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Teaching Mysticism

Parsons, William, ed.


The term “mysticism” has never been consistently defined or employed, either in religious traditions or in academic discourse. The essays in this volume, written by leading scholars in the field, offer informed and innovative ways of defining mysticism, as well as methods for grappling with its complexity in a classroom. Teaching Mysticism addresses the diverse literature surrounding mysticism in four interrelated parts. The first part features essays on the tradition and context of mysticism, devoted to drawing out and examining the mystical element in many religious traditions. The second part engages traditions and religiocultural strands in which “mysticism” is linked to other terms, such as shamanism, esotericism, and Gnosticism. The book’s third part focuses on methodological strategies for defining “mysticism” with respect to varying social spaces. The final essays demonstrate how contemporary social issues and movements have impacted the meaning, study, and pedagogy of mysticism. This comprehensive volume presents pedagogical reflections on how best to communicate mysticism from a variety of institutional spaces. It surveys the broad range of meanings of mysticism, its utilization in the traditions, the theories, and methods that have been used to understand it, and provides vital critical insight into the resulting controversies.

Additional Information

  • Hardback
  • 308 Pages
  • Published: December 2011
  • ISBN: 9780199751198
  • Series: Teaching Religious Studies

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