I. Course Aims: This course explores the evolution and development of the Christian spiritual mystical traditions and prayer practices from the origins of Christianity to the present day. How does mysticism differ from Christian spirituality? It analyzes mysticism’s origins in philosophical traditions based upon neoplatonic theories as well as the ecstatic practices of early Christians. One goal of the course is to problematize the term "mysticism" and trace its linguistic and philosophical development through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Questions we will be asking include: Is mysticism a solitary or a communal experience? Do mystics who engage in somatic practices (such as copious weeping, bleeding, or fasting) represent a "less pure" variant of mysticism than those who prefer solitary contemplation? Do mystical practices change to reflect new societal values, such as the Protestant Reformation and the Pentecostal movements of today? Is mystical spirituality different for men and women? We will also explore the influence of mystical traditions in "mainstream" Christian spirituality.
Jantzen, Grace. Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism. Cambridge University Press: 1995
Julian of Norwich: Showings . Paulist Press: 1978
Chadwick, Henry, trans., St. Augustine: Confessions. Oxford World Classics: 2008
Zum Brunn, E., and Épiney-Burgard, G., Women Mystics in Europe. Paragon House: 1988
Recommended: full text available on Course Reserve and excerpts available on E-Res:
Bernard of Clairvaux: Selected Writings (trans. By G.R. Evans). Paulist Press: 1987
The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works. Penguin: 1978
The Shakers, ed. Robley Whitson (Paulist Press, 1983)
Meister Eckhart, The Essential Sermons, trans. Edmund Colledge and Bernard McGinn
Origen: An Exhortation to Martyrdom, etc., trans. Rowan Greer
- Discussions and weekly meditation papers: 25%
Because critical reading of the primary texts is so important, there will be weekly writing assignments of about 2 typed pages based upon the reading for that week. In the Christian mystical tradition (stemming from monastic practice), reading is viewed as a meditative activity that leads to deeper understanding. These papers will serve as the basis for discussions. Active participation in discussions is a critical component of this class. That being said, you should not come to class if you are sick, especially if you are coughing or sneezing. In that case please email your weekly paper along with questions and comments you would ask in the discussion. Weekly papers cannot be turned in late.
- Midterm and Final exam: 20% and 30%
Midterm and final exam questions will be given in advance. Both exams will be take-home and will be due as noted in the syllabus. Both exams must be typed and double-spaced.
- Term paper: 25%
The term paper is an opportunity for you to pursue a topic in greater detail than class time allows. It will give you the chance to read, analyze, and write clearly about a particular mystic or topic that interests you. Each student is expected to choose a particular aspect of Christian mysticism that they would like to learn more about. You are not expected to do outside research, but to read and analyze more of a particular mystic's writings in greater depth than class time allows. Topics are due March 22 (10 points). The preliminary draft is due April 17 (40 points). Final draft is due April 26 (50 points). All deadlines are final.
PART I: ORIGINS
Week 1: January 14 and 16: Introduction: What is mysticism? Ways of Knowing
Example: Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart
Handout: The Roman Empire, 1- 300 C.E.
