Special Issue "The Tradition of Mystical Theology and Its Challenges to Contemporaneous Theology"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444). This special issue belongs to the section "Religions and Theologies".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Rob Faesen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
2. Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, Tilburg University, 5037 AB Tilburg, Netherlands
3. Ruusbroec Institute, University of Antwerp, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium
Interests: history of Christian mysticism; medieval mysticism; Jesuit history and spirituality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The focus of this Special Issue of Religions is the tradition of mystical theology, and its relevance for today’s theology. The Christian literary tradition of mystical authors is exceptionally rich. It can be fascinating, for example, from a literary perspective we can think of the poems of Hadewijch or of John of the Cross. However, it also contains specific approaches to theology. Various aspects have recently been presented in the excellent Oxford Handbook of Mystical Theology (ed. Edward Howells and Mark A. McIntosh). One of the purposes of that handbook was to show that mystical theology is an essential and integral part of theology as a discipline.

Now a next step can be made—namely, to explore which specific challenges this older tradition of mystical theology contains for the theology of today.

Since it has centuries-old tradition, mystical theology is obviously not a monolithic block. In the course of time, various interests, controversies, and discussions have been developed, and all these issues need to be studied and understood in their own historical context. Nevertheless, they may also have a specific relevance for the theology of today, possibly by opening perspectives that have been neglected for some time, possibly by showing dimensions that are not explored today.

While on the one hand mystical theology enjoys attention from historical or literary scholars who may overlook the theological dimensions, and on the other hand theologians may refer to mystical topics without taking into consideration the specific historical contexts and sources, the real dialogue of these disciplines is still at its very beginning. In this Special Issue, we want to engage in that specific dialogue.

We seek contributions that either develop a case study of a specific mystical topic (in its historical context) which has special relevance for today’s theological reflection, or that investigate the methodological aspects of such a dialogue. We hope that this Special Issue can contribute to this new and promising field of research.

Prof. Rob Faesen
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.


  • history of Christian mysticism
  • contemporaneous theology

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Metaphysics and Mysticism: Mystical Aspects and Elements in the Work of Czech Thinker Karel Říha
Religions 2022, 13(1), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel13010084 - 17 Jan 2022
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Czech theologian and philosopher Karel Říha (1923–2016) followed the thinking of Maurice Blondel. He wanted to expand and deepen the basis of transcendental philosophy. He perceived the possibilities of a new metaphysics, which would be established only in a triadic way of thinking—knowledge, [...] Read more.
Czech theologian and philosopher Karel Říha (1923–2016) followed the thinking of Maurice Blondel. He wanted to expand and deepen the basis of transcendental philosophy. He perceived the possibilities of a new metaphysics, which would be established only in a triadic way of thinking—knowledge, wanting, Being. He originally believed that the basic philosophical theory was the theory of moral conversion. Říha comprehended the event of moral conversion as a mystic turn, a transformation in which we find ourselves by realising ourselves in devotion to others. In this transformation, the striving for metaphysics, which is based on interpersonal relationships, achieves its goal. Metaphysics eliminates itself and is integrated into theology. Theology finally comes to the conclusion that the truth is not in our power but pursues us. The theologian and philosopher Říha, as he writes, has united himself with a Will, which we do not know where it leads us or what it will ask from us. There was nothing left on his own. Metaphysics and mysticism are united in his thinking and work. Full article
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