Master Eckhart was pantheistic

Dominicans and Franciscans

One can rightly claim that the great majority of the German people came into living contact with their religion for the first time through these Dominican and Franciscan monks. As much as we admire the scholastics' erudition and logical acumen, it is easy to see that the questions they discussed were not questions which could ever influence religious thought or the way of life of the masses. For a long time it had been felt that one needed something different and something more, and that something different and that something more seemed best in what was called mystical Christianity and what Dionysius called the Stulta Sapientia excedens laudantes, (1) called "simple wisdom above all praise".
This simple religion was believed to arise from the love which God himself poured into the human soul, while the human soul, in loving God, merely reciprocates the love of God. This religion does not require great learning, it is intended for the poor and the pure in spirit. It should lead man out of the stormy seas of his desires and passions into the safe haven of the Eternal, so that he may remain anchored there in the love of God, while it is admitted that the scholastic or, as they were called, literary religion afford no rest, but could only generate an eternally unsatisfied desire for truth and for victory.
But there was no need to separate erudition from mystical religion, as we can see in St. Augustine, Bonaventure, St. Bernard and once again in Meister Eckhart and many of the German mystics. These men had two faces, one for the doctors of theology, their learned rivals, and the other for the men, women, and children who came to hear Meister Eckhart's sermons - be it in Latin or in the vernacular of the people - could preach. At first these popular preachers were not learned theologians, but simply eloquent preachers who went from village to village and tried to influence the conscience of the peasants, men and women, in their mother tongue. But they paved the way for the German mystics of the next generation; and these were no longer mere good-natured mendicants, but learned men, doctors of theology, and some of them even high dignitaries of the Church. The most famous names among these are Meister Eckhart, Tauler, Suso, Ruysbrook, Gerson and Cardinal Cusanus.
Each of these men deserves a degree for himself. The best known and most attractive is without a doubt Tauler. His sermons have been published many times; they were translated into Latin, into New High German, and some of them also into English. They are still read in Germany for instruction and edification, and they have escaped the suspicion of heresy that has so often been voiced against Meister Eckhart, and perhaps not without reason. Nevertheless, Meister Eckhart is a much more powerful and original thinker, and what is found in Tauler of real philosophy seems to have been borrowed from him. In the German writings of Eckhart, published for the first time by Pfeiffer (1857), mystical Christianity or, as one could call it more correctly, Christianity according to John's view, finds its highest expression. It's hard to tell whether he's more of a scholastic philosopher or a mystical theologian. The godless divide between religion and philosophy did not exist for him. A hundred years later, a writer as holy and orthodox as Gerson had to warn the clergy that if they separated religion from philosophy, they would destroy both. (2) Although Meister Eckhart continually refers to and relies on the Bible, he never simply invokes its authority to establish the truth of his teaching. His teaching agrees with the teaching of John and Paul, but it should be convincing by itself. He believed he could show that Christianity, if only properly understood, could satisfy all the needs of both the human heart and human reason. Every doctrine of the New Testament is accepted by him, but it is thought through by himself, and only after it has passed through the fire of his own spirit is it preached by him as eternal truth. He quotes both the pagan teachers and the Church Fathers, and he sometimes invokes the former, assuming that they have a better understanding of certain mysteries than even the Christian teachers.
He is always extremely emphatic in asserting the truth. "I speak to you," he says, "in the name of eternal truth." "As God lives." "Bi gots, bi gote," "by God, by God," is so often that one is almost inclined could be to take the derivation of "bigoted," according to which it originally referred to a man who appeals to God at every opportunity, then a hypocrite, and finally a fanatic. Eckhart's attitude, however, is not that of many less sincere Christian philosophers who seek forcibly to bring their philosophy into harmony with the Bible; but rather that of an independent thinker who rejoices every time he finds the results of his own speculations anticipated and, as it were, hidden in the Bible. Also, as far as I can remember, he never invokes miracles to prove the truth of Christianity or the true divinity of Christ. When he comes to talk about miracles, he usually sees an allegory in them, and he does not treat it much differently than the Stoics treated Homer or when Philo treated the Old Testament. Otherwise miracles were of no interest to him. In a world in which, as he firmly believed, no sparrow fell on the earth without the father (Matth. X, 29) - where was there room for a miracle? His interpretation of the Bible was no doubt - and he often says it himself - not always in accordance with that of the great doctors of the Church. Some of his speculations are so bold that one cannot be surprised that he should be suspected of heresy. Even in our more enlightened times, some of his theories about deity would no doubt sound very startling. He sometimes seems to be aiming to baffle his congregation, such as when he says, "He who claims that God is good offends him as much as when he says that white is black." Yet he always remained a faithful and obedient Son of the Church, only in his own way. Like other independent thinkers of the time, he always declared himself ready to immediately repudiate anything and everything heretical in his writings, only he urged his opponents to first prove that it was heretical. The result was that although he was accused of heresy by the Archbishop of Cologne in 1326, nothing serious could be done to him during his lifetime. But after his death of twenty-eight of his assertions which had been selected as heretical for papal condemnation, the first fifteen and the last two were actually condemned, while the remaining eleven were declared suspicious. It was then too late for Meister Eckhart to prove that they were not heretical.
