Mysticism – A Medieval Quest for Spiritual Epiphany talk


Meister des Hildegardis-Codex (Public Domain) | Wikimedia Commons)

  • Wed, Apr 26, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
  • Himmel Park Library, 1035 North Treat Avenue, Tucson, AZ


    “Throughout time, but especially in the Middle Ages, individuals have been graced with visions, i.e., personal experiences with God or other saintly beings. Since the twelfth century, European mystics (especially women) reported about out-of-body experiences in which their souls were graced with a direct, personal encounter with the Godhead, which granted them unique and unheard-of authority. This talk will explore the meaning/history of mysticism and present its salient features through music and images, reflecting on individuals such as Hildegard of Bingen or Catherine of Siena. This talk addresses both religious phenomena and also highlights unique aspects in women’s lives. Presented by Dr. Albrecht Classen and AZ Humanities.”

Carolyn’s note: My husband is a University Distinguished Professor at the Univerisity of Arizona and has been researching and writing on the Middle Ages for over 30 years.  His website:

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Carolyn Classen
Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, (since Jan. 2013).


  1. Tonight about 25 people listened to my husband explain what are the Middle Ages, what is mysticism, material vs. spiritual history, and the quest for spiritual manifestations. He gave examples of two German mystics — Hildegard von Bingen and Mechthild von Magdeburg who tried to express these visions in art, poetry or writing, but that such attempts were “ineffable”, as beyond description of their abilities to talk with God, to be one with the Godhead. My questions usually at these talks is where are the mystics today?

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