"In an era of growing interest in mysticism the need for introductions that are clear and accessible without sacrificing scholarly rigor and depth of understanding is great. Few books meet this exacting standard, but William Harmless's Mystics proves that the balance between outreach and analysis is not an impossible task. Harmless's Mystics, based on years of classroom experience in teaching mysticism, is a model for a concise and thoughtful approach to this intriguing, but difficult, topic. It will be necessary reading for all those who wish to explore the message of the mystics." --Bernard McGinn, Emeritus Professor at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago and author of The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism"Harmless has provided a deep and readable history and commentary on the mystics he has chosen. His judicious selection ofpersons and texts, joined by his insightful discussions, make for a text indispensable to any graduate course on the history of spirituality."--Religion"Developed for classroom use (where it would likely be the highlight of the course), Harmless's book deserves readership by anyone seeking entry into a study of mystics and why they matter." --Theological Studies"Mystics is firmly rooted in the best scholarship, but it is also pitched low enough for readers new to the subject. Teachers will find that it makes an excellent itnroductory text. Perhaps the highest recommendation I can give this book is to say that I intend to assign it to my own students." --Commonweal"This book opens up a new area of study for specialists in the history and language of the Nordic countries, offering a tantalizing range of insights that invite further investigation." --peculumVom Verlag:
What is mysticism? The question continues to be the subject of fierce debate. Some argue that all mystical experience is the same - it is an innate human ability - while others insist that the nature of mystical experience is highly conditioned by the cultural and religious background of the mystic. There is, however, no disagreement about the identity of the mystics themselves. In this book, William Harmless offers a highly readable introduction to the mystics and their message. Their message, he says, centers on three topics: who God is, how we meet God in prayer; and why the human heart is at once so deep, so beautiful, so selfish, and so hard to fathom. By introducing students and general reders to these figures, he hopes to stimulate reflection on these great questions, and deeper exploration of the world's mystical traditions.
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