MY (OUR!) BOOK ON MYSTICISM
In May 2022, my book Mysticism & Materialism in the Wake of German Idealism (co-authored with my dear friend Dr. W. Ezekiel Goggin) was released by Routledge. Why not click on this link to the Routledge site & order yourself a copy?
Here’s a description of what we get up to in this particular work:
This book argues that the rediscovery of mystical theology in nineteenth-century Germany not only helped inspire idealism and romanticism, but also planted the seeds of their overcoming by way of critical materialism. Thanks in part to the Neoplatonic turn in the works of J. G. Fichte, as well as the enthusiasm of mining engineer Franz X. von Baader, mystical themes gained a critical currency, and mystical texts returned to circulation. This reawakening of the mystical tradition influenced romantic and idealist thinkers such as Novalis and Hegel, and also shaped later critical interventions by Marx, Benjamin, and Bataille. Rather than rehearsing well-known connections to Swedenborg or Böhme, this study goes back further to the works of Meister Eckhart, Nicholas of Cusa, Catherine of Siena, and Angela of Foligno. The book offers a new perspective on the reception of mystical self-interrogation in nineteenth-century German thought and will appeal to scholars of philosophy, history, theology, and religious studies.
And here’s a quick glimpse of the Table of Contents of the book I co-wrote with Dr. Goggin, who is an expert in the philosophy of Hegel, Fichte, Novalis, & numerous other thinkers from the era of German Idealism & Romanticism:
Lastly, here are some early comments on our work, which you’ll also find feature on the Routledge site:
“This highly original study of the reception of Platonistic, Eckhartian, and Cusan mysticism in German Idealism, Romanticism, and modern materialism, is a most welcome development and long overdue in the scholarship. Goggin and Hannan do an excellent job of presenting the genuine rationality and critical rejection of Schwärmerei in diverse thinkers such as J.G. Fichte, Novalis, Baader, Hegel, and Walter Benjamin, while still highlighting the undeniable but often overlooked philosophia perennis undercurrent in their philosophies, especially their engagement with imaginative, non-discursive, and intuitive forms of cognition. Mysticism and Materialism in the Wake of German Idealism is a wonderfully passionate and eloquent defense of the power, possibility, and continuing relevance of Neoplatonic mystical thought.”
– David W. Wood, associate editor of SYMPHILOSOPHIE and editor of The Enigma of Fichte’s First Principles
“This is a wonderfully thoughtful and deeply erudite book. Goggin and Hannan show how the question of mysticism in German romanticism is rooted in medieval sources. They argue that the roots of German idealism and romanticism go back beyond Neoplatonism and its philosophical grounding. The book wants to bring the mystical tradition in relation with the material aspects of labor and experience. The question of subjectivity, and the self-emptying of the subject to which the medieval mystics aspired, become issues of immediate importance for the perspectives of modernity. This is a fascinating and superbly informative study that considers a broad but focused range of mystical figures and their singular – even if often unacknowledged – importance in modernist political and philosophical assumptions.”
– Françoise Meltzer, University of Chicago
MY BOOK ON AUGUSTINE
I’ll paste here the blurb from the Bloomsbury site, followed by the table of contents & some mini-reviews, just to offer a basic idea of what the book aims to accomplish:
Sean Hannan offers a new interpretation of Augustine of Hippo’s approach to temporality by contrasting it with contemporary accounts of time drawn from philosophy, political theology, and popular science. Hannan argues that, rather than offering us a deceptively simple roadmap forward, Augustine asks us to face up to the question of time itself before we take on tasks like transforming ourselves and our world.
Augustine discovered that the disorientation we feel in the face of change is a symptom of a deeper problem: namely, that we cannot truly comprehend time, even while it conditions every facet of our lives. This book puts Augustine into creative conversation with contemporary thinkers, from Pierre Hadot and Giorgio Agamben to Steven Pinker and Stephen Hawking, on questions such as the definition of time, the metaphysics of transformation, and the shape of history. The goal is to learn what Augustine can teach us about the nature of temporality and the possibility of change in this temporal world of ours.
Table of Contents
1. The Reality of Time: Between Idealism and Materialism
2. A Brief Theology of Time: From Creation to the Eschaton
3. Enlightenment Never: Eschatology Without Progress
4. Do Not Live in the Now: A Critique of Mindfulness
5. The Instant of Indecision: Possibility of Personal Change
6. The Time Is Not Now: Activism Despite Quietism
Conclusion: The Life’s Future
“For Augustine of Hippo, time is a difficult and yet indispensable beloved. Sean Hannan deftly takes us into the soul-stretch that defines Augustine’s ambivalence toward time and complicates the finality of his final things. This book is witty, insightful, and relevant.”
– James Wetzel, Villanova University, USA
“This is one of the most engaging and insightful recent books on Augustine of Hippo. Sean Hannan’s precise treatment unfolds the vast implications of Augustine’s understanding of time.”
