CFP: ‘Passions and the Mystical: between Affecting and Being Affected’, International Conference, Nijmegen, Titus Brandsma Institute, 1-2 December 2022, deadline: 18 March 2022

It is a pleasure to invite you to Passions and the Mystical: between Affecting and Being Affected. The
conference is jointly organized by the Mystical Theology Network (MTN) and the Titus Brandsma
Institute of the Radboud University (TBI) and will take place in Nijmegen on 1-2 December, 2022.
The aim of this conference is to bring together theologians, religious studies scholars, philosophers,
literary scholars, historians and scholars working in related fields to discuss and map out the wider
semantic field of the ‘passion(s)’ across mystical traditions. The conference aims to address questions
such as:

  • How do the mystics across different traditions view their own passions and emotions?
  • What role do the passions of others play in accounts of the mystical?
  • How is gender factored into the mystical use of passions?
  • How do mystics understand their passions in relation to key events within their tradition (e.g. the
  • Passion of Christ within the Christian tradition)?
  • How is erotic language ‘translated’ into passionate mystic literature?
  • To what extent can mystical experiences be considered passions in their own right?
  • How do mystical passions relate to emotions and what can they contribute to the history of
  • emotions?
  • Can mystical passions contribute to social engagement and political resistance (e.g. D. Sölle, M.
  • de Certeau), including issue of race and gender?
  • How does modern artistic engagement deal with this passionate mystical heritage?

Topics for proposals include, but are not limited to:

  • Relationship between passions and emotions in mystical texts.
  • Mystical passions and the history of emotions.
  • Critical close-readings of mystical texts from various traditions focusing on ‘passions’.
  • Comparative studies of passions across mystical traditions.
  • Mysticism, Gender and Passions.
  • Conceptualization of the notions of passivity/agency, consent, effort and grace and their
  • interrelations in the mystical tradition.
  • The influence of philosophical discourses on the passions on mystical authors and, vice versa, the
  • influence of mystical discourses on philosophical passion theories (Descartes, Pascal…).
  • Reception and critique of mystical discourses on the Passion and the passions in recent non-
  • mystical (theological, philosophical, literary, historical etc.) authors.
  • Passions and intimacy in the mystical reception of the Song of Songs, Kabbalah, etc.
  • Influence of mystical passions on modern artistic practices and theories.
  • Persistence of mystical passions within political and social engagements, including issues of race
  • and gender.

The deadline to submit abstracts is Friday March 18th, 2022.
Proposals are accepted in English, Dutch, French and German.
Please send your abstract to

All proposals should include:

  • Full name
  • E-mail
  • Current institution and/or academic affiliation
  • Title of the paper of Project
  • Proposal (up to 350 words)

We invite the following proposals:

Paper proposal — A proposal for presenting a short (20 minute) original paper.

Session proposal — A proposal for a session or roundtable where different papers are
presented on a common theme and emphasis is placed on shared discourse. Session proposals
should include abstract, name of presider, list of panelists or respondents.

For more information, visit the Titus Brandsma Institute (Research centre for mysticism and spirituality) website.

For any enquiries, please contact: Lieven De Maeyer or
Stefaan Neirynck ( )

Image: The Church, the Bride of Christ and Mother of the Faithful in Baptism. Illustration to Scivias II.3, fol. 51r from the 20th-century facsimile of the Rupertsberg manuscript, c. 1165–1180. Source: Wikimedia Commons


Published by Dr Julia Faiers

Julia Faiers received her PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2021. She wrote her thesis on the art patronage of Louis d’Amboise, bishop of Albi from 1474 to 1503, under the supervision of Professor Kathryn Rudy. Her postdoctoral research includes the nineteenth-century reception of medieval art and architecture, and late-medieval female art patronage in France. Julia gained a First Class Honours degree in art history at the University of St Andrews (1995). She won a British Academy Award to study for her MA in German Expressionism at The Courtauld under the supervision of Dr Shulamith Behr (1997), and spent almost twenty years working as a journalist before returning to academia in 2016.

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