Books and Book Chapters by University of Dayton Faculty

The Mystical Element of the Modernist Crisis


The Mystical Element of the Modernist Crisis



Though the figures associated with the Modernist crisis in Roman Catholicism are normally viewed as looking forward in terms of critical history and philosophy, they also looked back in history to the church's mystical tradition. Modernists and Mystics is the first book to tell the story of the Modernist turn to the mystical. It focuses on four diverse modernist-era figures—Friedrich von Hügel, Maurice Blondel, Henri Bremond, and Alfred Loisy—and explores their understanding of mysticism and their relationship to mystics.

In the six original essays included in this volume, the authors discuss how von Hügel, Blondel, Bremond, and Loisy all found inspiration in the great mystics of the past. These figures drew inspiration from Fénelon, seeing parallels between the Quietist controversy in which he was deeply involved and the crisis affecting Catholicism in their own day. For them, the reaction against Quietism represented the beginning of a definitive narrowing and suffocating of Catholicism as a living religious tradition. This constriction and hyper-intellectualization of the tradition culminated in the established neo-scholasticism of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century manuals of theology. These Modernists opposed the marginalization of the "mystical element" in religion as well as the consequences that followed from it, and they argued for the restoration of the mystical in the Catholicism of their own time.


9780813217093, 9780813217802

Publication Date


Publication Source

Modernists and Mystics


Catholic University of America Press


Washington, DC


Catholic Studies | Religion


William L. Portier also wrote the preface for this book.

The Mystical Element of the Modernist Crisis