The Mystical Wisdom of a Closeted Life Between Polarities: A hermeneutical investigation of Henri Nouwen’s life and writing in view of his gay self.
This thesis undertakes the largely unexplored interpretive avenue of Henri J.M. Nouwen made possible by the posthumously revealed insight of his gay sexual orientation. Given the self- implicating nature of his literary genre, which is Christian Spirituality, this hermeneutical investigation of Nouwen’s life and writing, employing a specific analysis of his sexuality, aims at determining two things: first, to arrive at a rigorous understanding of Henri Nouwen in view of his gay self, redressing the mystery that has existed until now with regard to his sexuality; and second, interpreting the meaning and relevance of such an understanding for Christian leaders navigating the contemporary discussion of faith and sexuality. It ultimately confirms Nouwen’s intuition that it is necessary for Christian leaders to “think mystically” about sexuality, not only to preserve their pastoral function but also the very integrity of their Christian faith.
Faculteit der Filosofie, Theologie en Religiewetenschappen