ATS4289 - Medieval dialogues: Reason, mysticism and society - 2017

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation


Professor Constant Mews and Dr Nathan Wolski

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (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
  8. identify continuities and ruptures among the thinkers and writers examined


Within semester assessment: 75% + Exam: 25%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 288 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


APG4289, APG5289