Loyola University Chicago

College of Arts & Sciences

Spotlight On: Mark McIntosh

Mark McIntosh, Professor in the Department of Theology, published "The Divine Ideas Tradition in Christian Mystical Theology" with Oxford University Press.

Our faculty spotlight this week shines on Mark McIntosh, PhD, Professor in the Department of Theology in the College of Arts and Sciences, who has published The Divine Ideas Tradition in Christian Mystical Theology. The book was published by Oxford Scholarship Online in March 2021 and will appear in a print edition with Oxford University Press later this year.
The book focuses on the divine ideas tradition, the teaching that all beings have an eternal existence as aspects of God’s mind. The divine ideas teaching allows mystical theologians to conceive the hidden presence of God in all creatures, and the power of every creature’s truth in God to consummate the full dynamic of every creature’s calling. McIntosh has focused his research on the interrelationship of theology and Christian spirituality since his PhD dissertation in 1993 at the University of Chicago. He has always argued that Christian belief or theology becomes distorted or desiccated when it gets disconnected from spirituality.
Over the years, McIntosh realized that many of the greatest Christian thinkers who have held theology and spirituality together in their work have also made interesting use of the notion that God’s idea of Godself includes the creative ideas living at the heart of every existing being. He hoped that by drawing together this divine ideas tradition across a range of its most prominent exponents he might be able to suggest to readers something of the living integrity of theology and spirituality.
For McIntosh, the most important takeaway from his book relates to our current environmental crisis and to the correlated problem of the distortion and even denial of truth in our common life. A crucial underlying theme of McIntosh’s book is the divine goodness of truth itself and of its manifestation in nature and in our fellow beings–whose true identity and value should never be denied and distorted, for that truth is held unvanquishable in God’s own life.
“Mark McIntosh ranks among the world’s leading scholars on systematic theology and Christian mysticism, incorporating the work of great theologians and  adding to them with original thought,” says Peter J. Schraeder, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University Chicago.  “He has assembled a corpus of new interpretations and his own theological contributions, and he challenges students to examine the role of these concepts in their contemplation of personal meaning in their lives.”
McIntosh began teaching at Loyola in 1993. From 2009 to 2014 he served as the Van Mildert Professor of Divinity at Durham University in the United Kingdom. In 2014 he returned to Loyola as the inaugural holder of Loyola’s endowed chair of Christian spirituality. An ordained Episcopal priest, McIntosh is inspired by the care at Loyola for the principles of Ignatian pedagogy. He firmly believes that Loyola’s intention to elicit students’ own deep sense of what they most profoundly desire to learn is crucial to their growing self-awareness and maturation towards their best selves.

Learn more about Mark's work, research, and impact on his students here.