Definitions of Mysticism
Reading: Happold, Mysticism, introduction (E-Res), pages 18-34
January 18: Judaism, mystery religions, Christianity; Ways of Knowings
Reading: Jantzen, Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism,pages 1-18
Week 2: January 21 nd 23: Greek Intellectual Thought: Plato and Plotinus
Reading: Plotinus excerpts:
Fourth Ennead, Tractate 1: On the Essence of the Soul
Fifth Ennead, Second Tractate: the Origin and Order of the Beings
Fifth Ennead, Fifth Tractate: On the Nature of the Good
Second Ennead, Fourth Tractate: Matter : Through #10
Sixth Ennead, Fourth Tractate: On the Integral Omnipresence of the Authentic Existent : through fifth tractate, #5
Jantzen, Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism,pages 26-58
January 25 : Origen
Reading: Origen, Introduction to The Song of Songs (E-Res)
Jantzen, Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism, 59-85
Second Century: Christians in Conflict
Origen and the Mystical Tradition
Origen's Three-Fold Path
Week 3: January 28 and 30: Gnosticism and Roman Christianity
Reading: "Hymn of the Robe of Glory": poem version, prose version
Jantzen, Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism,85-95
Valentinian's Cosmic Scheme
Features of the Proto-Orthodox Churches
February 1 : Orthodoxy takes shape: Constantine and monasticism; Augustine
Reading: Chadwick, The Confessions of St. Augustine, book 1
Rome Becomes Christian
Week 4: February 4,6,8: Augustine and the Pseudo-Dionysius Augustine
Reading: Pusey, The Confessions of St. Augustine, books 7-10, 12
Augustine: Major Ideas
Readings: Pseudo-Dionysius, The Mystical Theology
The Heavenly Hierarchy, chapter 1
The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy
Jantzen, Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism,95-109
PART II: MEDIEVAL MYSTICISM: MYSTICISM OF THE HEART
Week 5: February 11,13, 15: Twelfth-Century Stabilization
Feb. 11 and 13 : The Twelfth Century Stabilization; Hildegard of Bingen and Bernard of Clairvaux
Reading: Women Mystics, "Hildegard of Bingen"Jantzen, Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism,157-188
Bernard of Clairvaux, On Loving God
February 15 :Bernard of Clairvaux and Beatrice of Nazareth
Reading: Bernard of Clairvaux, On Loving God, and Sermons (P/Class)
Reading: Jantzen, Power, Gender, and Christian Mysticism, 123-133
Reading: Women Mystics, "Beatrice of Nazareth"
Class insights about Hildegard
Week 6: February 18,20, 22: New Kinds of Piety
St. Bernard's Apology for the Failure of the Second Crusade
Feb. 18 : Waldensians, Cathari, Franciscans
Excerpts from St. Francis
Feb. 20 : Hadewijch of Antwerp and the Beguines
Reading:Women Mystics, "Hadewijch of Antwerp"
A Hadewijch Glossary
Feb. 22: Marguerite Porete
Reading:Women Mystics, "Marguerite Porete"
MIDTERM HANDED OUT IN CLASS PART III:
MEDIEVAL MYSTICISM: INTERIOR MYSTICISMS
Week 7: Feb. 25, 27, March 1: Meister Eckhart
Feb. 25 and 27 : Meister Eckhart
Reading: Meister Eckhart, selections (E-Res)
March 1: Eckhart, Hadewijch, and Porete
Common Vocabulary in Eckhart, Hadewijch and Beatrijs
Midterm due March 1
Week 8: March 18, 20, 22: English mystics
March 18: the Cloud of Unknowing
The Language of Ineffability
March 20 and 22: Julian of Norwich
Reading: Julian, Revelations of Divine Love
PAPER TOPICS DUE IN CLASS.
PART IV: MYSTICISM AND THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION
Week 9: March 25, 27, 29: The Protestant Reformation
March 25 , 27, 29: Anabaptists and Pietists
Reading: Jantzen, chapter 8 and 146-159
Early Anabaptist Spirituality (E-Res): Hans Hut, Essence of True Baptism, 77-81; Leonard Schiemer, Three Kinds of Grace, 83-97; Peter Walpot, True Yieldedness, 167-171
The Pietists: Selected Writings (E-Res)August Francke, Foretaste of Eternal Life, 149-158; The Pietists: Selected Writings (E-Res)August Francke, Foretaste of Eternal Life, 149-158; Philip Spener, Pia Desideria, 31-37; Gottfried Arnold, Mystery of the Divine Sophia, 219-226; Count von Zinzendorf, Thoughts for the Learned, 291-295, and Concerning Saving Faith, 304-324
Week 10: April 1, 3, 5: Teresa of Avila; Greek Orthodox Mysticism
The Interior CastleChapters: The First Mansion, chapter 1; The Second Mansion; The Seventh Mansion, chapters 1-3
The Life of St. TheresaChapters9, 18 and20
The Way of Perfection: Explains the Meaning of Mental Prayer Through Continues the same subject. Explains the Prayer of Quiet.
