Students will read short texts by spiritual teachers and will be introduced to central themes in the study of spirituality. In this way students will learn to read and understand spiritual writings and to use the most important concepts in the study of spirituality and mysticism.
The first part of the course provides an introduction to the historical setting, spirituality, and writings of a number of central figures in the history of Christian spirituality: from the twentieth century Etty Hillesum, from the modern era Teresa of Avila, from the Middle Ages Clare of Assisi, and from the Late Antique period John Cassian and Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. Students learn to find, evaluate, and process their writings. The reading will be guided by a number of questions about the texts.|
The second part of the course consists of a more systematic introduction to spirituality. Students will be introduced to a number of central concepts in spiritual studies: meditation and prayer, the veneration of icons, lectio divina, liturgy and the sacraments, and finally the concept of spirituality itself.
The answers students give to the questions accompanying the reading will be discussed and graded. This grade makes up 40% of the exam. The other 60% will be assessed in the form of two take-home exams, in which the student analyses a spiritual text with the help of questions. The first of these take-home exams will be taken at midterm, the second at the end.