Eckhart was evidently a learned theologian and his detractors feared him. He knew his Plato and his Aristotle. How much he admired Plato is best shown by the fact that he made him the great priest (The great priest, p. 261, line 21 [Q 28, DW 2, p. 67,1]). For him, Aristotle is simply the master. He had studied Proclus, or Proculus as he calls it, and he often refers to Cicero, Seneca, and even the Arab philosopher Avicenna. He frequently refers to St. Chrysostom, Dionysius, St. Augustine and other church fathers and apparently studied Thomas Aquinas, who can almost be described as his contemporary. Indeed he had had a thorough scholastic education, (3) and rivaled the best of the defenders of the Church. Eckhart had studied and subsequently taught at the University of Paris, and had received his doctorate in theology from Pope Bonifacius VIII. In 1304 he became the Provincial of the Order of Dominicans in Saxony, although his residence remained in Cologne. He was also appointed Grand Vicar of Bohemia and traveled extensively in Germany, visiting the monasteries of his order and seeking to reform them. But he kept returning to the Rhine and probably died in Cologne in 1327.
Eckhart was judged very differently by different people. He was called a dreamer and almost a madman by those who could not understand him; Others who were spiritually equal to him called him the wisest doctor, the friend of God, the best interpreter of the thoughts of Christ, John and Paul, the forerunner of the Reformation. He was a vir sanctus even according to the testimony of his bitterest enemies. Many people think they have done away with him when they call him a mystic. He was a mystic in the sense in which John was, not to mention a greater name. Luther, the German reformer, was not a man of reverie and sentimentality. Nobody would call him a mystic in the common sense of the word. But he was a great admirer of Eckhart, if we were in fact Eckhart for the author of the Theologia Germanica are allowed to hold. I must confess I doubt he is the author, but in any case the book is imbued with his spirit, especially as regards the working life of the true Christian. (4) Luther wrote the following about this book: "From no book, with the exception of the Bible and the works of St. Augustine, have I learned more about God, what Christ, what man and what other things are than from this book" (Luther's Works, 1883, Vol. I, p. 37S). A thinker of a completely different kind, but neither a dreamer nor a sentimentalist, Schopenhauer, says von Eckhart that his teaching relates to the New Testament as the essence of wine is to wine.
Henry More, the Cambridge platonist, another avid admirer of the Theologia Germanica, speaks of it as "the golden booklet".
It is a great mistake to believe that Meister Eckhart's so-called mysticism was a matter of vague feeling. On the contrary, it was built on the firm foundation of scholastic philosophy and, in turn, withstood the attacks of the most skilled scholastic adversaries. How thoroughly his mind was soaked in scholastic philosophy has recently been shown by Denifle in several learned essays. I admit his writings are not always easy. Above all, they are written in Middle High German, in a language that is only separated from the German of the Nibelungenlied by about a hundred years. And his language is so completely peculiar to him that it is sometimes very difficult to grasp the exact meaning of his words, and even more difficult to reproduce them in English. It is the same as with the Upanishads . The words themselves are easy enough, but it is often very difficult to follow the general train of thought.
It seems to me that the study of the Upanishads is often the very best preparation for a proper understanding of the treatises and sermons of Master Eckhart. The spiritual atmosphere is exactly the same, and those who have learned to breathe in one will soon feel at home in the other.
Unfortunately it would be quite impossible to give you even the briefest outline of the whole psychological and metaphysical system of Meister Eckhart. It deserves to be studied for its own sake, just as much as the metaphysical systems of Aristotle or Descartes, and it would be suitable for any future Gifford -Lektor certainly reward the effort to put together all the wealth of ideas that are scattered everywhere in Eckhart's writings. I can only touch a few points here which relate to our special subject, the nature of God and the human soul, and the relationship between the two.
