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Handbooks Courses Units

HYM4260 - Medieval dialogues: reason, mysticism and society

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dr Nathan Wolski


Clayton Second semester 2008 (Day)


This unit examines the intellectual interaction between Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the medieval period. Focusing mainly on the late twelfth and thirteenth century, the unit revolves around a central religious fault line of the era- reason and rationalism on the one hand, and the mystical quest on the other - and pursues a comparative analysis of the major figures from each of the traditions. Beginning with the rationalists, the course explores the thought of Ibn Rushd, Maimonides and Thomas Aquinas, before moving to a comparative examination of various mystics, such as - Bernard of Clairvaux, Bonaventure, the Zohar, Meister Eckhart, Ibn al-Arabi and Rumi.


On completion of this unit students will be expected to:

  1. have an understanding of the major intellectual currents within Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries;
  2. have an understanding of the relationship between and mutual influences informing the various traditions;
  3. understand the role of classical thinkers and writers on the varied traditions;
  4. demonstrate familiarity with the major texts of the key religious figures of the period;
  5. appreciate the exegetical horizons facing interpreters of scripture;
  6. be able to engage in comparative analysis of philosophers and mystics from the different traditions;
  7. have applied the reading and interpretative skills they have learned to unseen texts; and
  8. identify continuities and ruptures among the thinkers and writers examined.


Research essay (6000 words): 50%; Seminar paper (1000 words): 15%; Take-home exam (2000 words): 25%; Seminar preparation: 10%.

Contact hours

One 2.5 hour seminar per week


HSY4260, HYM5260

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