Dr E.H. Hense (Elisabeth)

Associate professor - Textual, Historical and Systematic studies of Judaism and Christianity

Dr E.H. Hense (Elisabeth)
Visiting address

Erasmusplein 1

What is spirituality, and what is mysticism? How common are these phenomena? As a theologian, I search for the answers to these questions in various sources throughout the rich Christian tradition to shed light on the debate between the Theology of Spirituality and the modern sciences.

Theology of spirituality and mysticism
I investigate both older and newer forms of spirituality. Continuing the work of Titus Brandsma, I have translated texts by classic writers in the Carmelite tradition like St John of the Cross, and I have retrieved the writings of forgotten yet important Carmelite writers like Maria Petyt and Francis Amelry. The transmission of their spirituality has resulted in extraordinary contemporary music theatre productions. These productions, too, have become a subject of my research.
Throughout history, Christian spirituality has encountered many other spiritual traditions and this phenomenon is increasing in today’s globalised world. I have examined some of them and have reflected upon their meaning. The old question of discernment of the spirits has therefore become topical again to me. A key aspect of discernment is compassion, expressed through works of mercy in the Christian tradition. This track record of expertise has fed into my current research on societal renewal, which investigates how these works of mercy remain relevant in society and can resolve the so-called “wicked problems” that our society confronts today.

Potential graduate students interested in the following areas are invited to contact me via email:
- Topics and thinkers in Spirituality and Mysticism
- Carmelite Spirituality
- Studies on Titus Brandsma
- Flemish Spirituality
- Societal Engaged Spirituality
- Greening in Dutch parishes
- Spiritual Discernment




Ancillary activities

Elisabeth Hense researches food production and the role of nature in solidarity with vulnerable groups from a Christian spiritual perspective. She is also researching greening initiatives in Dutch parishes and monasteries. She is currently working on an English edition of Titus Brandsma’s works.