Vancouver School of Theology

Forming thoughtful, engaged and generous Christian leaders for the church in the 21st century


SP522—Clothed in God: Women Mystics and the Christian Tradition

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Instructor: Lynne McNaughton

Mysticism, as Dorothee Soelle defines it, is the seeking of experience of direct union with God. It is not for a few select heroic spirits or mentally unstable visionaries who flee the world, but a call for all of us as human beings to see the divine in our connection and service to the world God loves. This course will explore the lives, art and writing of several women mystics in different historical contexts and from a variety of traditions, bold voices to guide and inspire us in the 21st century. With language and images from domestic chores and administration, child- bearing and mothering, but also erotic desire and friendship, nature and community life, these women give expression to their experience of God. Although full of deep theological insight, many were dismissed by the institutional church. We will encounter, amongst others, some of Macrina, Hildegard of Bingen, Mechtild of Magdeburg, the Beguines, Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Sienna, Hadewijch, Teresa of Avila, Queen Marguerite of Navarre (patron of Jean Calvin), Margaret Fell, Anne Bathurst, Evelyn Underhill, and Mary Oliver. In addition to figures from the western tradition, we will engage lesser-known but important voices from non- western and indigenous cultures. Bring your sense of wonder and your willingness to play.

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