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Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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Comparative Mysticism: An Anthology of Original Sources

This collection of primary texts introduces readers to the mystical literature of the world’s great religious traditions. Beginning with an introduction by Steven T. Katz, a leading scholar of mysticism, the anthology comprises poetry, prayer, narrative, and other writings from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucianist, and Native American traditions.

This collection provides readers not only with the primary mystical texts from each religious tradition, but with an explanation of the context of the source and tradition. Comparative Mysticism shows how the great mystical traditions of the world are deeply rooted in the religious traditions from which they originated. The contextual methodological approach taken throughout the anthology also addresses the critical question of what these mystical traditions, at their highest level, have in common. Despite the prevailing view that mystical traditions throughout the world are essentially similar, the presentation of the sources in this volume suggests that, in fact, the various traditions have distinct teachings and different metaphysical goals.

The writings collected in Comparative Mysticism address the most fundamental and important methodological, epistemological, and hermeneutical questions regarding the study and interpretation of mysticism and mystical sources across cultures. This anthology will be an invaluable resource to students and scholars of mystic tradition for years to come.

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