This module is part of the Distance Learning Website of the Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland (CIBI)


The first three units intend to lay the foundations for understanding mystical experience and the process of spiritual transformation using the writings of William James, George Lindbeck, Denys Turner and Evelyn Underhill. Unit 4 addresses the topic of the impact of the mystical experience on the early writings of St John of the Cross, and the process of composition of other poems and his major works. Units 5-9 consider literary aspects of John’s poetry and prose, the development of critical approaches to his work and the relationship between John’s poetry and prose-writings. Unit 10 provides an overview of the theological content of treatises The Ascent of Mount Carmel & The Dark Night of the Soul.

The assigned reading for each module (which is detailed at the beginning of each unit) will be either material you can access on the Internet or material taken from one or other of the two standard English translations of John’s Collected Works below. In their submitted assessments, students should will be expected to show that they have engaged with the relevant sections of the assigned textbooks:

The Complete Works of Saint John of the Cross, translated and edited by E. Allison Peers, from the critical edition of Silverio de Santa Teresa, New ed., 3 vols. Westminster: Newman Press, 1953. Reprinted by Sheed & Ward, I vol. 1978. In the sections on assigned reading at the beginning of each unit, this work will be referred to as Complete Works (Peers).

The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodríguez, with introductions by Kieran Kavanaugh. Washington DC: I.C.S. Publications, 1979. Revised Edition 1991. In the sections on assigned reading at the beginning of each unit, these works will be referred to as Complete Works (Kavanaugh & Rodríguez 1979) and Complete Works (Kavanaugh & Rodríguez 1991).

Also available online at

The Living Flame of Love: A & B versions, trans. Jane Ackerman, Mediaeval & Renaissance Texts& Studies, Binghamton, NY, 1995


Module Tutor: Miguel Norbert Ubarri TOC


The module is divided into 10 units, with a formative assessment and two questionnaires, spread over the period of the module, and a final examination at the end.


Once posted, each unit will be available until the end of the module. The dates on which each of the units, and the other material for this module is available in the calendar in the Student Section.








Formative Assessment



























Examination Questions

Please click HERE to access the STUDENT SECTION for module start and end dates

During the listed dates, you can click on the relevant unit to access it. Once you have successfully accessed and studied the material in each set of units, please click on the relevant Formative Assessment or Questionnaire to access it when it is launched. Read the questions and write your answers under each question. Then upload your answers to the Turnitin website.

One question must be chosen from the three final Examination Questions posted and your paper answering the question of your choice should be uploaded to the Turnitin website by the required date.



The author of the course holds the copyright to this material (text, graphic and other); distribution to family or friends, or publication (including on internet) of any part of the material is not permitted without the author’s explicit written permission.

© Miguel Norbert Ubarri TOC and Cibi