SOAS University of London

Department of Religions & Philosophies, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Mystical Traditions

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2017/2018
Year of study:
Taught in:
Full Year

This course provides students with a general introduction to the study of mysticism and a basic knowledge of mystic thought/experience in different traditions. While the course does not stress the comparative aspect of mysticism, it does encourage students to develop theoretical frames and analytical tools which will allow them a deeper understanding of the phenomenon. 

Special attention is paid to the philosophical and psychological roots of mystic experience and this is complemented by focusing on the historical and socio-cultural reasons which motivated the expansion of mystic groups at different times in diverse places.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

 On successful completion of the course, a student will:

  • Have acquired a sound knowledge of mysticism in different traditions.
  • Have acquired an understanding of different theoretical approaches to mysticism.
  • Be able to critically evaluate and apply these theoretical approaches to the study of mysticism.
  • Be able to research independently combining the theoretical reflection with the study of mysticism in a chosen tradition.
  • Be able to produce two substantial written essays reflecting critical thinking on both theory of mysticism and a chosen mystic tradition.
  • Be able to work with fellow students, actively participate in seminar and give class presentations on a chosen topic.
  • Demonstrate advanced bibliographic and research skills in the study of mysticism.

Method of assessment

Coursework: two 5,000 word essays, two classroom presentations. Assessment: essays 80%, classroom presentations 20%.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules