Renewing Mystical Theology: The Link Between Theological Doctrine and Spiritual Practice in Medieval Spiritualities

Spirituality has grown distant from dogmatic and moral theology over the past few centuries. This trend continues, for example, in the quest to base one’s principles of spirituality mostly on the experience of one or more individuals. The medieval spiritual masters did not suffer from the division between doctrine and practice as many of our contemporaries do. These masters offer resources to overcome the division between theology and spirituality.

This colloquium gathers leading international experts on the mystical theologians of the 13th and 14th centuries. It aims to explore how theologies of contemplation and Christian perfection integrate philosophical principles, Scripture, established theological conclusions, the dogmatic teachings of the Church, and a theologian’s own doctrinal claims. What is the relation between these sources and spiritual experience? To what extent does philosophy impact “spiritual theology”? Is philosophy itself modified by spiritual experience? How do the spiritual masters integrate and modify the teachings of their ancestors, and on what basis?

The colloquium seeks to build on the foundation of historical studies, with the aim of developing clearer systematic principles for spirituality. For the sake of historical precision, each spiritual master is presented on his own. The method is at once historical and theological.