Week 11: April 8, 10, 12: Jacob Boehme
Readings: Jacob Boehme, The Way to Christ (E-Res): A Little Prayer, 56-62; The Fifth Treatise, 163-170; The Seventh Treatise, 194-226
Jacob Boehme, The Way to Christ:Book 3, "Of Regeneration", chapters 2, 3 and 4Book 4, "Of the Supersensual Life", Dialogues 1 and 2
Week 12: April 15, 17, 19: New kinds of spirituality, 18th and 19th centuries: Shakers, Quakers, and Pentecostalists
PRELIMINARY PAPER DRAFT DUE APRIL 15 IN CLASS.
Readings: "Let Your Words Be Few" (E-Res)
George Fox, Autobiography
The Shakers (E-Res)
About the Shakers
Belton ChurchSpeaking in Tongues
Drunk in the Spirit
Ethiopian Praise Service
Healed in the Spirit
Slain in the Spirit
Week 13: April 22,24, 26: Pentecostalism continued and Christian Nature Mysticism
April 22: Film: Raise the Dead
PAPER DUE APRIL 26 in class.
April 22, 24: Christian Nature Mysticism
About Richard Jefferies
Richard Jefferies,The Story of My Heart
Thomas Traherne, Centuries of Meditation
BRING READINGS/VIDEO/WEBSITES FOR NEXT WEEK.
Week 14:April 29, May 1 and 3 : Re-Thinking Mystic Ways Today
Reading: Jantzen, chapter 9Mama Lola (E-Res)
the Taize Community
FINAL EXAM QUESTIONS WILL BE HANDED OUT MAY 3.
FINAL EXAM IS DUE TUESDAY, MAY 7 BY 9 A.M. HAND IN AT MY OFFICE (ASCENSION 11).
"Taizé" redirects here. For other uses, see Taizé (disambiguation).
The Taizé Community is an ecumenicalChristianmonastic community in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France. It is composed of more than one hundred brothers, from Catholic and Protestant traditions, who originate from about thirty countries across the world. It was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger Schütz, a ReformedProtestant. Guidelines for the community’s life are contained in The Rule of Taizé written by Brother Roger and first published in French in 1954.
The community has become one of the world's most important sites of Christian pilgrimage, with a focus on youth. Over 100,000 young people from around the world make pilgrimages to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing, and communal work. Through the community's ecumenical outlook, they are encouraged to live in the spirit of kindness, simplicity and reconciliation. The community's church, the Church of Reconciliation, was inaugurated on 6 August 1962. It was designed by a Taizé member and architect, Brother Denis. Young Germans from Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, created for reconciliation after World War II, assumed the work of building it. Owing to the founder's commitment, since its inception the community has evolved into an important site for Catholic–Lutheran ecumenism. A Catholic, Brother Alois, succeeded as prior after his predecessor's death in 2005.
The Taizé Community was founded by Brother Roger (Roger Schütz) in 1940. He pondered what it really meant to live a life according to the Scriptures and began a quest for a different expression of the Christian life. A year after this decision, Schütz reflected:
The defeat of France awoke powerful sympathy. If a house could be found there, of the kind I had dreamed of, it would offer a possible way of assisting some of those most discouraged, those deprived of a livelihood; and it could become a place of silence and work.[this quote needs a citation]
Because his native Switzerland was neutral and thus less affected by the war, Schütz felt as if France would be ideal for his vision, seeing it as a "land of poverty, a land of wartime suffering, but a land of inner freedom."[this quote needs a citation] He eventually settled in Taizé, which was a small desolate village just north of Cluny, the site of a historically influential Christian monastic foundation.
In September 1940, Schütz purchased a small house that would eventually become the home of the Taizé Community. Only miles south of the demarcation line that separated Vichy France and the Zone occupée, Brother Roger’s home became a sanctuary to countless war refugees seeking shelter. On November 11, 1942, the Gestapo occupied Roger’s house while he was in Switzerland collecting funds to aid in his refuge ministry. Roger was not able to return to his home in Taizé until the autumn of 1944, when France was liberated.