Eckhart's definition of deity

Eckhart defines the deity as a mere thing eat, as actus purus. This is purely scholastic, and even Thomas Aquinas himself would probably contradict Eckhart's repeated assertion 'Eat est Deus'have not objected. According to him there is nothing higher and there can be nothing higher than being. (5) He naturally relies on the Old Testament to show that 'I am'is the only possible name of the deity. In this he is not very different from Thomas Aquinas and other scholastic philosophers. St. Thomas says: Ipsum esse est perfectissimum omnium, comparatur enim ad omnia ut actus ... unde ipsum esse est actualitas omnium rerum et etiam ipsarum formarum. (6) Since God is without qualities, he is ignorant and incomprehensible to us, hidden and dark, until the deity is enlightened by its own light, namely the light of self-knowledge, through which it is subjective and objective, thinker and thought or - as the Christian mystics put it - becomes father and son. The bond between the two is the Holy Spirit. Thus the deity, the divine being or Ousia, becomes God in three persons. In thinking of himself, the father thinks everything that is in him, i. H. the ideas, the logoi of the unseen world. Here Meister Eckhart stands entirely on the old standpoint of Platonic and Stoic philosophy. He is convinced that thought and reason rule the world, and consequently he concludes that the world of thought, the χόσος νοητός only the thought of God can be. Admittedly, everything else follows by itself. "The eternal thought or word of the Father is the only begotten Son, and" he adds, "our Lord Jesus Christ." (7)
We see here how Eckhart uses the old Alexandrian language and understands the eternal ideas not only as many, but also as one, as the logos, in which all things as they were thought out by the Father are one before they are in the phenomenal world became too many. Master Eckhart alone makes it very important to show that although all things are in power in God, but that God is not actually in all things. Like the Vedantist, he speaks of God as the universal cause, but asserts an extra-worldly existence of him. "God," he writes, "is outside of all nature, he is not himself nature, he is above it." (8)
And yet Meister Eckhart is called a pantheist by men who hardly seem to know the meaning of pantheism or Christianity. And if he dares to continue to say that the worlds, both ideal and phenomenal, were thought and created by God for the sake of his divine love, and therefore out of necessity and from all eternity, this too becomes heresy again branded as if there were some contradiction in divine counsel, as if there might be some difference with God between what we call necessity and what we call freedom. (9) If human language can even reach these dizzying heights of speculation, nothing seems to be in better harmony with Christian teaching than when one says with Eckhart: “God is always creating, and his work consists in his owning Son produces. "
Creation is emanation

What is usually referred to as creation is understood by Eckhart as emanation. On this point he agrees with Thomas Aquinas and many of the most orthodox theologians. I do not want to cite Dionysius or Scotus Erigena, as their orthodoxy has often been questioned. But Thomas Aquinas explains in his Summa, p. 2, qu. 19, a. 4 without any hesitation the creation as emanatio totius entia ab uno, 'an emanation of all being from one'. Yes, he goes on and asserts that God is possibly, in his true essence, and in reality present in all things: per potentiam, essentiam et praesentiam; per essentiam, nam omne ens est participatio divini esse; per potentiam, in quantum omnia in virtute ejus agunt; per praesentiam, in quantum ipse omnia immediate ordinat et disponit. (10) Such ideas would be branded pantheistic by many living theologians, and consequently many passages even from the New Testament where God is presented as all in all. But Eckhart argued quite logically that there could be no return of the soul to God if one does not want to admit that the soul of man is an outflow from God, and according to Eckhart, this is the core of true Christianity. A clock cannot return to the clockmaker, but a raindrop can return to the ocean from which it was raised, and a ray of light is always light.
"All creatures," he writes, "are in God as uncreated, but not in and for themselves." This seems to mean that the ideas of all things were in God before the things themselves were created or made manifest. "All creatures," he continues, "are more noble in God than in and for themselves." That is why God is by no means confused with the world, as Amalrich and all pantheists did. The world is not God and God is not the world. The being of the world is from God, but it is different from the being of God. «Eckhart actually assumes two processes, on the one hand the eternal creation in God and on the other hand the creation in time and space. This latter creation, he says, differs from the former as a work of art differs from the idea of ​​the same in the artist's mind.
