Christian Spirituality A:
Patristic and Medieval Authors

Foundational Unit

Semester 1, 2020
Tuesday 10.00am – 1.00pm
This unit introduces the students to the study of Christian Spirituality with some significant examples of Christian literature from the beginning of the Christian movement to the Middle Ages. The focus will be on the study of significant texts in their theological and cultural setting. Students will be required to consider how this relates to the study and living of Christian Spirituality today and to experience some contemporary expressions of aspects of this subject. Examples of texts include: The Letters of Ignatius of Antioch; Desert Literature; Athanasius The Life of Antony; Eastern liturgy and iconography; Gregory of Nyssa, The life of Moses; John Cassian, The Conferences; Benedict of Nursia, The Holy Rule; Bernard of Clairvaux and Hildegard of Bingen – Selections; Bonaventure, The Mind’s Road to God; Selections from Medieval Women Writers, the Rhineland Mystics and the English Mystical Tradition. 

Census Date

Tuesday 17 March   




two one hour lectures each week and six additional seminar sessions


  • one 4,000-word essay 60%
  • one 2,000-word synthesis 40% 


  • Clement, Oliver. The Roots of Mysticism: Texts and Commentaries. Translated by Theodore Berkeley. London: New City, 1993.
  • Cunningham, Lawrence S., and Keith J. Egan. Christian Spirituality: Themes from the Tradition. New York: Paulist, 1996.
  • Holder, Arthur, ed. The Blackwell Companion to Christian Spirituality. Blackwell Companions to Religion. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005.
  • ——— Christian Spirituality: The Classics. New York: Routledge, 2010.
  • Louth, Andrew. The Origins of the Christian Mystical Tradition: From Plato to Denys. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press: Clarendon, 2007.
  • McGrath, Alister E. Christian Spirituality: An Introduction. 5th ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.
  • Nichols, Aidan. A Spirituality for the Twenty-First Century. Huntington, NY: Our Sunday Visitor, 2003.
  • Sheldrake, Philip. Spirituality: A Brief History. 2nd ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2013.
  • ———., ed. New Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2006.
  • Williams, Rowan. The Wound of Knowledge: Christian Spirituality from the New Testament to St John of the Cross. Oxford: Rowan & Littlefield, 2003.