Approaches to Teaching Teresa of Ávila and the Spanish Mystics

  • Editor: Alison Weber
  • Pages: vii & 297 pp.
  • Published: 2009
  • ISBN: 9781603290234 (Paperback)
  • ISBN: 9781603290227 (Cloth)
Approaches to Teaching Teresa of vila and the Spanish Mystics Cover

“I found the essays as well as the discussion of the evaluation process very stimulating from a pedagogical perspective. I also appreciated the volume’s interdisciplinary orientation through its inclusion of essays involving painting, sculpture, and music. I got any number of ideas for classroom activities.”

—Ronald E. Surtz, Princeton University

The writings of Teresa of Ávila and the Spanish mystics, most notably John of the Cross and Luis de León, aroused passionate responses when they were composed. Though today’s students realize that religious beliefs have wide-ranging consequences, they are presented with particular challenges in studying the Spanish mystics because of their unfamiliarity with the linguistic, social, and religious history of early modern Spain. This volume is designed to help instructors elicit students’ curiosity, sympathy, and appreciation for writings that can at first seem alien or confusing.

Part 1, “Materials,” recommends accessible editions and translations; print, electronic, and visual resources; background and critical studies; and sources on the philosophical and theological responses to the Spanish mystics. Part 2, “Approaches,” presents methods for teaching the historical contexts of and various theoretical perspectives on the mystics’ works. Contributors consider these authors in relation to Islamic and Jewish mysticism, the traditions of women’s writing, feminism, theology, and autobiography. They also recommend ways to teach particular texts in different kinds of courses and institutions.

Gillian T. W. Ahlgren
Linda Belau
Dana Bultman
Joan Cammarata
William Childers
David H. Darst
Darcy Donahue
Ralph Keen
Dona M. Kercher
Howard Mancing
Michael McGaha
Bárbara Mujica
Kathleen Ann Myers
Mario A. Ortiz
Amanda Powell
Helen H. Reed
Elizabeth Rhodes
María del Pilar Ryan
Emily Scida
Barbara Simerka
Carole Slade
Cordula van Wyhe
Sherry Velasco
Marta V. Vicente
Lisa Vollendorf
Christopher C. Wilson

Preface to the Series (ix)

Acknowledgments (x)

 Introduction (1)

PART ONE: MATERIALS

Alison Weber

Editions

Anthologies in Spanish (17)

Editions in Spanish (18)

Bilingual Editions and Translations (19)

The Instructor’s Library

Reference Works (20)

Historical and Literary Studies (21)

Religious and Theological Studies (24)

Aids to Teaching

Music (25)

Internet Resources (26)

Illustrated Books (27)

Films (28)

Teresa in English Translation (30)

Amanda Powell

The Language of Teresa of Ávila (39)

Emily E. Scida

PART TWO: APPROACHES

Historical Perspectives

Mysticism in History: The Case of Spain’s Golden Age (47)

Elizabeth Rhodes

Spanish Mysticism and the Islamic Tradition (57)

William Childers

Teresa of Ávila and the Question of Jewish Influence (67)

Michael McGaha

Was Teresa of Ávila a Feminist? (74)

Bárbara Mujica

After Teresa: Mysticism in Seventeenth-Century Europe (83)

Cordula van Wyhe

Theoretical Perspectives

The Mystical Encounter with Extremity: Teaching Teresa through Psychoanalytic Theory (95)

Linda Belau

Teaching Spanish Women Mystics with Theories of Autobiography (102)

Sherry Velasco

Feminist Epistemology and Pedagogy in Teresa of Ávila (107)

Barbara Simerka

Specific Course Contexts

Making Mysticism Accessible to Undergraduates (114)

Lisa Vollendorf

Teaching Teresa of Ávila’s The Book of Her Life in the Tradition of Western Spiritual Autobiography (123)

Carole Slade

Successful Mystics and Failed Mystics: Teaching Teresa of Ávila in the Women’s Studies Classroom (134)

Marta V. Vicente

Defiance and Obedience: Reading the Spanish Mystics in Historical Context (142)

María del Pilar Ryan

A Transatlantic Perspective: The Influence of Teresa’s Model on New World Women (148)

Kathleen Ann Myers

The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: Teaching Teresa of Ávila in a Women Writers Course (157)

Alison Weber

Strictly Academic? Teaching Religious Texts in a Secular Setting (166)

Ralph Keen

Teaching Teresa as a Theologian (172)

Gillian T. W. Ahlgren

Teaching Spanish Mysticism at an Undergraduate Catholic College: Issues of Relevance, Accessibility, and Self-Censorship (181)

Dona M. Kercher

Where’s Teresa? The Construction of Teresa of Ávila in the Visual Arts (190)

Christopher C. Wilson

Teaching Specific Texts

Reading “Noche oscura” Twice (202)

Howard Mancing

Teresa of Ávila and Ignatius of Loyola: A Gender-Based Approach to Spiritual Autobiography (208)

Darcy Donahue

Teaching Imagery and Allegory in Teresa of Ávila’s The Interior Castle (218)

Joan Cammarata

Teaching Teresa’s Libro de las fundaciones (The Book of Foundations) (225)

Helen H. Reed

Comparing Humanist and Mystical Understanding in Luis de Léon’s “Noche serena” and John of the Cross’s “La noche oscura” (232)

Dana Bultman

Teaching Luis de León’s Mystical Poetry as Pilgrimage (240)

David H. Darst

Mysticism and Early Modern Musical-Cosmological Paradigms (247)

Mario A. Ortiz

Notes on Contributors (259)

Survey Participants (263)

Works Cited (265)

Index of Names (291)