Eckhart regards the human soul as everything else as thoughts expressed by God through creation. But even if the soul and all the forces of the soul, such as perception, memory, understanding and will, are created, then, he believes, something in the soul is uncreated, something divine, yes the work of God itself. This was again one of them Theses which were declared heretical after his death. (11)
In the same way as the deity or the divine ground is without all knowable properties and cannot be known except as being, so the divine element in the soul is also without properties and cannot be known except as being. This divine spark, although it was caused by ignorance, passion or for a time Sin can be covered and hidden, is immortal. He gives us being, unity, personality and subjectivity, and since he, like God, is subjective and therefore can only be a knower, he can never be objectively known in the same way as everything else is objectively known.
It is this divine element in the human soul through which we are one with God and become one. Man cannot objectively recognize God, but he can feel his unity with the divine in what Eckhart calls mystical self-contemplation. Eckhart wrote: “What one sees with the eye, with which I see God, is the same eye with which God sees me. My eye and God's eye are one eye and one face, one knowing and one loving. It is the same thing to know God and to be known by God, to see God and to be seen by God. And just as the enlightened air is nothing but that it enlightens, for it enlightens because it is enlightened, in the same way we know because we are known and because it makes us know it. "(12) This knowing and being known is what Eckhart calls the birth of the son in the soul. “If its knowing is mine, and if its substance, its very nature, and its true essence are knowing, then it follows that its essence, substance, and nature are mine. And if his nature, essence, and substance are mine, then I am the Son of God. "" See, "he exclaims," ​​what love the Father has given us, that we may be called the sons of God "- and the sons of God are.
This second birth and this being born as the Son of God is, for Eckhart, identical with the being born of the Son of God in the soul. He recognizes no difference between man when he is born again and the Son of God, at least no greater difference than between God the Father and God the Son. Man becomes by grace what Christ is by nature, and only when man is born again as Son of God can he receive the Holy Spirit.
What Eckhart calls the divine ground in the soul and in the deity can, I believe, be suitably compared with the neuter Brahman of the Upanishads, as discovered in the world and in the soul. And just as in the Upanishads the male Brahman is not separated from the neuter Brahman, but is distinguished, so according to Eckhart the three persons can be distinguished from the divine ground, if not separated.
This all sounds very bold, but when we translate it into ordinary language it does not seem to mean anything more than that the three divine Persons have this underlying deity in common as their essence, or ousia, that they do in fact homoousioi are what the orthodox doctrine is for which Eckhart, like St. Clemens, seeks to provide an honest philosophical explanation.
If we want to understand Eckhart, we must never forget that he, like Dionysius, is completely under the spell of the Neoplatonic, in one sense even of the Platonic philosophy. If we say that God created the world, Eckhart would say that the father spoke the word, the logos, or that he created the son. Both expressions mean exactly the same thing to him.
All of these things are really echoes of ancient thought. We must not forget that the Ideas made up, according to Plato, the eternal or unchangeable world, of which the phenomenal world is but a shadow. With Plato you can only use the ideas or the έίδη alone say that they are real, and they alone can constitute the object of true knowledge. As much as the Stoics protested against the independent existence of these ideas, the Neoplatonists took them up again, and some of the Church Fathers presented them as the pure forms or the perfect types according to which the world and everything that is in it, was created. Here the ancient philosophers discovered what we call the 'origin of species'. We saw all of this ideal creation, or rather revelation as well as that Logos or signifies the revealed Word of God by which he created the world, and this Logos in turn, as we have seen, was represented long before the emergence of Christianity as the offspring or the only begotten Son of God. Eckhart, like many of the first church fathers, started from the concept of the Logos or the Word as the Son of God, the second God (δεντερος ϑεός), and he made this Logos the predicate of Christ, who for him was the human realization of the ideal Son of God, of divine reason and divine love.
