A Christian Mystics Bibliography

Christian Mystics
Christian Mystics

In my books The Big Book of Christian Mysticism and Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages, I suggest a number of books that anyone interested in learning more about Christian mysticism might enjoy.

On this page I’ve gathered together those books (and a few audio recordings). For good measure, I’ve thrown in a few other important titles, and will continue to add useful books to this page as they come to my attention.

I believe this list represents a comprehensive library of Christian mysticism for spiritual practitioners. It is designed for something more than merely the academic study of Christian mysticism — it is meant for those who, by the grace of God, actually wish to enter the mysteries.

Many of these books are expensive and unfortunately some are out of print, so I certainly encourage you to make use of your local library. Also, if you wish to purchase any of these books, please consider supporting your local independent bookstore. If you choose to buy your books online, each title on this page is linked to the book’s page on Amazon (if you click and buy, I get a small commission at no extra charge to you, so thank you for doing that).

This list represents a lifetime of spiritual reading. Happy exploring.

The One Essential Mystical Text

  • The Holy Bible (one edition I like to recommend: The Saints’ Devotional Bible). When I’m asked “What is the one book you recommend for those who wish to learn Christian mysticism?” I always say the Bible. That surprises a lot of people, but it is the plain fact that the mystics have, for two thousand years now, immersed themselves in scripture, prayed scripture, and patterned their lives after the wisdom found herein. Granted, many Christians read the Bible as if it were a legal document or a textbook of philosophy, which is why we can’t wrap our heads around the idea that it is actually a mystical masterpiece without parallel. Here’s a suggestion: when you read the Bible, read for the purpose of prayer (if you must engage in Bible study, then at least set aside some time strictly for Bible prayer), and think of it not as a history book or a legal document, but as a love letter between God and humanity. That will help you to be open to the life-transfiguring mystical wisdom found throughout this amazing collection of sacred writings.

An Important Book to Help You Read the Bible — and the Writings of the Mystics

  • Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina by Michael Casey provides the key to reading the Bible — and, for that matter, the writings of the mystics — in a truly prayerful and contemplative way. There are a number of books that explain the practice of lectio divina, but I’ve yet to find one that equals this luminous introduction.

My Books About Christian Mysticism and Contemplative Spirituality

The Big Book of Christian Mysticism
The Big Book of Christian Mysticism

What is Christian mysticism? Who are the great mystics? What do they have to teach us? My books seek to answer these questions.

  • The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality seeks to answer the questions “What is Christian mysticism?” and “How can I incorporate the wisdom of the mystics into my own spiritual life?” Karl Rahner said, “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or will not exist” — this book is my response to his challenge.
  • Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages profiles the lives and core teachings of over one hundred of the greatest mystics and contemplatives of the Christian tradition. Arranged thematically (rather than chronologically or alphabetically), this book is meant to help today’s Christians find the mystics whose wisdom can be most inspirational for our own unique spiritual journeys.
  • The Little Book of Christian Mysticism (forthcoming) arranges a series of brief quotations from the great mystics and contemplatives into a format ideal for personal meditative use. This book works as a daily devotional guide or as a more general induction into the unique wisdom and spiritual insight that the mystics have to share with us.

In addition to my “Christian Mysticism Trilogy,” I’ve also written the following books that look at how to begin a contemplative prayer practice, and the spirituality of Cistercian (including Trappist) monasteries, respectively.

A Contemplative Reading List (from The Big Book of Christian Mysticism)

Writings of 108 Seers, Saints and Sages (recommended readings from Christian Mystics)

  1. Abhishiktananda, Prayer
  2. Adrienne von Speyr, The Boundless God
  3. Aelred of Rievaulx, Spiritual Friendship
  4. Albertus Magnus (and Thomas Aquinas), Albert and Thomas: Selected Writings
  5. Angela of Foligno, Complete Works
  6. Angelus Silesius, The Cherubinic Wanderer
  7. Anthony De Mello, Selected Writings
  8. Anonymous, The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works
  9. Anonymous, The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way
  10. Anonymous (edited by Martin Luther), Theologia Germanica
  11. Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions of Saint Augustine
  12. Beatrice of Nazareth, The Life of Beatrice of Nazareth (Includes The Seven Manners of Holy Love)
  13. Bede Griffiths, The One Light
  14. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of St. Benedict
  15. Bernard J. F. Lonergan, Method in Theology
  16. Bernard of Clairvaux, Selected Works
  17. Birgitta of Sweden, Life and Selected Revelations
  18. Blaise Pascal, Pensées and Other Writings
  19. Bonaventure, The Soul’s Journey Into God; The Tree of Life; Etc.
  20. Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, The Practice of the Presence of God
  21. Bruno Barnhart. Second Simplicity: The Inner Shape of Christianity
  22. C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  23. Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God
  24. Catherine of Genoa, Purgation and Purgatory; the Spiritual Dialogue
  25. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue
  26. Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks and Other Works
  27. Coventry Patmore, The Rod, The Root and the Flower
  28. Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings
  29. Edith Stein, The Science of the Cross
  30. Elisabeth of Schönau, The Complete Works
  31. Elizabeth of the Trinity, Always Believe in Love
  32. Ephrem the Syrian, Ephrem the Syrian: Hymns
  33. Evagrius PonticusThe Praktikos & Chapters on Prayer
  34. Evelyn Underhill, Practical Mysticism
  35. Francis de Sales, On the Love of God
  36. Francis of Assisi, Francis of Assisi in His Own Words: The Essential Writings
  37. Francisco de Osuna, The Third Spiritual Alphabet
  38. François Fénelon, Selected Writings
  39. Friedrich von Hügel, Spiritual Counsel and Letters of Baron Friedrich von Hügel
  40. Gemma Galgami, The Saint Gemma Galgani Collection
  41. George Fox, The Journal of George Fox
  42. George Herbert, The Country Parson; the Temple
  43. George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Series I, II, and III
  44. Gerald G. May, Will and Spirit: A Contemplative Psychology
  45. Gertrude of Helfta, The Herald of Divine Love
  46. Gregory of Narek, The Festal Works of St. Gregory of Narek
  47. Gregory of Nyssa, From Glory to Glory
  48. Gregory Palamas, The Triads
  49. Hadewijch, The Complete Works
  50. Henry Suso, The Exemplar, with Two German Sermons
  51. Hildegard of Bingen, Selected Writings
  52. Howard Thurman, A Strange Freedom
  53. Ignatius of Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises and Selected Works
  54. Isaac the Syrian, The Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian
  55. Jacopone da Todi, The Lauds
  56. Jakob Boehme, Genius of the Transcendent
  57. Jean-Pierre de Caussade, Abandonment to Divine Providence
  58. Jeanne Guyon, Selected Writings
  59. Johannes Tauler, Sermons
  60. John Cassian, The Conferences
  61. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent
  62. John Donne, Selections from Divine Poems, Sermons, Devotions and Prayers
  63. John O’Donohue, Anam Ċara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
  64. John of the Cross, The Collected Works of Saint John of the Cross
  65. John Ruusbroec, The Spiritual Espousals and Other Works
  66. John Scotus Eriugena, The Voice of the Eagle: The Heart of Celtic Christianity—John Scotus Eriugena’s Homily on the Prologue to the Gospel of St. John
  67. John the Evangelist, The Writings of St. John found in The New Testament
  68. John Wesley and Charles Wesley, Selected Prayers, Hymns, Journal Notes, Sermons, Letters and Treatises
  69. Julian of Norwich, The Showings of Julian of Norwich
  70. Karl Rahner, The Mystical Way in Everyday Life
  71. Kenneth Leech, Prayer and Prophecy: The Essential Kenneth Leech
  72. Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe
  73. Marguerite Porete, The Mirror of Simple Souls
  74. Maria Faustina Kowalska, Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska: Divine Mercy in My Soul
  75. Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi, Selected Revelations
  76. Marie of the Incarnation, Selected Writings
  77. Maximus the Confessor, Selected Writings
  78. Mechtilde of Hackeborn, Select Revelations of S. Mechtild, Virgin, Taken from the Five Books of Her Spiritual Grace
  79. Mechthild of Magdeburg, The Flowing Light of the Godhead
  80. Meister Eckhart, Selected Writings
  81. Nicholas of Cusa, Selected Spiritual Writings
  82. Nicodemus of the Holy Mountain, A Handbook of Spiritual Counsel
  83. Origen of Alexandria, Spirit and Fire: A Thematic Anthology of His Writings.
  84. Paul of Tarsus, The Writings of St. Paul
  85. Phoebe Palmer, Selected Writings
  86. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Hymn of the Universe
  87. Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, The Divine Names and The Mystical Theology
  88. Raimon Panikkar, Christophany: The Fullness of Man
  89. Ramón Llull, Doctor Illuminatus
  90. Richard of St. Victor, The Book of the Patriarchs; The Mystical Ark; Book Three of the Trinity
  91. Richard Rohr, The Naked Now
  92. Rufus M. Jones, Rufus Jones: Essential Writings
  93. Sarah Grant, Toward an Alternative Theology: Confessions of a Nondualist Christian
  94. Simone Weil, Waiting for God
  95. Symeon the New Theologian, The Discourses
  96. Teresa of Ávila, The Book of My Life
  97. Teresa of Calcutta, Come Be My Light—The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta
  98. Thérèse of Lisieux, Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
  99. Thomas Aquinas (and Albertus Magnus), Albert and Thomas: Selected Writings
  100. Thomas Keating, Invitation to Love
  101. Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion
  102. Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
  103. Thomas Traherne, Waking Up in Heaven
  104. Walter Hilton, The Scale of Perfection
  105. Wayne Teasdale, The Mystic Heart
  106. William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life and The Spirit of Love
  107. William of St. Thierry, On Contemplating God, Prayer, Meditations
  108. Willigis Jäger, The Way to Contemplation: Encountering God Today

Audio Recordings of Interest

Some Other Useful Books on Christian Mysticism and Contemplative Spirituality

Note: many of the following books are academic, rather than devotional, in tone.

Special Topics: the History of Christian Mysticism

Special Topics: the English Mystics

Special Topics: the Spanish Mystics

Special Topics: the German/Rhineland Mystics

Special Topics: Jesuit Mystics and Contemplatives

Special Topics: Eastern Orthodox Mystics

Special Topics: Protestant Mystics

Special Topics: Julian of Norwich

Special Topics: Evelyn Underhill

Special Topics: Thomas Merton

Special Topics: The Song of Songs

Special Topics: Deification

Special Topics: Benedictine and Cistercian Spirituality

Special Topics: Carthusian Spirituality

Special Topics: Centering Prayer and Christian Meditation

Special Topics: Eucharistic Devotion and Popular Piety

Special Topics: The Anamchara (Soul Friend) and Spiritual Direction

Special Topics: The New Monasticism


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