Mystical Theology and Contemporary Spiritual Practice: Renewing the Contemplative Tradition

Mystical Theology and Contemporary Spiritual Practice: Renewing the Contemplative Tradition


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In Mystical Theology and Contemporary Spiritual Practice several leading scholars explore key themes within the Christian mystical tradition, contemporary and historical. The overall aim of the book is to demonstrate the relevance of mystical theology to contemporary spiritual practice. Attention is given to the works of Baron von Hugel, Vladimir Lossky, Margery Kempe, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Thomas Merton, and Francisco de Osuna, as well as to a wide range of spiritual practices, including pilgrimage, spiritual direction, contemplative prayer and the quotidian spirituality of the New Monasticism. Christian mystical theology is shown to be a living tradition, which has vibrant and creative new expressions in contemporary spiritual practice. It is argued that mystical theology affirms something both ordinary and extraordinary which is fundamental to the Christian experience of prayer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781472480095
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 09/26/2017
Series: Contemporary Theological Explorations in Mysticism Series
Pages: 144
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Christopher C.H. Cook is Professor of Spirituality, Theology & Health in the Department of Theology & Religion at Durham University, an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist with Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, and an Honorary Minor Canon at Durham Cathedral. He trained at St George's Hospital Medical School, London, and worked in the psychiatry of substance misuse for over 25 years. He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 2001. He has research doctorates in psychiatry and in theology. He is Director of the Project for Spirituality, Theology & Health at Durham University. He is the author of The Philokalia and the Inner Life (Clarke, 2011) and editor of Spirituality and Narrative in Psychiatric Practice (Eds Cook, Powell & Sims, RCPsych Press 2016) and Spirituality, Theology and Mental Health (SCM, 2013). He is a member of the core research team for the Hearing the Voice project at Durham University.

Julienne McLean practices as a psychologist, psychotherapist and Jungian analyst in north London, as well as being a spiritual director and retreat director. She has been on the clinical team of St Marylebone Healing and Counselling Centre, London, for many years. She teaches at St Mary’s University College, Strawberry Hill, London and Sarum College, Salisbury, where she is a Visiting Scholar in Christian Spirituality. She facilitates a contemplative spirituality retreat programme and is the author of Towards Mystical Union (St Pauls, 2003, 2013), a modern spiritual and psychological commentary on St Teresa of Avila’s classic text, The Interior Castle.

Peter Tyler is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Spirituality at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. His recent books include The Pursuit of the Soul: Psychoanalysis, Soul-making and the Christian Tradition (T & T Clark, 2016), Picturing the Soul: Revisioning Psychotherapy and Spiritual Direction (Dharmaram, 2014), Teresa of Avila: Doctor of the Soul (Bloomsbury 2013) and The Bloomsbury Guide to Christian Spirituality (ed. with Richard Woods, Bloomsbury 2012). He is a registered psychotherapist as well as Director of the Centre for Initiatives in Spirituality and Reconciliation (InSpiRe) at St Mary’s.

Table of Contents


Peter Tyler, Julienne McLean and Christopher C.H. Cook

1 Baron Friedrich von Hügel on the Mystical Element of Religion: Has the Baron a Message for us Today?

Kallistos Ware

2 What Did Vladimir Lossky mean by ‘Mystical Theology’?

Andrew Louth

3 The Mystical Theology of Margery Kempe: Writing the Inner Life

Corrine Saunders

4 Unlikely Mystics: Durham Cathedral as mystical space for ordinary people

Rosalind Brown

5 The Renewal of Contemplative Traditions: New Monasticism and Quotidian Practices

Bernadette Flanagan

6 Wittgenstein Reads Merton: The Mystical Theology of Two Twentieth Century Masters

Peter Tyler

7 Mystical Theology and the Renewal of Contemplative Spiritual Practice

Julienne McLean and Christopher C.H. Cook

Concluding Reflections

Christopher C.H. Cook, Julienne McLean and Peter Tyler

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