About the Howard Thurman course
We often think that mysticism is a thing of the past, that the great mystics like Francis of Assisi, Julian of Norwich or Teresa of Avila are resigned to times long gone, and that mysticism died in the Reformations, the Enlightenment, or the Quietist Controversy. However, there are important mystical elements of all major world religions today including Christianity, and many 20th- and 21st-century figures exemplify mysticism.
This series looks at three prominent figures who have been described as modern or postmodern mystics: Mother Maria Skobtsova; Howard Thurman and Annie Dillard.
Each session is led by an expert on the figure discussed and will comprise of a 55-minute lecture, a 25-minute discussion of a set text (sent out two weeks prior to the session), and a 25-minute question and answer session.
To book all three sessions (10, 17 and 24 May) for just £24, select the ticket for course #2745 via the link at right. The May 10 session is Mother Maria Skobtsova; the May 24 session is on Annie Dillard.
Our second session is on Howard Thurman (1899-1981), a theologian and social activist who was a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr. Thurman’s mystical theology was inherently oriented to social action. With his Grandmother having been a slave in Florida, Thurman emphasised that he was conscious of segregation at every moment, with it being impossible for any African American to view mysticism as a way to escape from culture or to transcend differences. For Thurman, the purpose of mysticism was to remove ‘all that prevents God from coming to himself in the life of the individual,’ and ‘whatever there is that blocks this calls for action.’
About the Tutor
Dr Louise Nelstrop is Professor of Church History at the Protestant Theological University and a non-stipendiary lecturer in theology at St John’s College, Oxford. She is an expert on Christian mystical theology and is the editor of several books as well as the author of Christian Mysticism: An Introduction to Contemporary Theoretical Approaches (Routledge, 2009) and On Deification and Sacred Eloquence: Richard Rolle and Julian of Norwich (Routledge, 2019). She is founder and co-convener of the Mystical Theology Network, which organises annual conferences on mysticism around the world.