University Of Oxford Department for Continuing Education Dayschool, 1st December 2007
In mysticism, as with no other subject, there is always the problem of completely missing the kernel of wisdom through the purely intellectual analysis of it. On the other hand, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of pseudo mysticism and the “love and hugs for all” mentality that imbibes modern self help books masquerading as philosophical works. The day school devoted to mystical Islam’s view of Jesus held at Rewley House, I am happy to say, achieved the perfect blend of academic research and heartfelt passion that such a subject demands. The lectures were given in a classroom rather than an auditorium, which allowed for heated discussions on various topics that arose from the texts analysed. It was a small group, of no more than 40 people, but this made both class-wide discussions and group discussions all the more enjoyable.
The spiritual nature of Jesus was at length expounded upon, and in the current world climate of mistrust and even hatred, it was refreshing to find a course that sought to bring together people of different faiths through this common figure. There is a saying within Sufism (mystical Islam) that asserts no knowledge is ever learnt through books, but rather transmitted from heart to heart. After attending this day school I can truly vouch for the validity of this statement.
I would definitely encourage everyone: layman, academic, or enthusiast to attend one of the Department's day schools on the wide variety of subjects they offer, from Literature and Music to Science and Philosophy. The speakers are always experts in their field. Indeed, in the majority of cases being widely published, and the presentation is of the best quality. You will pay as little as £39 for a full day of engaging talks and invigorating discussion albeit without lunch, an extra £2.20 for a gorgeous baguette, or if you wish to dine in both comfort and luxury at their on site restaurant a three course meal is served for only £9.25 more.