History of Christian Contemplative Practices

History of Christian Contemplative Practices
Starts from:Wed, February 27, 2019 9:30AM - 12:30PM
Campus Location

175 Royal Parade,Parkville,Victoria,Australia

Course Feature
  • Church History This unit is a post-graduate Elective in the disciplines of Spirituality (DS) and Church History (CH).
Class Description

DS9191J / CH9191J is the face-to-face class

DS9199J / CH9199J is the online class (Online students will be able to view the lectures within 48 hours after the weekly class with recordings available on ARK).

This unit explores the history of contemplative practices in Western Christian spirituality. The unit begins with an investigation of key biblical passages and then moves to the early Church Fathers including Origen, Augustine of Hippo and Pseudo‐Dionysius. The unit analyses key texts of monastic traditions, including St Benedict, early Carthusian writings, St Bernard of Clairvaux, Richard of St Victor, and St. Francis. The unit then moves to major male and female spiritual authors of the High and Late Middle Ages who wrote in the vernacular, including John of Ruusbroec, Eckhart, Hadewijch, and the Modern Devotion. Important texts from the Early Modern and Modern Period will also be studied, including the Carmelite spirituality of StJohn of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, St Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. The unit concludes with a consideration contemporary contemplative practices and a critical reflection on the relevance of the contemplative tradition.


Upon successful completion of this unit, it is expected that students will be able to:

  1. articulate a detailed knowledge of the history, content and context of selected spiritual texts
  2. analyse, critically interpret, research, and develop a sustained argument about the history of Christian contemplation
  3. critically reflect on the history of contemplative practices in dialogue with contemporary theology and spirituality
  4. synthesise the knowledge of spiritual authors from the past with one’s personal experiences, values, and beliefs, and if applicable, one’s ministry as a spiritual director.


Deborah Kent


Wednesday morning in Semester 1

First class commences on 27th February 2019


9:30am to 12:30pm, Wednesday’s during Semester 1


Jesuit College of Spirituality, 175 Royal Parade, Parkville VIC 3052

Nadal Classroom


For academic credit                       $2,448

Not for academic credit                $1,224


Boeve, Lieven, Yvesde Maesseneer and Stijnvanden Bossche.eds) Religious Experience and Contemporary Theological Epistemology. Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 188. Leuven:Leuven University Press and Peeters, 2005.

Dupré, Louis, and Don E. Saliers,eds. Christian Spirituality:Post‐Reformation and Modern. Vol.18, World Spirituality. An Encyclopedic History of the Religious Quest. NewYork:SCM, 1989.

Faesen, Rob.”What is a Mystical Experience? History and Interpretation.” Louvain Studies 23 (1999):221‐245.

McGrath, Alister E. Christian Spirituality:An Introduction. Blackwell:Oxford, 1999.

McGinn, Bernard, John Meyendorff, and Jean Leclerq,eds. Christian Spirituality. Origins to the twelfth century. Vol.16, World Spirituality. An Encyclopedic History of the Religious Quest. NewYork:Crossroad, 1985.

McGinn, Bernard. The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism. 5vols. NewYork:Crossroad, 1991‐2012.

Raitt, Jill,ed. Christian Spirituality:High Middle Ages and Reformation. Vol.17, World Spirituality. An Encyclopedic History of the Religious Quest. New York:Crossroad, 1987.

Mommaers, Paul and Janvan Bragt. Mysticism Buddhist and Christian:Encounters with Jan van Ruusbroec. NewYork:Crossroad, 1995.

Waaijman, Kees.“Spirituality‐A Multifaceted Phenomenon. Interdisciplinary Explorations.” Studies in Spirituality 17 (2007):1‐113

  • Deborah Kent


    Deborah Kent is the CEO-Principal of Jesuit College of Spirituality. Deborah is an experienced educator and business administrator. Deborah holds a Bachelor of Theology degree from the University of Divinity (Catholic Theological College), a Graduate Dipl...