Mysticism and Ethics in Friedrich Von Hügel

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There have been many studies on the theme of Christian mysticism; few have explored the connection between mystical experience and ethics like this work. This work will contribute to the renewed interest in Hügel himself, and also to the general theme of mysticism and ethics. This book will offer the scholarly community an opportunity to engage an enormous intellect whose work is startlingly relevant to our current theological and ethical discussions and whose significance extends well beyond the role he may have played in a brief ecclesiastical controversy at the turn of the twentieth century.


"This study of mysticism and ethics in the writings of Friedrich von Hügel has captured the spirit of Hügel (1852-1925) and brought him into conversation with a number of contemporary religious thinkers. Professor Johns demonstrates how for Hügel mysticism and ethics are interwoven and incarnated in the lives of the saints. Hügel's concern for the balance and his incarnational understanding of mysticism and ethics are reflected in this work. Professor Johns argues that Hügel provides a model for a mystically sensitive morality and an ethically attuned mysticism. Both mysticism and ethics are for Johns and for Hügel expressions of the human awakening to divine presence. This careful study of a late nineteenth to early twentieth century philosopher of religion is an important contribution to contemporary theology. The work addresses questions of theory and practice, faith and works, spirituality and morality, the contemplative and the active life and offers a creative approach to these concerns." - Ellen M. Leonard, Professor Emerita, University of St. Michael's College, Toronto

"In this important and engaging study, Professor Johns has not only recalled out attention to one of the seminal Christian thinkers of the 20th century, but he has shown us how, in this Postmodern age, we can respond to urgent contemporary ethical dilemmas on the basis of Baron von Hügel's incarnational mysticism. In this book, he has demonstrated convincingly that mysticism need not lead to flight from the world but rather to informed engagement with it in lives of awakened sanctity." - E. Glenn Hinson, Professor Emeritus, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Kentucky

"The author does justice to a significant implication of von Hügel's study and understanding of mysticism, the natural challenge to morality to a mystic or mysticism true to its name. Dr. Johns brings us intelligently into the problem of studying mysticism, its aptness as an object of theological study and even the preciseness of its definition. He gives necessary attention to the great gift of von Hügel's to the study of religion, the three elements of religion: institutional, intellectual and mystical. Religion is nothing if not embodied according to von Hügel, and the author explains this very well." - Dr. John A. McGrath, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Religious Studies, University of Dayton

Table of Contents

1. Giving Mysticism A Body
2. Mysticism and Mystical Experience
3. Morality and Obligation
4. Embodied Mysticism and Biographical Theology
5. Ethics and Incarnational Mysticism

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