German Dominican mystic
Eckhart von Hochheim O.P. (c. 1260 – c. 1327), commonly known as Meister Eckhart, was a German theologian, philosopher and mystic, born near Gotha, in the Landgraviate of Thuringia in the Holy Roman Empire. Meister is German for "Master", referring to the academic title Magister in theologia he obtained in Paris.
Meister Eckhart (in English, Master Eckhart; born Johannes Eckhart; also called Eckhart von Hocheim; also spelled Eckehart) was a theologian, a writer, and the greatest German mystic of the Middle Ages. His writings focused on the relationship of the individual soul to God.
Born in Hochheim, Eckhart joined the Dominicans at the age of 15 and continued his theological studies as a member of the order. He received a master's degree in theology from the University of Paris in 1302 and then served as prior at Erfurt and as Dominican vicar-general for Bohemia. He was a professor of theology in Paris in 1311, and between 1314 and 1322 he taught and preached in Strasbourg and was also a preacher in Cologne, where he was respected for both his administrative ability and his sermons.
Eckhart's theology followed that of another Dominican, St. Thomas Aquinas, but it also incorporated much Neoplatonic thought. His teachings on the union of the soul with God led to accusations of pantheism, a charge also made against the Rhineland mystics who followed him. In 1327 the Avignonese pope John XXII summoned Eckhart to defend himself against accusations of heresy. Eckhart recanted on some 26 articles (or propositions), but a papal bull issued in 1329 to condemn Eckhart's teaching named 28.
Modern scholars consider Eckhart's mysticism generally orthodox, although surviving sermons and tracts are usually thought to have been edited by Eckhart's friends and foes. Talks of Instruction (1300?), The Book of Divine Consolation (1308?), and a score of sermons are considered among the most authentic works.
Eckhart had a profound influence on the development of the German language, as he wrote in German as well as in Latin. The German idealists looked to Eckhart as a forerunner of their movement, and modern scholars have traced his influence in the development of Protestantism and existentialism.
Quotes by Johannes Eckhart
Works by Johannes Eckhart
This book has everything a reader needs to explore the world of German mysticism. William Inge begins with an introduction of histories, biographies, and summaries of the movement, and his scholarly articles will prove useful for the student of mysticism. Then he includes in the book many examples of the writings of the 14th century Dominicans, the Friends of God. These friends were an informal group of Catholics who strove to deepen both their communal relationships as well as their inner spirituality. Eckhardt, Tauler, and Suso were the major proponents of this theology, and each is represented in Inge's collection. This book is a unique and convenient volume that will assist readers interested in the fascinating movement of German mysticism.
Meister Eckhart was a fourteenth century Dominican monk. Considered a forerunner to the Reformation, he was an established theologian, and as a result had a profound impact upon medieval scholasticism mostly through his sermons. Meister Eckhart's Sermons contains some of his short sermons. The sermons themselves are in relatively plain English. In them, Eckhart flirts with some controversial topics. He describes the soul as "laying hold" of God in a mystical manner, so that there is "no distinction" between God and the soul. Indeed, some of his more radical teachings were eventually condemned by a papal council as heretical. But Eckhart does illustrate a way to synthesize one's religious belief with one's philosophy. Interesting and demanding, Meister Eckhart's Sermons will challenge a person's conception of God and religion.
Meister Eckhart was perhaps the greatest German mystic of the Middle Ages. His ideas served as forerunners to the Reformation. Unlike many of his peers, Eckhart stressed the importance of the individual’s connection to God, rather than just God’s connection to the church. Recently, his writings have once again come drawn attention. They have greatly influenced modern movements in theology and philosophy, such as postmodernism and existentialism. Eckhart wrote his original text in medieval German; the version provided here is in modern German.
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