History of Christian Contemplative Practices

History of Christian Contemplative Practices
Starts from:Sun, October 24, 2021
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).
  • 2021 This unit is not being offered in 2020 however, will be considered in the planning of the 2021 timetable. If you are interested in studying this unit, please email us at enquiries@jcs.edu.au to register your interest.
Class Description


Online class

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.



This unit was offered in 2019 and will be offered again in 2021-2022.



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

Nadal Classroom

FEES – For 10 cp units. Double for 20 cp units.

Students enrolled for academic credit | $2,266 Domestic Students | $2,925 International Students

Audit students (not for academic credit) | $1,133


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

  • Ineke Cornet


    Ineke studied history and theology at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands, and obtained a PhD in Theology from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, as well as a PhD in Literature from the University of Antwerp, in 2011.