cistercians, Franciscans, and Dominicans
    -Northern European Mysticism
    -Southern European Mysticism
    -Protestantism and Modern Mysticism
    Class 4: What Mystics Do
    -Ascetical Practices: Monasticism, Celibacy, Austerity
    -Lectio Divina and Biblical study
    -Meditation and Contemplation
    -The Relationship Between Mysticism and Works of Mercy/Social Action
    Class 5: Understanding Mysticism
    -Mysticism and Heresy: Why have so many mystics been rejected by the Christian mainstream
    -The Protestant Reformation and the Marginalization of Mysticism
    -The Twentieth Century Renaissance (Christianity encounters eastern mysticism)
    -Thoughts about how mysticism will evolve in the future
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