Teaching Mysticism

Front Cover
William B. Parsons, William Barclay Parsons
Oxford University Press, USA, Dec 16, 2011 - Religion - 308 pages
The term ''mysticism'' has never been consistently defined or employed, either in religious traditions or in academic discourse. The essays in this volume offer ways of defining what mysticism is, as well as methods for grappling with its complexity in a classroom.This volume addresses the diverse literature surrounding mysticism in four interrelated parts. The first part includes 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 religio-cultural strands in which ''mysticism'' is linked to other terms, such as shamanism, esotericism, and Gnosticism. The volume's third part focuses on methodological strategies for defining ''mysticism,'' with respect to varying social spaces. The final essays show how contemporary social issues and movements have impacted the meaning, study, and pedagogy of mysticism.Teaching Mysticism 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 critical insight into the resulting controversies.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Other editions - View all

About the author (2011)


William B. Parsons is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University. His publications include The Enigma of the Oceanic Feeling, Religion and Psychology: Mapping the Terrain, Mourning Religion, Disciplining Freud on Religion, and dozens of essays in multiple journals and edited books. He has served as Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University, Director of the Rice University Humanities Research Center, Editor of Religious Studies Review, and has been a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) at Hebrew University.

Bibliographic information