This course employs both a diachronic and synchronic approach to the in-depth study of major thinkers and themes that became prominent during the various periods of church history. Christians believe that God is everywhere and as Jesus taught, prayer is made in the spirit thus, specific structures intended for worship and prayer play a supporting role in life in the Spirit. The Christian worship space, popularly called “the house of God” (domus Dei), is more properly the “house of the People of God” (domus Populorum Dei).
The shapes of the Christian community, its self-understanding and image, its worship practice and tradition have shaped the form of churches. This course traces the interaction between Church as people and the church as building and how the form and function of churches have been shaped by the evolving theology of the people of God and the Christians self-understanding. Karl Rahner once said that the Christian of the future will be a mystic. What the implications of that for theology need to be unpacked. This seminar course introduces the student to the world of mystical texts, their relationship to theology, and the history of that relationship synchronically and diachronically. Texts of representative writers (early, medieval, modern; e.g., Dionysius, Eckhart, Ignatius) will be read, first historically and contextually. Their theological import will then be examined. Attempts will then be made to arrive at some conclusions with regard to the history of the relationship between mysticism and theology (reading mystical texts theologically and theological texts mystically).