Course Syllabus

Spanish Mystics & Reformers:

(IST 3111; 4 Credits; HI-Depth Course)

(RLGN 4505; 4 Credits; Joint Doctoral Program Elective Course)

Fall Term 2019: Monday September 9th to Friday November 15th

On-Campus Class Sessions:

Wednesday Oct. 9th, 1-5 PM; and Thursday Oct. 10th, 8 AM-Noon.  Classroom: Bartlett 

Instructor: Albert Hernández, Ph.D. 




Course Description/Synopsis:

Early modern Spain witnessed the emergence of Catholic and Protestant individuals whose timeless works and popular appeal in subsequent centuries rested largely upon the practice of "contemplation in action." This course examines the historical context and works of such mystics and reformers as Teresa of Ávila, John of the Cross, Ignatius of Loyola, Juan de Valdés, Constantino Ponce de la Fuente, Cipriano de Valera, Casiodoro de Reina, Antonio del Corro, and others. It also explores the influence of Islam and Judaism on these sixteenth century religious movements, as well as modern Spain's subsequent rejection of this pluralistic legacy as the young nation-state sought to define its new national identity and consolidate power across Europe and its vast colonial territories in the Western Hemisphere.  

Course Objectives: (Click here to view Course Learning Goals)

Required Course Textbooks and Readings: 

Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle (1588).  [Any edition or format is OK for our purposes in this course, --with the exception of the Mirabai Starr translation, which makes too many incorrect word usages and translations against the original Spanish text. The translations by E. Allison Peers (see: Interior Castle. Dover Thrift Editions, 2007) and Kieran Kavanaugh (see: The Interior Castle: Study Edition. I.C.S. Publications, 2010) are each considered the very best translations for college-level student readers and scholarly researchers alike].

Bernard McGinn, Mysticism in the Golden Age of Spain, 1500-1650. Volume VI, Part 2 of the series,The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism. Crossroad Publishing Company, 2017. [ISBN: 978-0-8245-0090-0]. 

Additional required readings, from primary and secondary sources, will be made available to students under the "Files" tab of our Canvas course site, and will be listed on the "Course Summary" section of the syllabus for each respective week of the course with full author, title, and page number information as well as any relevant external links from each source or for each excerpt.  

Suggested Additional Reading: ---(Optional Texts/Purchase Not Required)---

Brian A. Catlos, Kingdoms of Faith: A New History of Islamic Spain. Basic Books/Hachette Books, 2018.

Robert Goodwin, Spain, the Centre of the World, 1519-1682. Bloomsbury Press, 2015.

Kevin Madigan, Medieval Christianity: A New History. Yale University Press, 2015.

Carlos Eire, Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650. Yale University Press, 2016.

William Meninger, Saint John of the Cross for Beginners. Lantern Books, 2014.


Accessing and Regularly Checking the Canvas Course Site:

  • Students are expected to use the Canvas course site/page to familiarize themselves with the entire course syllabus, the required weekly reading assignments from the different primary and secondary sources, and with all required and graded assignments throughout the duration of the course.
  • Students are expected to check the Canvas course site/page regularly for important announcements or updates from the instructor.
  • Historical timelines, relevant images from the historical periods covered in the course, and links to additional web-based resources are also available on the Canvas course site/page and on the files tab for the course.

Guidelines for Class/Group Discussions:

  • In order to participate effectively with their peers in each required/graded Class Discussion, students will be expected to have read the assignments for each week of the course, and to have viewed the respective video lecture(s) for the week of the class discussion
  • A paragraph or so, or four to six complete sentences, is sufficient to receive credit. You can always do more if you like, but the idea is to generate conversation with each other while reflecting on the discussion topic.
  • Each required/graded Class Discussion/Open Forum is structured on Canvas so that you must first post your reply to the actual discussion topic, and then the next time you log-in to post you will be permitted to see others’ replies to the topic. You will get credit for doing the discussion assignment, and you will receive no credit if you don't do it--simple as that.   
  • Students are expected to participate respectfully in the online class Discussion by interacting in both positive and critically thoughtful ways with their peers and with the instructor. 

Mandatory Attendance:

  • Attendance during the On-Campus Class Sessions on Wednesday October 9, 2019 from 1 PM to 5 PM, and Thursday October 10, 2019 from 8 AM to Noon is Mandatory. (As stated in the I.S.T. Masters Student Handbook, in order to receive a passing grade and full-credit for this course, attendance and full participation in both of this week's residential class sessions is required).

Writing Lab: 

Grammar and organization are important for all written assignments.  Additional help is available from the Iliff Writing Lab (Links to an external site.), which is available for students of any level who need help beginning an assignment, organizing thoughts, or reviewing a final draft. 

Academic Integrity and Core Values:  

All students are expected to abide by Iliff’s statement on Academic Integrity, as published in the Masters Student Handbook (Links to an external site.), or the Joint PhD Statement on Academic Honesty, as published in the Joint PhD Student Handbook (Links to an external site.), as appropriate.  All participants in this class are expected to be familiar with Iliff’s Core Values (Links to an external site.).

Incomplete Grades: 

  • Incomplete Grade petitions will be granted only in the case of documented and verifiable medical circumstances or other personal or family related emergencies. In the event a student requires this option, the final grade for the course will be assigned as a "Pass" (P) or "Fail" (F) grade.   

Additional Policies & Services: 

For information about A.D.A. Accommodations, or for information about additional Iliff School of Theology "Policies & Services" go to this tab/section of our Canvas course page or go there by clicking on this Link.

Evaluation: (Click here to view Grading Procedures and Assignments)

Course Summary:

Date Details Due