On 28-29 November a highly international group of about fifty participants descended on Faculty Club Huize Heyendael for the TBI conference Mysticism and/as Love Theory. Scholars and other interested persons were all there to discuss the nature of love. This is a mystery on which Christian mystics have always reflected profoundly. The various theories of love that are more or less overtly present in the writings of such well-known mystics as Hadewijch, Beatrice of Nazareth, Maria Petyt and John of St. Samson, the vita of St Lutgardis and the Arnhem Mystical Sermons, therefore provided material for the majority of the papers that were presented.
Orthodox mysticism and the Romanticism of Novalis were also briefly explored, and there was even an excursion to the Middle and Far East, as represented by the poetry of Rumi and Mahadeviyakka. The remaining papers delved into the modern reflections on and adaptations of the love theories of the mystical tradition in the mystical, philosophical and psychoanalytical writings of Kierkegaard, Simone Weil, Sartre and Foucault.
The papers may not have altogether solved the mystery of love, but taken together, they certainly did meet the conference’s twofold goal of exploring the love theories that are present in traditional Christian mysticism and their influence on modern thinkers. The many pleasant conversations and generous conference dinner crowned the intellectual gratification with pleasure.
Look at the pictures of our conference: