Course Code
RELI 0080
Course Type
Subject Credit
Course Availability

The theologians and ecclesiastics of the first Christian centuries drew on deep wells of Biblical writing and Greek philosophy, as well as the most intense forms of personal experience, when they sought direct and individual engagement with their God.  One result was a remarkably rich, sophisticated and compelling literature which has helped to shape Christian life and theology in every century to the present. Careful exploration of  context and text together allows students to trace these spiritual pioneers.

Sample Syllabus

  • Classical Roots & Platonic Traditions
  • Biblical Origins, Old and New
  • The Apostolic Fathers and the Gift of the Holy Spirit
  • Origen and the Alexandrian School
  • Gregory of Nyssa: Progressing to the Unreachable God
  • Stillness and the Mysticism of the Desert
  • Augustine, Contemplation and Mystical Illumination
  • Pseudo-Dionysius and the Negative Way

Introductory Reading

  • Louth, A., The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition : from Plato to Denys. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2nd edn, 2007
  • McGinn, B., The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism. Vol. 1:  The Foundations of Mysticism. London: SMCM, 1991
  • Kenney, J.P., The Mysticism of Saint Augustine: Rereading the Confessions. New York, NY : Routledge, 2005
  • Happold, F.C., Mysticism: a Study and an Anthology. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970
  • Clément, O. et al. (eds), The Roots of Christian Mysticism: Texts from the Patristic Era with Commentary. London : New City, 10th rev’d edn, 2013