Special Issue "Spanish Mysticism"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2020).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Cristobal Serran-Pagan Y Fuentes
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA 31698, USA
Interests: comparative mysticism; Spanish mysticism; St. John of the Cross; Thomas Merton; Teilhard de Chardin; world religions; philosophy of religion; interfaith dialogue; philosophy, religion and films; the interface of science and religion

Special Issue Information

The primary scope of the papers is to contextualize Spanish mystical writings in their historical times and to see how their legacy in the Iberian soil continues to evolve over time. The purpose of this Special Issue is to bring together the different fields of knowledge from religious studies, theology, philosophy, history, psychology, sociology, and the arts to address the main question: Do Spanish mystics borrow symbols and narratives from the mystical traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam?

Dear Colleagues,

Spanish mysticism has become a field of study in itself due to the rich history of kabbalistic, Christian, and Sufi mystics born in the Iberian Peninsula from Moses de Leon to Abraham Abulafia, Ignatius of Loyola to Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, and Ibn ‘Abbad of Ronda to Ibn al-’ Arabi. The three monotheistic religions in the West left a major cultural, spiritual, and religious legacy in the so-called period of convivencia or coexistence in medieval and modern Spain. This special topic on Spanish mysticism has attracted scholars from different disciplines to study the great Spanish mystics. The overall focus of this issue is to trace the mutual influences found in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim mystics and to examine their spiritual legacies in greater depth. The primary scope of the papers is to contextualize their mystical writings in their historical times and to see how their legacy in the Iberian soil continues to evolve over time. The purpose of this special issue is to bring together the different fields of knowledge from religious studies, theology, philosophy, history, psychology, sociology, and the arts to address the main question: Do Spanish mystics borrow symbols and narratives from the mystical traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam? The aim is to expand on the existing literature currently available and to bring together the disjoined pieces of the puzzle so we can better and more holistically understand the rich legacy of the Spanish mystics and the extent to which their mystical thoughts are intertwined in the long history of Spanish mystical literature.

Prof. Dr. Cristobal Serran-Pagan Y Fuentes
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Spanish mysticism
  • mystical literature
  • mystical theology
  • Kabbalah
  • Sufism
  • Inquisition
  • conversos
  • apophatic
  • Discalced Carmelites
  • St. John of the Cross
  • St. Teresa of Avila
  • Moses de Leon
  • Ibn al-’ Arabi