In 1941, Brother Roger had published a few small brochures outlining several facets of a Christ-centred communal life together. These brochures prompted two young men to apply, soon followed by a third. They all lived in Switzerland in a flat owned by Roger’s family until after the war when they began a new life together in the French countryside. Over the next few years several other men would join the community. On Easter Sunday 1949, seven brothers committed themselves to a life following Christ in simplicity, celibacy and community.
Growth and current situation
In the years that followed, others joined. In 1969, a young Belgian doctor became the first Catholic to pledge his life to the Taizé Community. More brothers from Reformed, Anglican and Catholic backgrounds joined the community. Soon the Brothers of Taizé were making trips to take aid to people in both rural and urban areas. They began forming “fraternities” of brothers in other cities that sought to be “signs of the presence of Christ among men, and bearers of joy”. Since 1951, the brothers have lived, for longer or shorter periods, in small fraternities among the poor in India (chiefly in Calcutta), Bangladesh, the Philippines, Algeria, Brazil, Kenya, Senegal, and the United States (chiefly in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan, New York City).
In August 2005 Brother Roger, aged 90, was killed in a knife attack by a mentally ill woman. At his funeral, Brother Roger had an ecumenical dream fulfilled. The presider at his funeral was the president of the Vatican's council for the unity of Christians, Cardinal Walter Kasper. Anglican bishop Nigel McCulloch of Manchester, England, who represented Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, read the first reading in English. The second reading was read in French by the Rev. Jean-Arnold de Clermont, president of the Conference of European Churches, and in German by Bishop Wolfgang Huber, head of the Evangelical Church in Germany. Cardinals and archbishops, Orthodox, Anglican and other religious leaders and international politicians joined ordinary Christians in prayer during the funeral, including the President of Germany, Horst Köhler, and the retired Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Lustiger. His funeral was attended by approximately 10,000 people.
In 2010, for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Taizé, five years after Brother Roger's death, ecumenical messages of love and benediction were received from church leaders as varied as:
- Pope Benedict XVI
- Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople
- Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow
- The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams
- The General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, Ishmael Noko
- The General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, Setri Nyomi
- The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Olav Fykse-Tveit
- The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu
- The Anglican Archbishop of the Cape, Thabo Cecil Makgoba
- The President of the German Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch
- The President of the Netherlands Episcopal Conference, Monsignor van Luyn
- The President of the Community of Christian Churches in the Canton of Vaud, Pastor Martin Hoegger.
At the end of 2010, the community was composed of about one hundred brothers, from Protestant and Catholic traditions, who originate from about thirty countries across the world. The community is currently led by Brother Alois, a German-born Catholic, who had been appointed by Brother Roger before his death.
Engagement with youth culture
In the 1960s young people began to visit the Taizé community. The first international young adults' meeting was organized in Taizé in 1966 with 1400 participants from 30 countries.
The village church of Taizé, which had been used for the community's prayers, became too small to accommodate the pilgrims. A new church, the Church of Reconciliation, was built in the early 1960s with the help of volunteers, and expanded several times in the subsequent decades, first with tents, and then with simple wooden annexes.
In 1970, in response to student protests taking place all over Europe and the world, as well as the Second Vatican Council, Brother Roger announced a "Council of Youth", whose main meeting took place in 1974.
At the end of the 1970s, the meetings and surrounding activities began to be referred to by the Brothers as a "Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth". The community decided to focus on youth.
Music and worship
The community, though Western European in origin, has sought to include people and traditions worldwide. They have sought to demonstrate this in the music and prayers where songs are sung in many languages, and have included chants and icons from the Eastern Orthodox tradition. The music emphasizes simple phrases, usually lines from Psalms or other pieces of Scripture, repeated and sometimes also sung in canon. Earlier Taizé community music was conceived and composed by Jacques Berthier. Later Joseph Gelineau became a major contributor to the music.
