Mysticism in the Reformation (1500-1650)
Mysticism in the Reformation (1500-1650)

Mysticism in the Reformation (1500-1650)

The Presence of God


350 Pages, 6 x 9.25

Formats: Hardcover

Hardcover, $67.95 (US $67.95) (CA $90.95)

Publication Date: April 2017

ISBN 9780824522308

Price: $67.95


Mysticism in the Reformation, Part I of Volume 6 of The Presence of God Series, is the first full account of the role of the mystical element of Christianity in the Reformers who broke with Rome in the period 1500-1650. Although some modern Protestant theologians tried to distance the Reformation from any contact with mysticism, recent scholarship, by both Protestants and Catholics, has shown that Protestant mysticism is an important part of the heritage of the Reformation. After an "Introduction" surveying modern disputes about the nature of the Reformation and the Catholic reaction to it (both Catholic Reform and Counter-Reformation), Chapter One deals with how the pioneering Reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin reacted to the heritage of Christian mysticism, concentrating on Luther's complicated relation to mystical traditions. Chapter Two turns to the role of mysticism in select "Radical Reformers" of the sixteenth century, who created models of interior mystical religion that continued to have an effect over the centuries. Chapter Three analyzes the writings of the two most famous Lutheran mystics of the early seventeenth century, Johann Arndt and Jacob Boehme, whose impact in later Western religious traditions has been both powerful and controversial. Finally, Chapter Four considers the significance of mysticism in the English Reformation, both among those who accepted the Elizabethan Settlement that established the Anglican Church, as well as with the dissident Puritans who rejected it.


"Bernard McGinn's indispensable volume Mysticism in the Reformation (1500-1650) advances his survey of Western Mysticism by surmounting misleading distinctions between Catholic and Protestant, medieval and post-medieval mystical currents and reintegrating his overall theme in intellectual history. By basing his survey on strict philological method, he resurrects the living voices of the mystics while incorporating their thought in the history of literature and ideas." —Andrew Weeks, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

"From its emergence, the study of mysticism has been a lightning rod for many of the controversies that haunt religious studies. Students owe a debt to Bernard McGinn for his elucidating treatment of the intellectual and social history of mysticism in the western Christian tradition." —American Academy of Religion,

"This volume of McGinn's monumental history of Western Christian mysticism is the only one to date that has one particular country as its precise focus: Spain in its 'Golden Age.'" —Lawrence S. Cunningham, Univ of Notre Dame, Commonwealth Magazine

Author Biography

Bernard McGinn is the Naomi Shenstone Donnelly Professor (emeritus) in the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. A premiere scholar of Christian mysticism, he is the author of several influential and bestselling titles, including Meister Eckhart: The Man from Whom God Hid Nothing and Doctors of the Church. This volume is Part 1 of Volume 6 in Dr. McGinn's magisterial Presence of God series.