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Introduction to “Spanish Mysticism”
Religions 2021, 12(9), 731; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12090731 - 07 Sep 2021
Viewed by 598
Abstract
As the Guest Editor for the special volume on “Spanish Mysticism”, my experience working with experts in this field has been excellent and very rewarding, especially in these current times, where we are dealing with COVID-19 [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spanish Mysticism)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Article
Don Quixote and Saint John of the Cross’s Spiritual Chivalry
Religions 2021, 12(8), 616; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12080616 - 09 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1064
Abstract
Despite its ludic appearance, “The adventure Don Quixote had with a dead body” (part I, chapter XIX) is one of the most complex pieces of Cervantes’ famous novel. In the midst of a dark night, the Manchegan knight errant confronts an otherwordly procession [...] Read more.
Despite its ludic appearance, “The adventure Don Quixote had with a dead body” (part I, chapter XIX) is one of the most complex pieces of Cervantes’ famous novel. In the midst of a dark night, the Manchegan knight errant confronts an otherwordly procession of robed men carrying torches who transport a dead “knight” on a bier. Don Quixote attacks them to “avenge” the mysterious dead man, discovering they were priests secretly taking the body from Baeza to Segovia. He wants to see face to face the relic of the dead body, but humbly turns his back, avoiding the “close encounter”. Curiously enough, his easy victory renders him sad. Cervantes is alluding to the secret transfer of St. John of the Cross’ body from Úbeda to Segovia, claimed by the devoted widow Doña Ana de Peñalosa. However, Cervantes is also establishing a surprising dialogue with St. John’s symbolic “dark night”, in which he fights as a brave mystical knight. Concurrently, he is quoting the books of chivalry‘s funeral processions and the curiosity of the occasional knight who wants to glance at the dead body. Furthermore, we see how extremely conversant the novelist is with the religious genre of spiritual chivalry, strongly opposed to the loose fantasy of the books of chivalry. Unable to look at St. John’s relic, an authentic knight of the heavenly militia, Don Quixote seems to silently acknowledge that there are higher chivalries than his own that he will never reach. No wonder he ends the adventure with a sad countenance, gaining a new identity as the “Caballero de la Triste Figura”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spanish Mysticism)
Article
Giqatilla’s Philosophical Poems on the Hebrew Vowels: Poetry, Philosophy, and Theology in Giqatilla’s Ginnat Egoz and Sefer ha-Niqqud
Religions 2021, 12(7), 554; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12070554 - 20 Jul 2021
Viewed by 759
Abstract
In the present paper, I will examine Yosef ben Abraham Giqatilla’s philosophical poems on the Hebrew vowels that are included in his three early works on “punctuation:” the third section from the larger Ginnat Egoz (“The Nut Garden”), the longer version of Sefer [...] Read more.
In the present paper, I will examine Yosef ben Abraham Giqatilla’s philosophical poems on the Hebrew vowels that are included in his three early works on “punctuation:” the third section from the larger Ginnat Egoz (“The Nut Garden”), the longer version of Sefer ha-Niqqud (“The Book of Punctuation”), and a short version of the latter. Scholarship on the chronology of these three texts has been inconclusive. I will argue that a textual comparison of Giqatilla’s philosophical poems and an analysis of their paratextual function allow for a solution, and therefore a possible chronology of their composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spanish Mysticism)
Article
Qurrat al-ʿAyn, the Maiden of the Kaʿba: On the Themenophany Inspiring Ibn ʿArabī’s Tarjumān
Religions 2021, 12(3), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030158 - 27 Feb 2021
Viewed by 564
Abstract
Qurrat al-ʿAyn is the name of the enigmatic Maiden who appeared alongside Ibn ʿArabī when he was inspired to recite the four verses that open The Interpreter of Desires, as he was wandering around the Kaʿba. In this article, through the analysis [...] Read more.
Qurrat al-ʿAyn is the name of the enigmatic Maiden who appeared alongside Ibn ʿArabī when he was inspired to recite the four verses that open The Interpreter of Desires, as he was wandering around the Kaʿba. In this article, through the analysis of the passage in which she is mentioned, the identity of the Maiden is explored from various perspectives typical of the author’s theo-anthropo-cosmovision, characterised by his concept of theophany (tajallī) or divine self-revelation, resorting especially to both the analysis of the lexical inter-reference in the roots of the Arabic terms used by Ibn ʿArabī in his Tarjumān al-ashwāq, as well as the study of the symbolism characteristic of the Arabic alphanumeric system. Furthermore, the article proposes that the kaleidoscopic structure of this collection of odes, studied here for the first time, is the result of a themenophany of the Kaʿba: the Tarjumān has been “inspired” by/on the Kaʿba itself, so that in a sense it is a bibliophany of the so-called House of God, to whose geometry—four corners, six faces, seven ritual turns, eight vertices—its structural conception corresponds. The symbolism of Arabic geomancy in relation to the structure of the Tarjumān is also considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spanish Mysticism)
Article
The Divine Feminine Presence in Ibn ‘Arabi and Moses de Leon
Religions 2021, 12(3), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12030156 - 27 Feb 2021
Viewed by 597
Abstract
This paper is an investigation of the divine feminine power as depicted in the texts of Hispanic mystics from Sufi, Hebrew, and Christian traditions. This work is intended to investigate the origin and subsequent development of a transcendent reconciliation of polarity, its diverse [...] Read more.
This paper is an investigation of the divine feminine power as depicted in the texts of Hispanic mystics from Sufi, Hebrew, and Christian traditions. This work is intended to investigate the origin and subsequent development of a transcendent reconciliation of polarity, its diverse manifestations, and the attainment of a common goal, the quintessential of the Perfect Human Being. The architect of the encounter that leads to Union is “Sophia”. She is the Secret. Only those who are able to discern Her own immeasurable dimension may contemplate the Lady who dwells in the sacred geometry of the abyss. Sophia is linked to the hermetic Word, She is allusive, clandestine, poetic, and pregnant with symbols, gnostic resonances, and musical murmurs that conduct the “traveler” through dwellings and stations towards an ancient Sophianic knowledge that leads to the “germinal vesicle”, the “inner wine cellar”, to the Initium, to the Motherland. She is the Mater filius sapientae, who through an alchemical transmutation becomes a song to the absent Sophia whose Presence can only be intuited. Present throughout the Creation, Sophia is the axis around which the poetics of the Taryuman al-ashwaq rotates and the kabbalistic Tree of Life is structured. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spanish Mysticism)
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Article
Ibn ʿArabī’s Metaphysics in the Context of Andalusian Mysticism: Some Akbarian Concepts in the Light of Ibn Masarra and Ibn Barrajān
