B.A.; M.A.; S.T.L.; Ph.D.
Room 309; ext. 255
Teaching Level: Basic Degree, GCTS Full (Regular Faculty)
Specializations: Spirituality and Philosophy of Religion
Departments: Cross-listed to Theological and Pastoral Theology
Michael Stoeber is Professor of Spirituality and Philosophy of Religion at Regis College, with special interests in comparative mysticism and theodicy. He is Scarboro Missions Chair in Interreligious Dialogue and cross appointed to the Department for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto. His current research explores comparative issues in meditation, prayer, and yoga as well as topics on the intersection of spirituality and art.
Articles and Chapters
This book proposes a narrative of life within which one might understand suffering in relation to a personal God of ultimate power and love. It seeks to interpret suffering within a fundamentally compassionate and redemptive understanding of the Christian God. It explores various themes of theodicy — theology that defends God in the face of evil – creatively developing a distinction between transformative and destructive suffering. Some suffering has positive effects on people who struggle with it, but certain kinds of suffering are bitterly destructive. In response to such suffering, the book analyses the dynamics of human and divine compassion. It suggests basic principles toward developing a politics of compassion and illustrates how various spiritual experiences of God are healing and life-giving. Within a religious view that stresses compassion, healing, and spiritual growth, the book also explores the relevance of the ideas of heaven, hell, purgatory and rebirth in responding to suffering.
The anthology is a collection of essays that discuss various aspects of paranormal phenomena, such as telepathy, psychokinesis, trance-mediumship, near death experiences, and past-life memories. In response to recent research and studies, both critical and supportive of the subject, they reflect on what is reasonable to believe about this phenomena, and why. Also, the essays suggest what changes might be demanded in our worldview, if these phenomena are accepted as genuine. The collection includes essays by Susan Armstrong, Heather Botting, Stephen Braude, Don Evans, David Ray Griffin, James Horne, Terence Penelhum, and the editors.
In response to contemporary accounts of mystic phenomena, this book proposes a creative interpretive framework for understanding mysticism. It postulates and explores various kinds of mystical experience, illustrating how they might be related and integrated within a narrative of spiritual movement and transformation. In this view, radically apophatic, monistic experiences of oneness or unity, are connected with “theo-monistic” realizations—experiences which include dynamic and personal elements that are creative and moral, and to which other kinds of mysticism might also be related. This view of mysticism is illustrated through a comparative study of Rāmānuja, Aurobindo, Śankara, Ruusbroec, Eckhart, Boehme, and other Christian and Hindu mystics.
Theodicies are systems of philosophy that attempt to rationalize the existence of evil in a God-centered world. They do not normally take into account the responses to evil by mystics – people who speak of encountering divine reality in an immediate or direct fashion that transcends normal categories of experience. Evil and the Mystics’ God analyses the contribution that mystical thought makes towards establishing a reliable theodicy. Major subject figures include F. Dostoevsky, J. Hick, E. Underhill, J. Boehme, Eckhart, Shankara, and Aurobindo Ghose.