This course will examine the life, writings and context of the Spanish Carmelite foundress and mystic, St Teresa of Avila (1515 – 1582). Placing Teresa in her historical and cultural context, the course will consider texts from 16th century Spain and will provide students with the hermeneutical keys for unlocking them. It will evaluate the meaning of the term mysticism and assess the contribution of Teresa of Avila to the Western Mystical tradition. Students will be encouraged to examine the role that mysticism plays in the human psyche and to reflect upon the role of the surrounding cultures in the development of Christian mysticism.