– Thomas Clemmons, Catholic University of America, USA
“Sean Hannan sketches Augustine of Hippo’s tensive view of time as indecisive yet activist, distended yet eschatological. This timely book makes a lasting contribution to one of the perennial problems in Augustine scholarship.”
– Willemien Otten, University of Chicago, USA
“Working at the juncture of historical and contemporary thought, Sean Hannan offers a provocative and insightful examination into the enduring philosophical and theological problem of human temporality. This book draws our attention to Augustine of Hippo’s enduring ability to illuminate a range of issues we continue to debate today.”
– Matthew Drever, University of Tulsa, USA
For a general idea of the development of this project in its earlier stages, see:
In June 2021, the volume Augustine & Time was released by Rowman & Littlefield. As I edited this volume alongside Kim Paffenroth & John Doody, I sought to open up the discussion around Augustinian temporality in ways that might surprise readers familiar with that topic. As a result, we were able to gather together excellent chapters on gender, medieval studies, Islam, & Buddhist philosophy, all with an eye to the lessons that Augustine still has to teach us about how strange it is to live within time. Here’s a glimpse of the Table of Contents:
Part I: Interpreting Augustine On Time
Chapter 1: Time, Eternity, and History in Augustine’s Early Works by Thomas Clemmons
Chapter 2: Keeping Time in Mind: Saint Augustine’s Solution to a Perplexing Problem by Alexander R. Eodice
Chapter 3: Time After Augustine by James Wetzel
Part II: Time, Language, And Song
Chapter 4: Living as Singing: Augustine’s Understanding of the Voice of Creatures in the Confessions by Makiko Sato
Chapter 5: Time, Mirror of the Soul by Cristiane Negreiros Abbud Ayoub
Chapter 6: The Inner Word and the Outer Word: Time, Temporality, and Language in Augustine and Gadamer by Matthew W. Knotts
Part III: Time, Embodiment, And Gender
Chapter 7: Augustinian Temporality and Resurrected Bodies by Paul Ulishney
Chapter 8: Love in the Time of Augustine: Rape, Suicide, and Resurrection in the City of God by Patricia Grosse
Chapter 9: Augustine and the Gendered Self in Time by Megan Loumagne Ulishney
Part IV: Augustinian Temporality in The Middle Ages
Chapter 10: Augustine and Avicenna on the Puzzle of Time Without Time by Celia Hatherly
Chapter 11: The Timing of Creation: Aquinas’s Reception of Augustine by Daniel W. Houck
Chapter 12: Augustine’s Dilemma: Divine Eternity and the Reality of Temporal Passage by Brendan Case
Chapter 13: Thomas Bradwardine: A Fourteenth-Century Augustinian View of Time by Sarah Hogarth Rossiter
Chapter 14: Time After Time: Gregory of Rimini, Contingents Past and Future, and Augustinian Critique by Matthew Vanderpoel
Part V: Augustinian And Buddhist Temporalities
Chapter 15: Non-Presentism in Antiquity: South Asian Buddhist Perspectives by Sonam Kachru
Chapter 16: Breaking the Stream of Consciousness: Momentariness and the Eternal Present by Davey K. Tomlinson
Chapter 17: Out of the Abyss: On Pedagogical Relationality and Time in the Confessions and the Lotus Sutra by Joy Brennan
Continuing with my commitment to publicizing the work of others, I’m now working as a co-editor on two more volumes: Augustine & Ethics (again with Paffenroth for Rowman & Littlefield) and Mystical Theology & Platonism in the Time of Cusanus (with Jason Aleksander, Joshua Hollmann, & Michael E. Moore for Brill). More updates to come soon!
ARTICLES & CHAPTERS
“Through a Clock Darkly: the Time of the Eye in Nicholas of Cusa’s De visione Dei.” In Mystical Theology and Platonism in the Time of Cusanus. Eds. Jason Aleksander, Joshua Alexander, Michael E. Moore, and Sean Hannan. Leiden: Brill.
“Optatus of Milevis and the Improvisation of Universalism.” Proceedings of the Lived Ancient Religion in North Africa Conference (Madrid, Feb. 19-21, 2020).
“Individuating Time: the Indivisible Moment in Augustine and Ancient Atomism.” The Unique, the Singular, and the Individual: the Debate about the Non-Comparable. Eds. Ingolf U. Dalferth and Trevor W. Kimball. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
“The Enforcement of Violence and the Force of Love in Augustine: Epistle 93 and its Aftermath.” Studia Patristica (2021).
“The Alienated Interiority of Cogitatio.” Re-Thinking Augustine on Interiority. Eds. Matthew W. Knotts, Anthony Dupont, & Gerald Boersma. Brill, Forthcoming.
“Demonic Historiography & the Historical Sublime in Augustine’s City of God.” Studia Patristica XCVIII, vol. 24 (Autumn 2017), 553-560.
Pilgrimage as Moral and Aesthetic Formation in Augustine’s Thought, by Sarah Stewart-Kroeker, Journal of Religion (forthcoming).
The Space of Time: a Sensualist Interpretation of Time in Augustine, Confessions X to XII, by David van Dusen, Louvain Studies 38 (2014).