Mysticism and Contemporary Life

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Mysticism and Contemporary Life

Essays in Honor of Bernard McGinn

Bernard McGinn is one of the greatest living historians and interpreters of Christian mysticism. His career spans more than 50 years and he has authored innumerable books, articles, and edited volumes on all dimensions of Christian mysticism. 

These essays by some of the most significant names in the contemporary field of spirituality seek to honor Prof. McGinn by examining the role of mysticism in contemporary life. These fifteen essays examine the fruit of McGinn's life work to contemplate the ways in which the history of mysticism is relevant to many dimensions of contemporary life. They also address the future of the study of Christian spirituality in general and mysticism in particular by evaluating the place of religious experience and spiritual practice in lives of an increasingly diverse, multi-cultural, and global cultural reality. Taken together these essays paint a picture of the current state of studies in mysticism and spirituality and point to some future trajectories that scholarly research and religious practice should pursue.

Reviews and endorsements

“Those of us already deeply indebted to Bernard McGinn’s work on mysticism will be even more so now he has been the prompt of this excellent collection of essays — wide-ranging, deeply learned, and to the heart.”
—Janet Martin Soskice
Professor Emerita of Philosophical Theology, University of Cambridge

“This rich collection celebrates — and in its own way continues — the remarkable project of Bernard McGinn’s history of western Christian mysticism. Like McGinn’s volumes, the book is a gift to all who seek to follow contemplative paths of the past or present, whether in the church, the academy, or the broader public. A worthy tribute to an indispensable scholar and teacher.”
—David Albertson
Associate Professor of Religion, University of Southern California

“Bernard McGinn is an internationally renowned medievalist who almost single-handedly changed the understanding of mysticism with his magisterial multi-volume study, The Presence of God. Markey and Higgins’ volume brings together some of the world’s most distinguished theologians to reflect on the impact McGinn’s scholarship has had not just in historical theology but on a wide-range of sub-fields. The essays are engrossing because, as the title indicates, they investigate the implications of McGinn’s work on the history of Christian mysticism for contemporary life and theory. David Tracy’s essay sets the tone in addressing “the enormous contribution which a mystical element can make to fundamental theology” (10), philosophy, and metaphysics. Other essays explore similar connections between, on the one hand, the many dimensions of mysticism that McGinn has opened up to view and, on the other hand, and issues in epistemology, practical theology, theories of religion, spirituality, and activism. It is a marvelous, stimulating book that generates new ideas.”
—Julia Lamm
Professor of Theology, Georgetown University

Hardcover / 350 pages
Dimensions: 6 x 9