CS623: Introduction to Judeo-Christian Mysticism
Instructor: L. Bennett
Mysticism is defined as 1) the beliefs, ideas, or mode of thought of mystics; 2) a doctrine of an immediate spiritual intuition of truths believed to transcend ordinary understanding, or of a direct, intimate union of the soul with God through contemplation or ecstasy; 3) obscure thought or speculation.
In this course, we will examine the mysticism that exists within the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, and how this informs and deepens our understanding of Man’s relationship with God. We will be primarily focusing on definition 2 above, in that there is a direct body of knowledge within the Jewish and Christian belief systems which talks about how a person achieves “intimate union with God” and what our place in the Cosmos really is.
Many of the writings in the Bible are veiled references to the Mysteries within our religion, and we will examine how those Mysteries were “hidden” and how we can access that information through meditation, prayer, and devout seeking for Truth. The mystic journey of a Christian is into a new birth as a new creature, and this course will help to outline that developmental process that begins with accepting Jesus, and God, into our hearts and lives.
We will also discuss various practices and how they affect our role as ministers, priests, and Children of the Most High God. Additionally, if time permits in this introductory course, we will introduce several Christian mystics and their writings to the class.
Successful completion of this class should help the student to deepen their personal relationship with God and assess where, in terms of progress on a spiritual journey they personally stand; moreover, as spiritual ministers, this information will aid us in understanding and having compassion for the journey, and adventure, that God has designed for our brothers and sisters who are in our care as members of our flock.