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My Favourite Mystic

My Favourite Mystic

By AJ Langley
AJ Langley speaks with scholars about their favourite mystic, why they love mysticism as a subject, and the weird and wonderful world of mystical experiences.
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My Favourite Mystic 4: Laura Saetveit Miles on Richard Methley

My Favourite Mystic

My Favourite Mystic 10: Michael Hahn on Angela of Foligno
AJ Langley speaks to Michael Hahn about the lay penitent (Franciscan) mystic Angela of Foligno (d.1309). We discuss her importance as a theologian, her fear of damnation, her spiritual sons, the abyss, lots of screaming and weeping, and how family can get in the way of a religious life (CW: death of family discussed) Michael Hahn is a theologian and medieval church historian. While his research and teaching has covered different aspects of the historical study of religion and spirituality, his main focus is on early-Franciscan mystical theologies: its different expressions; distinctive nature; and reception. He is currently Tutor in Divinity at the University of London where he teaches ‘The History of Christianity’ and has previously lectured at York St John University – where he designed and taught a module on ‘Mysticism in World Religions’ – and St Andrews, where he taught church history. Follow us on Twitter: Michael Hahn: @M_S_Hahn My Favourite Mystic: @myfavmystic AJ Langley: @medievalmystics
June 10, 2021
My Favourite Mystic 9: Einat Klafter on Margery Kempe
AJ Langley speaks to Einat Klafter about the one and only Margery Kempe (c. 1373- after 1436). We discuss her pilgrimages, her co-authorship of her text, her sacralising of the mundane, and how she was just... a lot. (CW: depression and self-harm are discussed) Einat Klafter is a co-director of the Exceptional Selves Humanities Lab at the Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies at Tel Aviv University, and co-founder of the Mysticism & Lived Experience Network (@mle_network). Her research interests include the mystic Margery Kempe, late-medieval devotion, sacred spaces, embodiment, lived experiences, sexuality and gender studies, and popular culture (both past and present). She is currently working on a project that examines how lived experience of late-medieval mystics impacts the conceptualization and articulation of mystical union with God. Follow us on Twitter: Michael Hahn: @medievalk My Favourite Mystic: @myfavmystic AJ Langley: @medievalmystics
May 27, 2021
My Favourite Mystic 8: Lauren Cole on Hildegard von Bingen
AJ Langley speaks to Lauren Cole about the mystic, writer, and polymath Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). We talk about her medical texts, the effect of the humors on reproduction, the use of Adam and Eve, and foaming semen. Brief asides into the "gatekeeping" of the designation of individuals as "mystics" and Lauren's call for everyone to join her on TikTok (@MedievalLauren). Lauren Cole is an independent scholar who works on Hildegard of Bingen. Her primary research focus is on the relationship between Hildegard’s visionary theology and her medicine, which has not yet received much academic attention. She is particularly interested in gendered constructions of authority, the presentation of Adam and Eve, and the use of female embodiment in text and image throughout Hildegard’s works. Lauren received her MA in History from the University of Bristol in 2018 and will start a PhD in Autumn 2021. She is passionate about public engagement and runs a TikTok account (@MedievalLauren) dedicated to busting myths about the Middle Ages and raising awareness of medieval female mystics. She is the founder of the hashtag #HildegardTok. She also has a blog that you can find at Notes and updates: At the 4 minute mark, please note that Hildegard’s description of the female orgasm is the earliest surviving in the Western canon. Follow us on Twitter: My Favourite Mystic: @myfavmystic Lauren Cole: @MedievalLauren AJ Langley: @medievalmystics
May 13, 2021
My Favourite Mystic 7: Jane Shaw on Evelyn Underhill
AJ Langley speaks to Jane Shaw about the mystic, writer, and spiritual advisor, Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941). We talk about her quest for authentic spirituality, her letters of spiritual advise (which are very funny and worth a read), her work as a retreat leader, and her ability to find a balance between spiritual and domestic life. Jane Shaw is Professor of the History of Religion and Principal of Harris Manchester College at the University of Oxford (@HMCOxford). For more from Jane on Evelyn Underhill, you can read her book, Pioneers of Modern Spirituality: The neglected Anglican innovators of a 'spiritual but not religious' age (2017). Follow us on Twitter: My Favourite Mystic: @myfavmystic AJ Langley: @medievalmystics
April 29, 2021
My Favourite Mystic 6: Meagan Khoury on Catherine of Siena
