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Passions and the Mystical

Between Affecting and Being Affected

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Published on Tuesday, July 26, 2022


It is a pleasure to invite you to the annual Mystical Theology Network Conference: Passions and the Mystical. Between Affecting and Being Affected. Theologians, religious studies scholars, philosophers, literary scholars, (art) historians, creative practice researchers, writers, artists and scholars working in related fields will discuss and map out the wider semantic field of ‘passion(s)’ across mystical traditions.



Theologians, religious studies scholars, philosophers, literary scholars, (art) historians, creative practice researchers, writers, artists and scholars working in related fields will discuss and map out the wider semantic field of ‘passion(s)’ across mystical traditions.

The conference is jointly organized by the Mystical Theology Network (MTN) and the Titus Brandsma Institute associated with Radboud University (TBI) and will take place in Nijmegen on 1-2 December, 2022.


  • Veerle Fraeters (University of Antwerp, Ruusbroec Institute) 
  • Marc De Kesel (Radboud University, Titus Brandsma Institute)


Registration fee €145 (2 keynotes, 14 parallel sessions, 1 performance, coffee breaks, lunches and reception). Conference dinner on Thursday (€40) not included.

Registration is open until 20 October, but the organising team is very grateful for timely registration.


Full programme


Updated programme

Thursday 1 December

9-9.45 : Keynote Lecture Veerle Fraeters, Defining Orewoet [Madness of Love] from Hadewijch to Today.


Echoes of Mysticism in Modern Literature

  • Janneke Van der Leest, The Concept of the Romantic Artist in the Footsteps of the Mystical Passions
  • Jéssica Costa Bispo,  Mystic Blood Ties: Achieving Connection to the Earthly and the Supernatural through Bonding with Vampires in British and Irish Literature
  • Liesbeth Eugelink, The Will to Surrender: The Mystical Way inHistoire d’O
  • Eqbal Khalifa,  Le Livre des Illuminations de Ghitany. Quand le récit de vie s’épiphanise en un voyage spirituel
  • Lieven De Maeyer, Mystical Passivity and écriture automatique

Middle Dutch Mysticism

Panel: Passions and Being Affected in the Middle Dutch Mystical Tradition

  • Michiel Vandenbroucke, John of Ruusbroec on Passions and Affects
  • John Arblaster, Jan van Leeuwen on Mystical Desolation
  • Rob Faesen, Affectus and Pati Divina in Henry Herp
  • François Manga, The Passion of Pascha: Minne and Liefde on the Way to the Unio Mystica
  • Lieke Smits, Lovesickness as Cure: The Song of Songs and Late Medieval Mystical Narratives


Mysticism and the Image

  • Elliott Daniel Wise,  Jan van Ruusbroec and the Passions of Mystical Artistry in Early Netherlandish Painting
  • Marion Beaufils, Hostia Viva : don et abandon de soi dans deux bel composti par Gian Lorenzo Bernini
  • Katrin Janz-Wenig & Lenka Panušková, The Passional of Abbess Cunigunde: Emotions and Ekfrasis

English Mysticism

  • Louise Nelstrop,  Affect and Passion in the Meditations of the Monk of Farne
  • Rowan Wilson, Hooked on a Feeling: Striving for Passion in the Works of Walter Hilton
  • Liz MacWhirter, My herte can thinke: exploring the intersections between the embodied Christian mysticism of Julian of Norwich, trauma theology, and the emotions, through interdisciplinary creative practice research
  • Richard Norton, Doing All That Makes for Peace and Builds up Our Common Life: Mystics on Pandemics and War


Philosophical Reflection on Mysticism in the 20th Century

  • Martyna Iwanicka, Intentionality of Mystical Passion
  • Daniel Fishley, The Mystical Element in John Caputo’s Thought: A Passion for the Impossible Call
  • Austin Kopack, Seeing the World Aright: Mysticism in the Later Wittgenstein
  • Bianca Ioan, Is There Room for Passion in Mystical Experience? A Response from Michel de Certeau

Mysticism and Mendicant Thinking

  • Anne-Gaëlle Cuif, Per desiderium suavitatis internae. From Passio toDulcedo : the Powers of Affects and the Sweetness of Conversion in Saint Bonaventure
  • Michael Hahn, Christ’s Passion and the Mystic’s Co-Passion: Suffering, co-Suffering and Affective Piety in the early-Franciscan Tradition
  • Fedor Nekhaenko, Meister Eckhart: malevolent passions versus benevolent passive intellect. The influence of Albertus Magnus
  • Axel Oaks Takacs, Being Affected to Affect the World: Suffering and Imagination in the Franciscan Traditions (Christianity) and the School of Love (Islam)

18.15-19.15 Reception

19.15-20.00 Sander Vloebergs e.a., The Wolf of Gubbio (performance)

20.15 Conference dinner

Friday 2 December

  • 9-9.45 Keynote Lecture Marc De Kesel, Jean Genet: a Modern Mystic?


Creative Practice and mysticism

  • Sander Vloebergs, Dancing St. Francis’ Passion: An Artistic and Mystical-Theological Analysis of the Performance The Wolf of Gubbio
  • Harri Hudspith, Getting Into Her Habit: recollection and artistic practice as method for mystical research
  • Nathalia Bell, Ziggurettes
  • Gregory Stark, Epistemologies of Extravagance: Beguine Mysticism, Poetic Passion, and Gay Subjectivities

The Foundations of Mysticism I

  • Matteo Poiani, Syriac Ascetic Vocabulary: an enquiry starting from Evagrius
  • Miklos Vassanyi, The Role of the Heart in the Book of Steps (4th century)
  • Lina Vidauskytė, Passions within Oral and Written Mystical Tradition
  • Stefaan Neirynck, Passions in the early Latin monastic tradition


Mysticism and Gender

  • Francesco Catanzaro, En-gendered Passion: An analysis of gender construction in relation to Christian mystical experience
  • Federica Doria, A Mediation of Female Passion: Christian Mystical Writing
  • Genevieve Caulfield, Desire or surrender? Virtues, emotions and styles of mystical seeing in the late Middle Ages

The Foundations of Mysticism II

  • Beatrice Wyss, Philo of Alexandria and the Desire for God
  • Vladimír Hrabal, The Paradox of Passions in Philokalic Spirituality
  • Abbey Murphy,  Eros and the Mystical Ascent


Mysticism, Activism and Politics in the 20th Century

  • Thomas Sojer, Sentir d’une manière nouvelle. Simone Weil’s translational reading of affective strategies in religion, war, and propaganda.
  • Edda Wolff, A passionate “no” to suffering – passion and compassion as connection points between mysticism and political activism
  • Matt Rosen, Dissent and Mystical Passions in the Society of Friends
  • Luca Siniscalco, The Passion of Christ: metaphysics and metapolitics in Guido De Giorgio

Medieval Mysticism in Germany and Austria

  • Hannah Johnson, Feeling Minne: Embodied Emotion in Mechthild von Magdeburg’s Mystical Devotions
  • Alice Lamy, Les passions clivantes de terreur et d’amour dans le salut mystique de l’âme : le rôle du corps abîmé dans Livre des mérites de la vie de Hildegarde de Bingen 
  • Lorenzo Pompeo, Embodiment of Perfection. The christic Roots of Hildegard of Bingen’s Mysticism of Passion
  • Amanda Langley, Those who venerate His Passion: Enduring, Witnessing, and Celebrating Christ’s Passion in The Life and Revelations of Agnes Blannbekin


Mysticism and/as philosophy

  • Tom Giesbers, Dwelling forms and instrumental forms of the soul and mind: Obereit’s mystic passions as a transformative model within late 18th century philosophical discourse
  • Jacob Zellmer, Paths to God in Spinoza
  • Michaël Bauwens, They knew each other and she conceived a son. Desire of God in Duns Scotus

Early Modern Mysticism

  • Roman Gruijters, François de Sales’ and Jeanne de Chantal’s understanding of La sainte indifférence: Indifference as a mystical virtue and a Christian way of life
  • Kitty Bouwman, Divine Pedagogy in the Works of John of the Cross
  • Paula Almeida-Mendes,  Montrer par mots l’amour pour le Christ souffrant dans l’hagiographie et la biographie dévote au Portugal (XVIe-XVIIe siècles): textes et contextes

18.45-19.00 Concluding remarks Louise Nelstrop - Closing


  • Van der Valk Hotel Nijmegen-Lent - Hertog Eduardplein 4
    Nijmegen, Holland (6663 AN)

Event attendance modalities

Full on-site event


  • Thursday, December 01, 2022
  • Friday, December 02, 2022


  • mystical, theology


  • Stefaan Neirynck
    courriel : stefaan [dot] neirynck [at] titusbrandsmainstituut [dot] nl

Information source

  • Stefaan Neirynck
    courriel : stefaan [dot] neirynck [at] titusbrandsmainstituut [dot] nl


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Passions and the Mystical », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, https://doi.org/10.58079/19bf

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