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PGCert Mystical Theology

Course length
  • Not available full-time
  • 1 year part-time
  • An honours degree (normally 2.1 or above) or equivalent in an appropriate subject

Look at the origins and development of mystical theology in the wider context of the Christian spiritual tradition. You will focus on major figures in the history of mystical theology, and by examining the texts closely, against the historical, cultural and spiritual background of their time, you will gain an understanding of mystical theology as a key element in Christian thought.

The timetable for 2016-17 can be found in the Postgraduate Options Handbook at the bottom of the page.

Teaching & Assessment

The programme consists of two taught modules. Each module usually has 11 weeks of two-hour seminars for one term. Students are assessed by a range of tasks which may include book reviews, essays and presentations.


The programme is part-time, with two modules taken over two terms. Occasionally these modules are both timetabled in the same term, allowing faster progress through the programme.
Foundations for the Study of Christian Spirituality

Examine theoretical issues surrounding religious experience and spirituality as an academic field which studies this experience.

The module will provide a foundation for the interdisciplinary academic study of spirituality.  The theoretical issues surrounding religious experience both as religious and ‘experience’ as such, and spirituality as an academic field which studies these experiences, will be investigated with a critical eye toward effective methodologies.  Students will have practical exposure to such methods by applying them to a spiritual classic.


History of Christian Mysticism to the Reformation

Focus on the writings of the major writers including Augustine, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross to show how Christian mysticism emerged and developed.

This module focuses on the historical tradition of Christian mysticism in Western Christianity up to (not including) the Reformation, the period of its longest sustained development.  Seven major writers are treated in detail: Augustine, Dionysius the Areopagite, Bernard of Clairvaux, Hadewijch of Antwerp, Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross. Some further authors are studied for background, such as Origen.  The writings of these authors, in translation, are the central object of study, with historical and cultural considerations brought to their interpretation.  A nexus of key themes is followed through the texts and the historical period to show how Christian mysticism emerged and developed.  The emphasis is historical, to retrieve the medieval history of Christian mysticism for present discussion and nourishment.