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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Dr James Kelly

Kelly, James E. (2020). Political Mysticism: Augustine Baker, the Spiritual Formation of Missionaries and the Catholic Reformation in England. Journal of Ecclesiastical History

Author(s) from Durham


Augustine Baker, the seventeenth-century Benedictine monk, is primarily remembered as an advocate of mystical spiritual contemplation. This reputation was shaped by a contemporary supporter, whose synopsis of Baker’s works is the source most commonly consulted by historians. However, by reading Baker’s complete ‘Treatise of the English Mission’ and recontextualizing this manuscript, it is evident that he was addressing problems of his day. His Treatise is a polemical response to debates about the implementation of the Catholic Reformation in England, Baker advocating a vision of clerical formation and personal spiritual reformation for all those active in the English Catholic mission.