1st Edition

John of the Cross Carmel, Desire and Transformation

Edited By Edward Howells, Peter Tyler Copyright 2024
    336 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the life and teaching of John of the Cross, the Spanish mystic who remains a major source of Western thought on spirituality, theology and mysticism. Leading academics discuss the importance and legacy of John from historical, theological, philosophical, pastoral, ecumenical, psychological and literary perspectives. The book focuses on his place in Carmel, his understanding of desire, and the role of transformation in his theology. Approaching John in the context of the late medieval mystical tradition, it offers a timely re-evaluation of his work and a significant reassessment of his relevance in the context of current debates.

    Part 1  John of the Cross: Carmel, Context and Canonization

    1. John of the Cross and Carmel: Hermit and Mendicant 

    Terence O’Reilly

    2. How John of the Cross Gained and Lost Mystical Authority

    Bernard McGinn

    3. John of the Cross: The Long Road to Sainthood

    Jodi Bilinkoff

    4. John of the Cross and the Carmelite Nuns: Reciprocity and Communion

    Shelagh Banks

    Part 2v John of the Cross: Love, Desire and Transformation

    5.‘¡Amada en el Amado Transformada!’: John of the Cross on Transformation

    Steven Payne

    6. Perfect Love, Described: Exploring the Significance of Love for John of the Cross

    Iain Matthew

    7. The Lovers’ Gaze as a Symbol of the Mystical Journey in the Spiritual Canticle of St John of the Cross

    Colin Thompson

    8. The Unfathomed Embrace: The Language of Abyss in John of the Cross

    Tessa Holland

    9. Transformation in John of the Cross: What Deep Innate Human and Spiritual Ground Is Being Transformed in Each of the Dark Nights?

    Ronald Rolheiser

    10. The Ascent of Mount Carmel as a Way of Transformation

    Pavel Pola

    11‘Thou Art Changed to Be Cruel Toward Me’ (Job 30.21): John of the Cross on Job

    Louise Nelstrop

    Part 3  John of the Cross in Dialogue

    12. The influence of Thomas Aquinas on John of the Cross

    Sam Hole

    13. Desire and the Transformation of Suffering in John of the Cross and Catherine of Siena

    Emma Mavin

    14. Desire for God and its Realisation: Henri de Lubac in Dialogue with John of the Cross

    Christof Betschart

    15. Edith Stein and John of the Cross on the Dark Night: Changing the Aspect of the Soul

    Peter Tyler

    16. John of the Cross and Emmanuel Lévinas: The Quest for God Beyond Being

    David Perrin

    17. Jacques Lacan, Jean Baruzi and John of the Cross: The Problem of Modern Experientialism and the Dark Night of COVID

    Mark Murphy

    Part 4  John of the Cross for Today

    18. The Dark Night in Psychiatry

    Christopher C. H. Cook

    19. Directing Desire: Diagnosing Acedia and Dark Night in Spiritual Direction

    Chloe Lynch

    20. A Transformative View of Christian Suffering: John of the Cross’ Interpretation and Analysis of Mark 8:34–35

    Robert D. Flanagan

    21. Recontextualising St John: Constance FitzGerald’s Concept of Impasse and Its Appropriation in Contemporary Spirituality

    Ian Shelton


    Edward Howells is Assistant Tutor in Christian Spirituality at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford.

    Peter Tyler is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Spirituality and Director of the Centre for Initiatives in Spirituality and Reconciliation (www.stmarys.ac.uk/inspire) at St Mary’s University, London.