Ecumenical services based on this model and music are held in many churches throughout the world.
Young adult meetings
Throughout the year, meetings for young adults between 17 and 30 years old (and, within certain limits, for adults and families with children) take place in Taizé. The number of visitors reaches more than 5000 during the summer and on Easter. Meetings usually last from Sunday to Sunday, though it is also possible to just come for a few days, or, for young volunteers, to stay for a longer time.
Several sisters also help with running the meetings. However, they are not "Taizé Sisters". These sisters come from various orders, most notably the Catholic order of St. Andrew from Belgium. The Sisters of St. Andrew live in the neighboring village Ameugny.
The schedule of a typical day in the youth meetings:
- Morning prayer
- Introduction to the day with a brother of the community followed by quiet reflection or small group discussion
- Midday prayer
- Song practice (optional)
- Tea time
- Workshops (optional)
- Evening prayer
- Informal gathering at Oyak, a common area at Taizé
The evening prayer is broadcast every Saturday at 22:00 Central European Time by the German radio station Domradio and provided online as a podcast.
See also: List of cities hosting Taizé meetings
The Taizé Community attempts to send pilgrims back from youth meetings to their local churches, to their parishes, groups or communities, to undertake, with many others, a “Pilgrimage of Trust on Earth.” Every year around New Year (usually from 28 December to 1 January), a meeting in a large European city attracts several tens of thousands of young adults. It is organized by brothers of the Taizé Community, sisters of St. Andrew, and young volunteers from all over Europe, and from the host city. The participants stay with local families or in very simple group accommodations. In the morning, they take part in a program organized by the parish closest to their accommodation. For their midday meal, all participants travel to a central location, usually the local exhibition halls. The meal is followed by a common prayer, and the afternoon is spent in workshops covering faith, art, politics and social topics. In the evening, everyone meets again for the evening meal and an evening prayer.
In his "Unfinished Letter", published after his death, Brother Roger is quoted to have proposed to "widen" the "Pilgrimage of Trust" originating from the Taizé community. As a result, international meetings for young adults have begun to take place, beginning with Kolkata in India in 2006. The program closely resembles the European meetings, though some aspects, such as the songs, are often adapted to the local culture.
- ^"The Rule of Taizé | Brother Roger | 9780281068272 | Publishing Christian Books". Spckpublishing.co.uk. 2005-08-16. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- ^Alain Woodrow (19 August 2005). "Obituary: Brother Roger Schutz". The Guardian. London.
- ^"The Beginnings - Taizé". Taize.fr. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- ^"A lifelong commitment - Taizé". Taize.fr. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- ^"The Brothers of Taizé", TIME Magazine, September 5, 1960
- ^Taizé ecumenical community founder Frère Roger assassinated, Wikinews
- ^Tagliabue, John. "At His Funeral, Brother Roger Has an Ecumenical Dream Fulfilled". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- ^Allen, Peter. "Some 10,000 Christians gather in Taize for funeral of Brother Roger". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
- ^"Celebration of the 70th anniversary of Taizé - Messages received - Taizé". Taize.fr. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- ^Archived August 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^"BBC - Religions - Christianity: Taizé". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- ^"Religion: The Pilgrims of Taiz". TIME. 1974-04-29. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- ^"At the Wellspring of Faith - Taizé". Taize.fr. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- ^ ab"Taize Worship". Retrieved 2009-03-21.
- ^"Around the World - Taizé". Taize.fr. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- ^"What happens each day? - Taizé". Taize.fr. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- ^"Meditative Gesänge und viele junge Menschen unterschiedlichster Herkunft". Domradio.de. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- ^"A pilgrimage of trust on earth - Taizé". Taize.fr. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- ^"Fil Info | Taizé : 30 000 jeunes chrétiens rassemblés en Alsace". Lalsace.fr. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- ^"Taize in Berlin: learn to trust in Christ". News.va. Retrieved 2015-09-05.
- ^"Brother Roger's unfinished letter - Taizé". Taize.fr. Retrieved 2015-09-05.