Religions 2021, 12(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12010040 - 08 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1275
Abstract
The aim of this article is to trace the origins of some of the key concepts of Ibn Arabi’s metaphysics and cosmology in earlier Andalusian Sufi masters. Within the context of the seminal works on Ibn Arabi’s cosmology and metaphysics produced from the [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to trace the origins of some of the key concepts of Ibn Arabi’s metaphysics and cosmology in earlier Andalusian Sufi masters. Within the context of the seminal works on Ibn Arabi’s cosmology and metaphysics produced from the second half of the 20th century onwards and through a comparison of texts by the Sufi masters Ibn Masarra and Ibn Barrajān, we will see which elements are taken from previous sources and how they are transformed or re-interpreted by Ibn ʿArabī in a philosophical-mystical system that would become the point of reference for the later Eastern and Western Sufi tradition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spanish Mysticism)
Article
The Ontology, Arrangement, and Appearance of Paradise in Castilian Kabbalah in Light of Contemporary Islamic Traditions from al-Andalus
Religions 2020, 11(11), 553; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11110553 - 26 Oct 2020
Viewed by 647
Abstract
This study is a comparative analysis of the appearances of the lower and upper Paradise, their divisions, and the journeys to and within them, which appear in mystical Jewish and Islamic sources in medieval Iberia. Ibn al-‘Arabī’s vast output on the Gardens of [...] Read more.
This study is a comparative analysis of the appearances of the lower and upper Paradise, their divisions, and the journeys to and within them, which appear in mystical Jewish and Islamic sources in medieval Iberia. Ibn al-‘Arabī’s vast output on the Gardens of divine reward and their divisions generated a number of instructive comparisons to the eschatological and theosophical writing about the same subject in early Spanish Kabbalah. Although there is no direct historical evidence that kabbalists knew of such Arabic works from the region Catalonia or Andalusia, there are commonalities in fundamental imagery and in ontological and exegetical assumptions that resulted from an internalization of similar patterns of thought. It is quite reasonable to assume that these literary corpora, both products of the thirteenth century, were shaped by common sources from earlier visionary literature. The prevalence of translations of religious writing about ascents on high, produced in Castile in the later thirteenth century, can help explain the sudden appearance of visionary literature on Paradise and its divisions in the writings of Jewish esotericists of the same region. These findings therefore enrich our knowledge of the literary, intellectual, and creative background against which these kabbalists were working when they chose to depict Paradise in the way that they did, at the time that they did. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spanish Mysticism)
Article
“One Kind of Water Brings Another.” Teresa de Jesús and Ibn ‘Arabi
Religions 2020, 11(10), 542; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100542 - 21 Oct 2020
Viewed by 749
Abstract
Mystical literature and spirituality from 16th-century Spain engage religious images from the three most prominent religions of al-Andalus—Christianity, Islam, and Judaism: among others, the dark night, the seven concentric castles, the gazelle, the bird, the sefirot‘s encircled iggulim or towering yosher, [...] Read more.
Mystical literature and spirituality from 16th-century Spain engage religious images from the three most prominent religions of al-Andalus—Christianity, Islam, and Judaism: among others, the dark night, the seven concentric castles, the gazelle, the bird, the sefirot‘s encircled iggulim or towering yosher, the sacred fountain, ruins, and gardens. Until the 20th-century, however, scholarship read these works mostly as “Spanish” mysticism, alienated from its Andalusī roots. This comparative study deploys theological, historical, and textual analysis to dwell in one of these roots: the figure of the garden’s vital element, water, as represented in the works of Teresa de Jesús and Ibn ‘Arabi. The well-irrigated life written by these mystics underscores the significance of this element as a path to life, knowledge, and love of and by God. Bringing together scholarship on Christian and Sufi mysticism, and underscoring the centrality of movement, flow, and circulation, this article pieces together otherwise disparate readings of both the individual work of these two figures and their belonging in a canon of Andalusī/Spanish mysticism. The weaving of these threads will offer readers a different understanding of early modern religion, alongside traditional readings of Spain’s mystical literature and its place in the global context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spanish Mysticism)
Article
The Active Life and the Contemplative Life in St. John of the Cross: The Mixed Life in the Teresian Carmelite Tradition
Religions 2020, 11(10), 509; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11100509 - 08 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 890
Abstract
The prophetic and the mystical are two key theological concepts in St. John of the Cross. The aim of this article is precisely to shed light on the essential role that St. John of the Cross played in the history of Christianity by [...] Read more.
The prophetic and the mystical are two key theological concepts in St. John of the Cross. The aim of this article is precisely to shed light on the essential role that St. John of the Cross played in the history of Christianity by acknowledging the prophetic and the mystical dimensions of his life testimonies and writings. The notion of prophetic mysticism is not altogether foreign to the Carmelite tradition, especially following the prophetic example of Elijah. This article will then explore the intrinsic relationship that exists between the active life (Martha) and the contemplative life (Mary) in St. John of the Cross and in the Teresian Carmelite tradition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spanish Mysticism)
Article
St. John of the Cross and the Monopolar Concept of God in the Abrahamic Religions in Spain
Religions 2020, 11(7), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070372 - 21 Jul 2020
Viewed by 897
Abstract
The aim of this article is to philosophically explore the tension between “the God of the philosophers” and “the God of religious experience.” This exploration will focus on the mystical theology of the 16th c. Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross. It [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is to philosophically explore the tension between “the God of the philosophers” and “the God of religious experience.” This exploration will focus on the mystical theology of the 16th c. Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross. It will be argued that a satisfactory resolution of the aforementioned tension cannot occur on the basis of the monopolar theism that has dominated the Abrahamic religions. That is, a better understanding of mystics in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can occur via dipolar theism as articulated by contemporary process philosophers in the Abrahamic religions, especially the thought of Charles Hartshorne. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spanish Mysticism)
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