Meister Johannes Eckhart

Eckhart, Meister

Meister Eckhart (mīs´tər ĕk´härt) (Johannes Eckhardt), c.1260–c.1328, German mystical theologian, b. Hochheim, near Gotha. He studied and taught in the chief Dominican schools, notably at Paris, Strasbourg, and Cologne, and held a series of offices in his order. Eckhart communicated in various ways his burning sense of God's nearness to humanity. Exhorting the Dominicans, he wrote scholarly tracts, addressed the Book of Divine Comfort to the queen of Hungary, and preached everywhere to the humble and ignorant, urging them all to seek the divine spark. His evangelical activities among the undisciplined were deemed suspect, and his election (1309) to be provincial of the German province was not confirmed. Toward the end of his life he was wrongly accused of connection with the Beghards and charged with heresy. He was upheld by his order, but the charge was pressed. Eckhart appealed to Rome. He died between 1327, when his appeal was denied, and 1329, when John XXII issued a bull condemning 17 of Eckhart's propositions as heretical. His disciples tried vainly to have this decree set aside. From Eckhart's influence there sprang up a popular mystical movement in 14th-century Germany, which included among its leaders Tauler, Suso, and various Dominicans. These were all intellectual as well as practical preachers and did not show the tendency to separate holiness and learning that characterized the mystics of the popular school of Gerard Groote. Eckhart was perhaps the first writer of speculative prose in German, and from that time German, not Latin, was the language of popular tracts.

See R. B. Blakney, Meister Eckhart: A Modern Translation (1941); J. M. Clark and J. V. Skinner, ed., Meister Eckhart: Selected Treatises and Sermons (1958); studies by J. Ancelet-Hustache (tr. 1957) and J. M. Clark (1957).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Master Eckhart and the Rhineland Mystics
Jeanne Ancelet-Hustache; Hilda Graef.
Harper Torchbooks, 1957
Meister Eckhart, the Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises, and Defense
Edmund Colledge; Bernard McGinn; Meister Eckart.
Paulist Press, 1981
Mystics
William Harmless, S.J.
Oxford University Press, 2008
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Mystic as Mystagogue: Meister Eckhart"
Understanding Mysticism
Richard Woods.
Image Books, 1980
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 36 "Meister Eckhart and Karl Marx: The Mystic as Political Theologian"
Men Who Have Walked with God
Sheldon Cheney.
Alfred A. Knopf, 1945
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "The Medieval Flowering: Eckhart and the Friends of God"
Mysticism, Christian and Buddhist
D. T. Suzuki.
Routledge, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Meister Eckhart and Buddhism"
FREE! Studies in Mystical Religion
Rufus M. Jones.
MacMillan, 1909
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XII "Meister Eckhart"
The Transformation of Nature in Art
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy.
Dover, 1956
Librarian’s tip: Chap. II "Meister Eckhart's View of Art"
Christian Mystics: Their Lives and Legacies throughout the Ages
Ursula King.
Routledge, 2004
Librarian’s tip: "Meister Eckhart (1260-1327)" begins on p. 106
Christian Spirituality: High Middle Ages and Reformation
Jill Raitt; Bernard McGinn; John Meyendorff.
Crossroad Publishing, 1988
Librarian’s tip: "Meister Eckhart (ca. 1260-1328)" begins on p. 145
Fundamentals of Philosophy
John Shand.
Routledge, 2003
Librarian’s tip: "Meister Eckhart of Hochheim (1260-1327)" begins on p. 192
Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians
Patrick W. Carey; Joseph T. Lienhard.
Greenwood Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "Eckhart, Meister" begins on p. 171
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