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Commitments to Medieval Mystical Texts within Contemporary Contexts

Leuven ― 7-8 September 2012

Why do we, as contemporary scholars within the field of Christian spirituality, privilege the reading of medieval mystical texts as our focus? How do we define their ability to uniquely address relevant issues for readers today? These meta-questions on the meaningfulness of our scholarship seek to encourage critical reflection on our own approaches to the medieval texts as well as on our scholarly and personal relations to others (academy, Church and society) mediated by such texts. This conference aims to provide a dialogical forum for scholars in this field from distinct approaches (theology, philosophy, and literature).


Institute for the Study of Spirituality
Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies
Catholic University of Leuven


The Holy Spirit College
Louis-Janssens Hall
Naamsestraat 40, B-3000 Leuven


7 September 2012 (Friday)

The Mass will be served in the chapel of the Holy Spirit College from 8:45




Welcome: Lieven Boeve (Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Catholic University of Leuven)


Session 1 <long presentations by invited speakers>

Rik Van Nieuwenhove (Mary Immaculate College)

Some Reflections on Medieval Mystical Texts as ‘Classic’ Texts in the Gadamerian Sense

Edward Howells (Heythrop College)

Reading Medieval Mystical Texts for Personal Transformation Today: An Academic Suggestion


Coffee break


Session 2 <short presentations>

Jeffrey Fisher (Carroll University)

Light Shines in the Darkness: Postmodern Retrievals of Medieval Mystical Imagery

Philip Gonzalez (Catholic University of Leuven)

Analogia Entis as a Marian Spirituality




Session 3 <long presentations by invited speakers>

Dietmar Mieth (University of Tübingen)

Meister Eckhart on Poverty and Wealth

Marie-Anne Vannier (University of Lorraine)

Eckhart’s Reception Today


Coffee break


Session 4 <short presentations>

Donata Schoeller (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich)

Creatio Continua and Pragmatism

Steven DeLay (Rice University)

The Rose without Why and the Lily without Toil: Self, Resignation, and Appropriation in Eckhart and Kierkegaard

Patrick Cooper (Catholic University of Leuven)

Abiding by Love’s Demands: Retrieving Ruusbroec’s Understanding of ‘Minne’



8 September 2012 (Saturday)

The Mass will be served in the chapel of the Holy Spirit College from 9:00


Session 5 <long presentations by invited speakers>

Thom Mertens (University of Antwerp)

Mystical Texts as Literature

Miguel Norbert Ubarri (University of Antwerp)

"Een spieghel der eeuwigher salicheit” of Blessed Jan van Ruusbroec: Theological Foundation That Revealed the Mystical Dimension of the Experience and Teachings of Blessed Don Manuel González García, the Bishop of the Eucharist and Abandoned Tabernacles


Coffee break


Session 6 <short presentations>

Yoshihiko Abe (Waseda University)

Hearing the Voice from the Beyond: Reading Mystical Text of Suso in Japan Today

Siu Ping Chan (Catholic University of Leuven)

Relevance of Comparative Study of Christian and Daoist Mysticism within the Contemporary Context of Chinese Christians




Session 7 <short presentations>

Bernadette Flanagan (All Hallows College - Dublin City University)

The Life of Mary of Oignies: Beguine Lessons for New Monasticism

Rob Faesen (Catholic University of Leuven)

Albert Deblaere’s Study of Mysticism and His Concern for Christian Humanism

John Arblaster (Catholic University of Leuven)

The Blessed and the Burned. Reading Medieval Mystical Women Today


Coffee break


Session 8 <short presentations>

Louisa van der Pol (Radboud University of Nijmegen)

An Industrious Gardener Is Looking Upwards: The Theme of Gotes Geswîgen in Meister Eckhart’s Treatise The Book of Divine Consolation and in C.O. Jellema’s Poem ‘Hovenier’

Sergi Sancho Fibla (Pompeu Fabra University)

Texts as Images: The Visibility and the Role of Memory in the Process of Writing and Reading Medieval Mystical Works

Satoshi Kikuchi (Catholic University of Leuven)

The Past Is Addressed to the Present: Eckhart’s Understanding of Incarnation


Conclusion: Rob Faesen (Catholic University of Leuven, Head of the Institute for the Study of Spirituality)