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The Crisis of Mysticism: Quietism in 17th Century Spain, Italy, and France

Thu, May 6 at 7:00pm
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Bernard McGinnUniversity of Chicago

Rev. David TracyUniversity of Chicago

Sr. Sandra Schneiders, IHMJesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

Willemien OttenUniversity of Chicago Divinity School

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Free and open to the public. This event will be held online through Zoom (registration required) and live-streamed to YouTube. This event is co-sponsored by the Collegium Institute and the Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion.

The Crisis of Mysticism (Herder & Herder, 2021), by Bernard McGinn is the first book in English in seventy years to give a full account of the struggle over mystical spirituality that tore the Catholic Church apart at the end of the seventeenth century, resulting in papal condemnation of some mystics and the decline of mysticism in Catholicism for almost two centuries. Join Professors McGinn (University of Chicago), David Tracy (University of Chicago), and Sandra Schneiders (Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University), for a conversation on The Crisis of Mysticism, moderated by Willemein Otten (University of Chicago).

Bernard McGinn is the Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity in the Divinity School and the Committees on Medieval Studies and on General Studies at the University of Chicago. He has written extensively about the history of apocalyptic thought, spirituality, and mysticism. McGinn's many books include Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination with EvilThe Presence of Goda multivolume history of Western Christian mysticism, and most recently Thomas Aquinas’s Summa theologiae: A Biography.


David Tracy is Andrew Thomas Greeley and Grace McNichols Greeley Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies and Professor of Theology and the Philosophy of Religion in the Divinity School. He is also in the Committee on Social Thought. He received his STL and STD from Gregorian University, Rome, and has taught a wide variety of courses in contemporary theology at the University of Chicago. He has offered classes in philosophical, systematic, and constructive theology and hermeneutics, and courses dealing with issues and persons in religion and modern thought. His publications include The Analogical Imagination: Christian Theology and the Culture of Pluralism and On Naming the Present: Reflections on God, Hermeneutics, and Church. Professor Tracy is currently writing a book on God.


Sandra M. Schneiders is professor emerita of New Testament studies and Christian spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. Among her many pubilications are Prophets in Their Own Country: Women Religious Bearing Witness to the Gospel in a Troubled Church (2012). She received her Licentiate in Theology from Institut Catholique and her doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, specializing in biblical studies with a special interest in the Gospel of John, the theory of Biblical interpretation, and the history and theology of religious life and mystical experience. She is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan.


Willemien Otten is Professor of Theology and the History of Christianity; also in the College; Associate Faculty in the Department of History, Social Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. She holds an M.A. and PhD from the University of Amsterdam. Otten studies the history of Christianity and Christian thought with a focus on the Western medieval and the early Christian intellectual tradition, including the continuity of Platonic themes. She is coeditor of Eriugena and Creation (2014), On Religion and Memory (2013), and the Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine (430–2000) (2013). Her most recent book is Thinking Nature and the Nature of Thinking: From Eriugena to Emerson (2020).