AJ Langley speaks to Meagan Khoury about the lay Dominican mystic and holy woman Catherine of Siena (1347-1380). We talk about the "Miracoli", Catherine's "projects" (including her prolific letter writing campaigns), and her fixation on breasts and hearts. Plus, as an added bonus, Meagan shares a bit about Saint Sarah (also called Sara la Kali) and her veneration in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.  Meagan Khoury is a doctoral student in Art History at Stanford University with a focus on female mystics, single women, and late medieval medical humanities. In her work, questions of queer embodiment, interiority, and female utopias are interrogated with the assistance of French feminist philosophers Simone de Beauvoir and Simone Weil. Follow us on Twitter: My Favourite Mystic: @myfavmystic Meagan Khoury: @ArtemisiasJ AJ Langley: @medievalmystics
April 15, 2021
My Favourite Mystic 5: Lieke Smits on Bernard of Clairvaux
AJ Langley speaks to Lieke Smits about the Cistercian mystic and scholar Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1139). We talk about his Sermons on the Song of Songs, the Cistercian Order, the balancing of austerity and humility, and the desperate need for a feature film on Bernard himself (don't worry, we have already taken care of the casting).  For more of Lieke's work on Bernard, you can read her recent article: "Practice, Process, and Performance: Shaping a Devotional Habitus in the Margins of Bernard of Clairvaux's Sermons on the Song of Songs"  Follow us on Twitter: My Favourite Mystic: @myfavmystic Lieke Smits: @Lieke_A_S AJ Langley: @medievalmystics
April 1, 2021
My Favourite Mystic 4: Laura Saetveit Miles on Richard Methley
AJ Langley speaks to Laura Saetveit Miles about the works of late-medieval Carthusian monk Richard Methley (c. 1451-1527/8). Topics include writing about the inability to continue writing while writing, life in a Carthusian monastery, and the newly published translations of Methley's texts.  To purchase a copy of the new translation of Richard Methley's work visit Laura Saetveit Miles is associate professor of British Literature in the department of foreign languages at the University of Bergen, Norway. She was trained and worked in the US and UK. She works on medieval religious culture in England, especially devotional, visionary, mystical, and monastic literatures. Her monograph The Virgin Mary’s Book at the Annunciation: Reading, Interpretation, and Devotion in Medieval England came out in 2020 with Boydell & Brewer, and she has also published articles on Julian of Norwich, Syon Abbey, the Carthusians, Richard Methley, and Birgitta of Sweden. Her current project is on Birgitta of Sweden’s influence in late medieval England.
March 18, 2021
My Favourite Mystic 3: Carolyn Muessig on Julian of Norwich
AJ Langley speaks to Professor Carolyn Muessig (University of Calgary) about the fourteenth-century English mystic and anchorite Julian of Norwich. We discuss hope, Julian's faith in humanity and belief in a compassionate God, and the benefits of The Revelations of Divine Love as a teaching tool.  Professor Carolyn Muessig is the Chair of Christian Thought in the Department of Classics and Religion, University of Calgary. She specializes in Medieval Christianity, with particular emphasis on its devotional dimensions and the contribution of female teachers and preachers in Western Europe. Among her publications are The Faces of Women in the Sermons of Jacques de Vitry and The Stigmata in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. She enjoys teaching undergraduates, MA and PhD students. She has supervised to completion over four dozen graduate students. She is presently assessing the activities of medieval and early modern female preachers. Professor Muessig is committed to bringing together diverse communities from within and outside academe to explore the significance of Christianity in art, history and culture.
March 4, 2021
My Favourite Mystic 2: Pavlina Kulagina on Margareta Ebner
Host AJ Langley speaks with Pavlina Kulagina about the fourteenth-century German mystic and nun Margareta Ebner. We discuss liturgical practice in mystical texts, whether the baby Christ was wrapped in Joseph's pants, and using the image of Christ on the cross as a pillow. Some disturbing scenes discussed including the brief mention of violence towards a pregnant woman within Margareta's text.   
February 18, 2021
My Favourite Mystic 1: Robert Dickins on Juliana Fawcett
AJ Langley speaks to Robert Dickins (Twitter: @Cofgodas and @PsypressUK) about the nineteenth-century, English medium Juliana Fawcett. We touch on spiritual pregnancy, Emanuel Swedenborg, psychedelics, and middle-class heaven.
February 18, 2021
My Favourite Mystic: Trailer
An introduction to My Favourite Mystic: a Podcast about the Weird and Wonderful World of Mysticism. Hosted by AJ Langley (@medievalmystics on Twitter).
February 10, 2021