In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries secular French scholars started re-engaging with religious ideas, particularly mystical ones. Mysticism in the French Tradition introduces key philosophical undercurrents and trajectories in French thought that underpin and arise from this engagement, as well as considering earlier French contributions to the development of mysticism. Filling a gap in the literature, the book offers critical reflections on French scholarship in terms of its engagement with its mystical and apophatic dimensions. A multiplicity of factors converge to shape these encounters with mystical theology: feminist, devotional and philosophical treatments as well as literary, historical, and artistic approaches. The essays draw these into conversation. Bringing together an international and interdisciplinary range of contributions from both new and established scholars, this book provides access to the melting pot out of which the mystical tradition in France erupted in the twenty-first century, and from which it continues to challenge theology today.
Preface; Introduction: acting and enacting: mystical theology and its reception in France, Louise Nelstrop. Part I Forgotten and Remembered: Philosophical Voicings of the Mystical: With mind and heart: Maurice Blondel and the mystic life, Michael A. Conway; An eruption of mystical life in feminist action: mysticism and confidence after Bergson, Pamela Sue Anderson; On the matter of God: conversations in the Khora, Tina Beattie; The overflowing self: the phenomenology of possession in biblical and Indian mysticism, Jessica Frazier; Phenomenology and theology: an essay on borders, Emmanuel Falque. Part II Distinction, Union and Devotion: Action and Enacting the Divine: The pious jackal and the pseudo-woman: doctrines of deification in late medieval France, John Arblaster; A French mystic’s perspective on the crisis of mysticism: Jean-Joseph Surin (1600-1665), Rob Faesen; From late medieval to early modern: assessing the mystical theology of Pierre de Bérulle (1575-1629), Edward Howells; Mystical eucharistics: Abhishiktanda and Teilhard de Chardin, Richard Kearney. Part III Words and Images in Action: The mystical theology of Saint Francis de Sales in the Traité de l’amour de Dieu, Terence O’Reilly; Mysticism in captivity: Élie Neau, French Protestant galley slave, Ruth Whelan; Jean Sulivan and the mystical moment, Eamon Maher; The rapture of art and the art of rapture: Ernest Pignon-Ernest’s installation Extases and the evocation of ecstasy, Amanda Dillon. Index.