This unit explores developments in mystical piety in the Middle Ages. The unit will pay particular attention to the Rhineland Mystics. It will also consider the religious response to urbanization as expressed by the Beguine Movement and the emergence of mendicant friars. The development of particularly feminine responses of women to mysticism and relationship of women mystics to the wider church will also be examined. A seminar based unit, it emphasises the reading of texts and the interpretative process involved in a receptive and critical reading of Medieval sources. It also explores some contemporary approaches to the interpretation of Medieval women’s spiritual experience in a social and cultural context. Students will be required to read and to analyse primary sources from medieval writers including: Hildegard of Bingen; Mechtilde of Magdeburg; Margueritte de Porette, Gertrude the Great, Meister Eckhardt, Francis and Clare, Bonaventure, Catherine of Siena, Angela of Foligno

Unit Code: CH9121C

Points: 24.0

Unit Level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit Discipline: Church History

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Catholic Theological College

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Learning Outcomes


Situate significant spiritual movements in the Middle Ages.


Identify a range of spiritual styles and responses in their cultural and historical context.


Analyse the relationship of women mystics to their culture and the Church.


Critically evaluate the role of mysticism as a means of renewal for the Church


Demonstrate an understanding of a range of critical approaches to the study of these texts.


Critique the development of mysticism in the light of contextual development and its enduring relevance to the spiritual life of the Church.


Lectures and seminars


Type Description Wordcount Weight (%)

7,000 word essay

7000 100.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 20 Jul, 2017

Unit Record last updated: 2019-09-24 22:48:29 +1000