Mysticism and Ethics in Friedrich Von Hugel
Texts & Studies in Religion S. No. 110
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 Stanley Hauerwas once remarked that "theology is done in service to the church and accordingly cannot be the product of the individual mind - that is why any theology that does not aspire to be catholic cannot help but be distorted." Of course, I trust that time will not reckon the present work "distorted" if for no other reason than that it has attempted to be catholic. My "individual mind" has been aided by many others throughout the writing process and for the generous and able assistance of this small expression of theological catholicity I am profoundly grateful. This book began as a dissertation for a doctorate in systematic theology at Duquesne University; consequently, I must publically thank Professor Bill Thompson-Uberuaga who gave direction to this project in its earlier manifestation.
I continue to be influenced by his engaging theological work which has, in a significant way, been an inspiration for my own. The strengths of this book are in large part due to his wise and generous guidance; the weaknesses which remain result from my stubbornness and limitations. Additionally, Professors Jim Hanigan, Marie L. Baird, and Aaron Mackler made important contributions to this work's unfolding while I was a student at Duquesne. Librarians at Wilmington College and Malone College, as good librarians always do, made my life easier even as I made theirs difficult. Todd Miller, my graduate assistant at Earlham School of Religion, attended to editing while my friend and colleague, Dr. Timothy Seid, assisted with formatting and index compilation. I am also deeply grateful for generous financial assistance made available to me by President Doug Bennett of Earlham, and by the Elizabeth A. Bogart Fund for the Study and Practice of Christian Mysticism. A special word of thanks is owed to Dr. Ron Rembert, Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Wilmington College.
Our lively conversations during my four years as his faculty colleague contributed greatly to my thinking and he will recognize in chapter three some of our discussions in my treatment of Hugel and Plato's Meno. Finally, I owe a great debt to my children, Christopher, Cameron, Nicholas, and Natalie. Love, strength, encouragement, and renewal are incarnated in them. The gratitude and love I feel toward each one of them is ineffable. Pentecost 2004 Earlham School of Religion Richmond, Indiana
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"This study of mysticism and ethics in the writings of Friedrich von Hugel has captured the spirit of Hugel (1852-1925) and brought him into conversation with a number of contemporary religious thinkers. Professor Johns demonstrates how for Hugel mysticism and ethics are interwoven and incarnated in the lives of the saints. Hugel's concern for the balance and his incarnational understanding of mysticism and ethics are reflected in this work. Professor Johns argues that Hugel provides a model for a mystically sensitive morality and an ethically attuned mysticism. Both mysticism and ethics are for Johns and for Hugel 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 Hugel'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"