Evening at Emory: Introduction to World Mysticism!

Register now for


This spring 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. This class explores its topic 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 Big Book of Christian Mysticism
4 session(s): Wednesdays: April 13-May 4, 2011 / 7:00-9:00 pm
Registration fee: $150 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

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  1. Peter G Kimble says:

    For me personally apart from my study and persuit of Christian mystical writings and prayer, I find Zoroastra to be powerful. May all the saints and God almighty bless you. brother Peter

  2. Nolan 'Gus' Galloway says:

    Wow – wish I lived near I would surely attend, but thanks for giving the text book I will likely purchase it.

    God Bless,

  3. A significant bit of my own return to a better faith in Christian realities was through an early attempt to learn from Tibetan Buddhist Chogyam Trungpa.

    The ‘discipline’ of the Buddhist 4-folds and 8-folds took me out of my slacker atheism and put me on a plane of moral seriousness which made me ‘ready’ for the next thing Jesus wanted to show me about a Christianity superior to what my parents’ church had taught me.

    So in my view it’s all good if we keep our eyes open and don’t think we’ve seen the last thing God has in store.

  4. Hi,

    These sessions sound great. Any plans to offer these type of classes online? Either via Emory or even on your own? That would be most awesome!


  5. Hey Carl,
    Would you be open to do this material in Michigan? You could have it on a Friday evening and all day Saturday with lunch included.

  6. How does Boston sound in the Fall? I’ll use the Contact Form!

  7. I agree – if there is any way that people who live far away (Africa in this case!) can get the material… Count me in!

    It sounds like an amazing conversation. I love how mysticism is defined here… “The spiritual principle at the heart of religion.” So welcoming for those who are spiritual but not (or no longer) religious.

    John – I can’t agree more. We never know where God is headed, and in his great mercy – anything is possible!


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