Mysticism

88 - Simplicity Itself: Plotinus on the One and Intellect

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Plotinus posits an absolutely transcendent first principle, the One. What is it (or isn’t it), and how does it relate to Intellect?

105 - Naming the Nameless: the Pseudo-Dionysius

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Neoplatonism is fused with Christianity by the pseudonymus author known as Dionysius. Peter looks at his Divine Names, a monument to God’s transcendence.

143 - Special Delivery: al-Ghazālī

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Al-Ghazālī’s search for truth leads him to philosophy, Ash'arite theology, and ultimately the mystical tradition of Ṣūfism.

148 - Fantasy Island: Ibn Bājja and Ibn Ṭufayl

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Intellect and alienation in Ibn Bājja and Ibn Ṭufayl, author of the philosophical desert island castaway tale Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān.

153 - A Matter of Taste: Ibn ʿArabī and Mysticism

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Sufism, the mystical tradition of Islam, unites with philosophy in the work of Ibn 'Arabī.

168 - Chariot of Fire: Kabbalah

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The rich symbolism of the Zohar and the spiritual practices of Abraham Abluafia feature in the mystical movement known as Kabbalah.

178 - Eyes Wide Shut: Rūmī and Philosophical Sufism

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The Persian poet Rūmī and mystical philosopher al-Qūnawī carry on the legacy of Sufism.

179 - Mohammed Rustom on Philosophical Sufism

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Peter is joined by Mohammed Rustom in a discussion about Sufi authors including Ibn 'Arabī, al-Qūnawī, and Rūmī.

193 - All for One and One for All: Muḥammad 'Abduh and Muḥammad Iqbāl

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Muḥammad 'Abdūh and Muḥammad Iqbāl challenge colonialism and the traditional religious scholars of Islam.

221. Leading Light: Hildegard of Bingen

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The life, visions, political intrigues and scientific interests of Hildegard of Bingen.

233. Stairway to Heaven: Bonaventure

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Bonaventure argues that human knowledge depends on an illumination from God.

237. Begin the Beguine: Hadewijch and Mechthild of Magdeburg

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Two Beguine authors, Hadewijch and Mechthild of Magdeburg, deploy the tropes of courtly love in vernacular writings about their mystical experiences.

265. Time of the Signs: the Fourteenth Century

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An introduction to philosophy in the 14th century, focusing on two big ideas: nominalism and voluntarism.

30. Philipp Maas on Yoga

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A leading expert on the founding text of Yoga tells us why, when, and by whom it was written, and what it has to do with modern day yoga practice.

267. After Virtue: Marguerite Porete

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Marguerite Porete is put to death for her exploration of the love of God, The Mirror of Simple Souls.

287. Down to the Ground: Meister Eckhart

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The scholastic and mystic Meister Eckhart sets out his daring speculations about God and humankind in both Latin and German.

288. Men in Black: the German Dominicans

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Dietrich of Freiberg, Berthold of Moosburg, John Tauler and Henry Suso explore Neoplatonism and mysticism.

291. Alle Maner of Thyng Shall be Welle: English Mysticism

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Julian of Norwich’s Shewings and the Cloud of Unknowing lay out challenging paths to knowledge of, and union with, God.

57. Learn by Doing: Tantra

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Philosophy is put into practice in Kashmir Śaivite Tantra and Buddhist Tantra.

295. The Most Christian Doctor: Jean Gerson

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Jean Gerson’s role in the political disputes of his day, the spread of lay devotion and affective mysticism, and the debate over the Romance of the Rose initiated by Christine de Pizan.

14. Souleymane Bachir Diagne on Islam in Africa

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Peter speaks to Souleymane Bachir Diagne about Islamic scholars in West Africa.

323. Through His Works You Shall Know Him: Palamas and Hesychasm

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Gregory Palamas and the controversy over his teaching that we can go beyond human reason by grasping God through his activities or “energies”.

343. As Far as East from West: Jewish Philosophy in Renaissance Italy

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Jewish philosophers in Renaissance Italy, focusing on Leone Ebreo’s Dialogues of Love, the Averroism of Elijah del Medigo, and Italian Kabbalah.

374. Opposites Attract: Nicholas of Cusa

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The radical negative theology of Nicholas of Cusa, and his hope of establishing peace between the religions of the world.

375. Paul Richard Blum on Nicholas of Cusa

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Learned ignorance, coincidence of opposites and religious peace: Paul Richard Blum discusses the central ideas of Nicholas Cusanus.

398. Pearls of Wisdom: Marguerite of Navarre

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A Renaissance queen supports philosophical humanism and produces literary works on spirituality, love, and the soul.

119. The Space Race: Afrofuturism

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Sun Ra and Parliament-Funkadelic return to claim the pyramids, and Octavia Butler uses science fiction to confront the brutal past of slavery.

Thanks to Stephan Terre for the creation of the futuristic intro music!

429. She Uttereth Piercing Eloquence: Women’s Spiritual Literature

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How women’s writing in England changed from the early fifteenth century, the time of Margery Kempe, to the late sixteenth century, the time of Anne Lock.

432. If This Be Magic, Let It Be an Art: John Dee

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Science, intrigue, exploration, angelic seances! It's the life and thought of Elizabethan mathematician and magician John Dee.

436. Unpathed Waters, Undreamed Shores: Robert Fludd

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Our last figure of the English Renaissance undertakes daring investigations of chemistry, medicine, agriculture, and cosmology – and gets accused of magic and Rosicrucianism.