The Varieties of Vernacular Mysticism
The Varieties of Vernacular Mysticism

The Varieties of Vernacular Mysticism


The Presence of God


864 Pages, 6 x 9.25

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback

Paperback, $59.95 (US $59.95) (CA $59.95)

Publication Date: November 2016

ISBN 9780824543921

Price: $59.95


A momentous era in the Christian faith

More than 25 years in the making, this magisterial volume uncovers the riches of one of the greatest periods of mystical wisdom in Christian history: the “vernacular†spirituality of the late medieval period in Europe. The compilation incorporates more than a century of new research from around the globe, demonstrating how this period gave rise to many mystical writers who remain influential even today, including Julian of Norwich, Eckhart’s follower Jan van Ruusbroec, and the inspirational doctor of the church and visionary, Catherine of Siena. With unmatched knowledge of the primary works and scholarship around the globe, this study illustrates the unique genius of each mystical teacher as well as how they build on one another’s insights to pursue a life in God’s presence. Specific types of mysticism covered include Trinitarian, late medieval Italian, renaissance, and the golden age of English mysticism.


"Bernard McGinn has enriched the knowledge of our spiritual tradition as no other work in recent memory has done."  —Thomist

"What dawns on you as you progress through McGinn's magisterial retrieval of fourteenth and fifteenth century developments in "mystical theology" is how seriously Ruusbroec, Catherine of Siena, Julian of Norwich and a host of lesser figures have to be taken as theologians. Much more than a history of western Christian mysticism, this volume calls for and supplies a major revaluation of theology in the late medieval Christian church". —Dr. Denys Turner, Professor of Religion at Yale Divinity School.

"McGinn's Varieties is an astonishing achievement. No one will approach religious and mystical teaching in the late middle ages (1300-1550) quite the same again. The broadest and richest account of Dutch mystical writers, a vision of Italian mystical writing that puts Catherine of Siena alongside Marsilio Ficino and Christian kabbalists, a fresh approach to famed English writers (Rolle, Julian, the Cloud author) fitting them into a larger religious world—all this in one volume, with serious attention to thought and theology, a close reading of texts, generous citation of vernacular originals, and weighty bibliographies. It is hard to imagine one person even attempting it, but McGinn has done it."—John Van Engen, University of Notre Dame

Author Biography

Bernard McGinn is the Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. He is the author of Anti-Christ, Early Christian Mystics, The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism, and The Mystical Thought of Meister Eckhart. He lives in Chicago.