From visions and voices to self-torture and levitation, mystical phenomena have shaped the Christian heritage. Spanning two thousand years of Christian history, Mystics of the Christian Tradition examines the lives, times, and mystical experiences of almost one hundred Christian mystics from Jesus to the later Roman Catholic saints.
In colorful detail, Fanning explores how mysticism has been defined throughout the ages. St. Francis of Assisi, hearing the voice of God, was led to live with lepers and kiss their sores. Margery Kempe, divinely inspired, took weeping to new decibel levels. Even Joan of Arc and Christopher Columbus might be seen as mystics, spurred to action by divine vision.
While the term mystical may be used as a synonym for the occult or the bizarre, mysticism, Fanning argues, is at the heart of all religions. Not only the founders of the great world religions -- Christ, the Buddha, Mahomet -- but also the leaders of the mainstream Christian sects drew strength from direct contact with the divine. And today, the revival of mysticism is one of the most remarkable trends of contemporary spiritual life.
Enlightening, mysterious, and a great read, Mystics of the Christian Tradition is a comprehensive guide to the mystics of the Christian church and their meaning for the present.