Critical Spirituality

A holistic approach to contemporary practice

Westerink H. (eds.), London: Routledge, 2017


A central issue in the study of the correlation between modernity, the turn to the religious subject and the history of mysticism, concerns the critical – some would argue ‘subversive’ – character and practice of mysticism and spirituality. Is this critical practice merely the resistance effect of the modern pastoral investment in the subject? Or is there something distinctive in mysticism and spirituality that draws it strength from various sources – knowledge, experience, desire or perhaps even one’s body – and operates from a specific position or ‘locus’? This volume explores these questions with the aim of developing a theory of critical spirituality, that is to say, of its historical appearances and its contemporary forms and characteristics.

(Text from the publisher)

Table of contents


Spirituality as Critique – Michel de Certeau and Ignatian Spirituality – Inigo Bocken

The Troubled Thoughts of the Elect – A Certallian Reading of Willem Teellinck’s Soliloquium – Herman Westerink

Michel de Montaigne and Jean de Léry’s Scenes of Cannibalism – The Savage Other and the Making of Calvinist Identity – Herman Westerink

Critical Spirituality in Interreligious and Intercultural Contexts – Gerrit Steunebrink

Philosophie und Spiritualität aus der Erfahrung Lateinamerikas – Raúl Fornet-Betancourt

Das Prinzip “Barmherzigkeit” bei Jon Sobrino als konkretes Beispiel für eine Verbindung von Erkenntnis und Spiritualität – Helene Büchel

Engaged Contemplation – Dialogical Explorations of Critical Spirituality from a Monastic Perspective – Thomas Quartier

Postmodern Mystics – An Interpretation of the Occupy Movement from the Work of Michel de Certeau – Eveline van Buijtenen

Epilogue – Foucault, Certeau and the Building Blocks for a Theory of Critical Spirituality – Herman Westerink


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