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Independent Reading Groups

Franz von Baader: Writings and Sources of a Christian Mystic

The group will consider a selection of readings on the role of eros in the tradition of Christian mysticism through the work of the romantic ‘theosopher’, Franz von Baader (1765-1841).  Though virtually unknown in the English-speaking world, Baader is a thinker deserving of greater attention for this contribution to the grand tradition of Neoplatonic mysticism, and for putting this tradition into a surprising conversation with German Idealism .  Baader was known by his colleagues (e.g. Hegel and Schelling) as the ‘Professor of Love’, and he regarded the mystical experience as fundamentally erotic.  Baader dedicated two treatises specifically to this perennial theme of the mystical thought which will book-end the selected texts of the reading group.  In between, our group will read a selection of the principal sources of Baader’s ‘theosophic’ mysticism.  All of Baader’s sources are available online in English translation, save a treatise in French by Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin; this latter work is also available online.  For the session on Saint-Martin, members should have a reading competency in French, but this should not discourage those who do not read French, as the balance of the readings, as mentioned, are readily available in English.  Baader has not been translated into English, but the convenors will provide translations of the works to be read by the group. Those with a German reading competence will be encouraged to read the German original alongside the English translation.  

Reading Schedule
Readings to be distributed to group members by email

Convenors: peter [dot] bryson [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Dr. James Bryson) and Hadi Fakhoury
Meeting times: Wednesdays, 5:00-7:00pm: 15, 29 January, 12, 19 February, 12, 26 March
Room 100, Senior Common Room, Birks Building, 3520 University St.