AND THE PRESENT SELECTIONS
This is scarcely the forum, given the nature of the volume, to try to do justice to the complex questions surrounding the authenticity of Eckhart's works; but it is important to give the reader some sense of the present state of the question, as well as the rationale behind the selections chosen for this book.
When interest in Meister Eckhart revived in the early nineteenth century under the influence of the Romantic movement, 1 it was to the available fragments of the vernacular works ascribed to the Meister that scholars turned their attention. The need for some form of collected edition of Eckhart's German works soon became obvious, and this need was met in 1857 by the edition of Franz Pfeiffer ( 1815-1868). Pfeiffer was a scholar of great energy, and Eckhart studies remain in his debt to this day. A kind of Schliemann of Eckhartiana, like his archeologist contemporary he was responsible for a multitude of discoveries, but worked quickly and uncritically by modern standards. Pfeiffer's edition contains no less than one hundred and eleven sermons and eighteen treatises, as well as a number of sayings and fragments—a number far in excess of those that most would claim as authentic today when there is greater recognition of the fact that Eckhart's fame led to many works being put under his name in later years.
The second major stage in the recovery of Eckhart's text was initiated by the Dominican scholar Heinrich Denifle ( 1844-1905), who first began to make the Meister's Latin works available to the public in 1886. 2 Unlike the vernacular works, today known in over two hundred manuscripts, the Latin writings are found in only a handful of witnesses (five major mss. are presently known), but Denifle argued convincingly that these Latin treatises which Eckhart carefully prepared for publication were essential to a full understanding of the