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Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart

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Meister Eckhart

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  1. Meister Eckhart The Man From Whom God Hid Nothing (with apologies to Bernard McGinn)

  2. A Most Unusual Man • The lesemeister: A “reading” master was a scholar who had memorized an impressed number of quotations and arguments. • The lebemeister: A Master of Love (later liebe), a term applied to such noted spiritual directors as Eckhart, Tauler, and their successors.

  3. 1260-1329 Sent as a teenager to Paris to study. He received the degree of Master there which led to his title. Served many positions in the Dominican Order, including as a teacher at Paris. Life Course

  4. The Preacher • Eckhart, even while serving as a professor, fulfilled the Dominican commission by being a preacher. • Was one of only a handful of noted Dominicans to serve two terms as a Professor at Paris. Thomas Aquinas the other.

  5. A Side Light • Although Eckhart knew the Dominican Inquisitor, William of Paris, who condemned Marguerite Porete, he cited the Mirror of Simple Souls in his own work. • He seems to have known the beguines of Strassbourg and at Cologne. • He founded a number of women’s houses.

  6. September 26, 1326 at Cologne He appealed to the Pope. Dominicans were canonically independent of the local bishops. March 27, 1329 the papal degree was handed down by John XXII. Although tradition blamed the rival Franciscans, the evidence is that the charges were made by two members of his own Dominican order. Tried For Heresy

  7. The Papal Decree • Interestingly, given the vigor of his condemnation, the degree did not touch his person: • “the aforesaid Eckhart. . .professed the Catholic faith at the end of his life and revoked and deplored the twenty-six articles, which he admitted that he had preached. . .insofar as they could generate in the minds of the faithful a heretical opinion, or one erroneous and hostile to the faith.” (McGinn, p. 19)

  8. Eckhartian themes:The Ground or Grunt • One of the richest terms in Medieval German: • The bottom or lower side • The origin or cause • The abgrunt or abyssus • The essence or real being of something • Often tied to such metaphors as the spark, the castle, the nobleman, the highest point, the seed, etc.

  9. Indestinction • Together with such mystics as Mechthild of Madgeburg, Hadewijch, and Porete, Eckhart believed that a unio indistinctionis was the goal of religion. • A indistinctable union was one where the soul and the ground were so united that one could not point to what now separated them.

  10. Christological Model • Like Origen, Eckhart’s model for mystical life was the union of God and Humanity in Christ. • “So since God-Christ eternally dwells within the Father’s ground and I in Him, one ground and the same Christ, a substrata of my humanity. It is as much mine as His in the one substratum of Eternal Being, so that the double being of body and soul will be perfected in the one Christ—one God and one Son.

  11. The Dynamics of Being • For Eckhart, God flows out and then the flow returns. • Although it is a bad metaphor, God “catches the wave” of God’s Spirit. • “God’s going out is God’s going in.”

  12. Eckhartian themes:Eternal Birth • Eckhart frequently speaks of the Birth of the Word in the soul. • Like the female mystics that he knew, he developed his teaching in reference to the nativity stories.

  13. Two Favored Images • Darkness • the Abyss • The theology of negation. (via negativa).

  14. Spiritual Director • Eckhart was one of the most eager sought out spiritual directors of his time. The following slides, drawn from his sermons, express some of the Eckhartian wisdom that has been part of his popularity through the years.

  15. Quotes • "People should not worry as much about what they do but rather about what they are” • "It is a fair trade and an equal exchange: to the extent that you depart from things, thus far, no more and no less, God enters into you with all that is his, as far as you have stripped yourself of yourself in all things.”

  16. Quotes II • “Self-free is self-controlled, and self-controlled is self-possessed, and self-possession is God-possession and possession of everything that God ever made.” • “I give no thanks to God for loving me because he cannot help it, it is his nature to; what I do thank him for is that he cannot of his goodness leave off loving me.”

  17. Quotes III • “What could be sweeter than to have a friend with whom, as with yourself, you can discuss all that is in your heart?” • “All creatures are the utterance of God. If my mouth speaks and declares God, so too does the being of a stone.” • “When the soul is united with God, then it perfectly possesses in him all that is something. The soul forgets itself there, as it is in itself, and all things, knowing itself in God as divine, in so far as God is in it.”

  18. Quotes IV • “When we turn away from ourselves and from all created things, to that extent we are united and sanctified in the soul's spark, which is untouched by either space or time. This spark is opposed to all creatures and desires nothing but God.”

  19. Quotes V • “There were a certain man and wife; the woman by accident lost an eye, and was sorely troubled thereat. Her husband then said to her, "Wife, why are you troubled? "She answered, "It is not the loss of my eye that troubles me, but the thought that you may love me less on account of that loss." He said, "I love you all the same." Not long after he put one of his own eyes out, and came to his wife and said, "Wife, that you may believe I love you, I have made myself like you: I, too, now, have only one eye." So men could hardly believe that God loved them till God put one of His eyes out, that is took upon Himself human nature, and was made man.”

  20. Quotes VI • “Fire converts wood into its own likeness, and the stronger the wind blows, the greater grows the fire. Now by the fire understand love, and by the wind the Holy Spirit. The stronger the influence of the Holy Spirit, the brighter grows the fire of love; but not all at once, rather gradually as the soul grows. Light causes flowers and plants to grow and bear fruit; in animals it produces life, but in men blessedness.”

  21. Quotes VII • “God expects but one thing of you, and that is that you should come out of yourself in so far as you are a created being and let God be God in you.” • “All God wants of man is a peaceful heart.” • “God is at home, it's we who have gone out for a walk.” • “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.” • “Jesus might have said, "I became man for you. If you do not become God for me, you wrong me.”

  22. Quotes VIII • “To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God.” • “You may call God love, you may call God goodness. But the best name for God is compassion.” • “For however devoted you are to (God), you may be sure that he is immeasurably more devoted to you... .”