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The Cambridge Companion to Christian Mysticism


  • 5 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 401 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.66 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 248.2/2
  • Dewey version: 23
  • LC Classification: BV5082.3 .C35 2012
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Mysticism
    • RELIGION / General.--bisacsh

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521863650)

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$119.00 (P)

The Cambridge Companion to Christian Mysticism is a multi-authored interdisciplinary guide to the study of Christian mysticism, with an emphasis on the third through the seventeenth centuries. The book is thematically organized in terms of the central contexts, practices, and concepts associated with the mystical life in early, medieval, and early modern Christianity. Written by leading authorities and younger scholars from a range of disciplines, the volume both provides a clear introduction to the Christian mystical life and articulates a bold new approach to the study of mysticism. The book looks beyond the term “mysticism,” which was an early modern invention, to explore the ways in the ancient terms “mystic” and “mystical” were used in the Christian tradition: What kinds of practices, modes of life, and experiences were described as “mystical”? What understanding of Christianity and of the life of Christian perfection is articulated through mystical interpretations of scripture, mystical contemplation, mystical vision, mystical theology, or mystical union? What practices and experiences provided the framework within which one could describe mystical phenomena? And what topics are at the forefront of the contemporary study of Christian mystical practice and experience?


Introduction Amy Hollywood and Patricia Z. Beckman; Part I. Contexts: 1. Early monasticism Douglas Burton-Christie; 2. Song, experience, and the book in Benedictine monasticism Amy Hollywood; 3. New religious movements in medieval western Europe Walter Simons; 4. Early modern reformations Edward Howells; Part II. Key Terms: 5. Apophatic and cataphatic theology Andrew Louth; 6. Lectio divina E. Ann Matter; 7. Meditatio/meditation Thomas Bestul; 8. Oratio/prayer Rachel Fulton Brown; 9. Visio/vision Veerle Fraeters; 10. Raptus/rapture Dyan Elliott; 11. Unio mystica/mystical union Bernard McGinn; 12. Actio et contemplatio/action and contemplation Charlotte Radler; Part III. Contemporary Questions: 13. Latin and the vernaculars Barbara Newman; 14. Transmission Sara S. Poor; 15. Writing Charles M. Stang; 16. The body and its senses Patricia Dailey; 17. Mysticism and visuality Jeffrey Hamburger; 18. Emotions Fiona Somerset; 19. Authority Mary Frohlich; 20. Gender Alison Weber; 21. Sexuality Constance Furey; 22. Time and memory Patricia Dailey.


Advanced Praise: “A far-ranging collection of essays by leading scholars in the field, particularly appealing for its attention to definitions and aspects of current scholarly interest. A Companion that goes far to take the mystification out of Christian mysticism.” – Robert E. Lerner, Northwestern University

“With its comprehensive choice of topics and its historical scope, this superb volume is much more than a handbook. It is a place where Christian mysticism will be rediscovered through the multiple voices that are collected here. All of them are acute in the analyses of key terms, concepts, and historical developments – and all of them stimulate further conversation about these essential topics in intellectual and cultural history.” – Niklaus Largier, University of California at Berkeley

“A brilliant array of scholars addresses the complex and varied phenomena gathered under the rubric ‘Christian mysticism.’ Both insisting that historical specificity matters and situating these ancient, medieval, and early modern texts in twenty-first- century conversations, this volume truly and profoundly demonstrates what editor Amy Hollywood asserts: the study of mysticism is indeed ‘endless.’” – Carolyn Dinshaw, New York University


Amy Hollywood, Patricia Z. Beckman, Douglas Burton-Christie, Walter Simons, Edward Howells, Andrew Louth, E. Ann Matter, Thomas Bestul, Rachel Fulton Brown, Veerle Fraeters, Dyan Elliott, Bernard McGinn, Charlotte Radler, Barbara Newman, Sara S. Poor, Charles M. Stang, Patricia Dailey, Jeffrey Hamburger, Fiona Somerset, Mary Frohlich, Alison Weber, Constance Furey

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