The Messiah and the Logos

What the Jews did with the name Messiah, the Greeks had to do with the name Logos. The idea of ​​the Messiah had been around for ages, and although it must have taken a tremendous conquest, the Jews who converted to Christianity took it upon themselves to say that this ideal Messiah, this Son of David, this King of Glory, Jesus was crucified. In the same way, with the same overcoming and, I believe, with the same honesty, the Greek philosophers who embraced Christianity had to bring themselves to say that this Logos, this thought of God, this Son of God, this Monogenês or natives, as both Plato and Philo knew him, appeared in Jesus of Nazareth, and that in him alone the divine idea of ​​humanity was ever fully realized. This is why Christ was often referred to as the first man, and not Adam. The Greek converts, who became the real conquerors of the Greek world, elevated their logos to a much higher meaning than what it was with the Stoics, just as the Jewish converts gave the name Messiah a much more lofty meaning than he did with the scribes and Pharisees. But the best of the Greek converts, by joining the Christian Church, never renounced their philosophical convictions, and much less did they admit to the legendary traditions that have been around the cradle of the son of Joseph and Joseph since the earliest times Maria had accumulated. To one who truly believed in Christ as the Word and Son of God, these traditions hardly seemed to exist; they were neither denied nor asserted. In the same spirit, Meister Eckhart grasps the true meaning of the Son of God as the Word, and of God the Father as the speaker and thinker and maker of the word, simply using these Galilean legends as allegories, but never referring to them to prove the truth of Christ's teaching. Eckhart - for his ipsissima verba to quote - lets the Father speak his word into the soul, and when the Son is born, every soul becomes Mary. He expresses the same thought by saying that the divine ground, i.e. H. the deity admit no distinction or no predicate. This divine ground is unity and darkness, but the light of the Father penetrates into this darkness, and the Father, knowing his own being, creates the Son in the knowledge of himself. And in the love which the Father has for the Son, the Father breathes the Spirit with the Son. Through this process the eternal dark ground is illuminated, the deity becomes God, namely God in three persons. When the Father, knowing himself in this way, speaks the Eternal Word or, which is the same thing, creates his Son, he speaks all things in that Word. His divine Word is the One Idea of ​​all things (i.e. the Logos), and this eternal Word of the Father is His only Son and the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom He spoke all creatures without beginning and without end. And this speaking doesn't just happen once. According to Eckhart, “God creates continually, (13) in a now, in an eternity, and his work consists in producing his son. In this birth all things flowed out, and God has such joy in this birth that he consumes all his strength in it. God is created entirely in his Son, he speaks all things in him. 'Although this language may sound strange to us, and although it has been condemned as fantastic, if not heretical, by those who did not know its true meaning so we should remember that St. Augustine also uses the exact same language. "The speaking of God," he says, "is his creation, and his creation is his speaking" (Pfeiffer aa 0. p. 100, line 27 [Pr. 26]), and Eckhart adds to the words of St. Augustine added (ibid. p. 100, line 29): "and if God were to stop speaking the word for even a moment, heaven and earth would have to pass away."
Has with us word so completely lost its full meaning, according to which it is the union of thoughts and sounds, which are inseparable from one another, means that we cannot be reminded too often that in all these philosophical speculations logos or word are not the word as mere sound or that Word as we find it in the dictionary, rather the word as the living embodiment, as the actual incarnation of the thought.
What seemed so strange to some modern philosophers, namely this inseparability of thoughts and words, or, as I sometimes put it, the identity of reason and language, was quite familiar to these ancient thinkers and theologians, and I am pleased to see that my critics have finally stopped my book 'Thinking in the light of language'as a linguistic paradox, and that they are beginning to see that what I stood for in that book was long known and that no one has ever doubted it. The LogosThe word as the thought of God, as the whole sum of divine or eternal ideas, the logos, which Plato preached, which Aristotle criticized in vain, and which the Neoplatonists re-established in his right, is a truth which forms the basis of all philosophy or should form. And if we have not fully grasped this truth, as it was grasped by some of the greatest Church Fathers, we will never be able to understand the fourth gospel, we will never be able to call ourselves true Christians. For it is only because it is built on the Logos that Christianity asserts its very own position among all the religions of the world. Of course a religion is not a philosophy. It has a different purpose and needs to speak a different language. Nothing is more difficult than expressing the results of your deepest thinking in a language that is meant to be understandable to all and yet not misleading. If a religion cannot do this, it is not a religion; in any case, she cannot live; for every new generation that comes into the world needs a popular, childlike translation of the most sublime truths discovered and accumulated by the wise men and prophets of ancient times. If no child could grow up a Christian without understanding the true meaning of the Logos, as this term was worked out by Platonic, Stoic, and Neoplatonic philosophers and then adopted by the Church Fathers and adapted for their purposes, how many Christians would we have? In using the expressions 'father' and 'son', the Fathers of the Church were aware that they were using imprints which contain nothing that is not true and which permit a satisfactory explanation when one is necessary. And the most satisfactory explanation, the best solution to all our religious difficulties, seems to me to be offered here, as elsewhere, by the historical school. Let us just try once to discover how words and thoughts came about, how thoughts in the course of time became what they are, and we will generally find that some reason, human or divine, is in them.
I confess I know of no greater joy than to discover how our thoughts and words drive us back through an unbroken chain from century to century, how the roots that nourish our minds penetrate one layer at a time, and still do so draw their life and nourishment from the deepest soil, from the hearts of the oldest thinkers of mankind. This is what gives us confidence in ourselves and often helps us to instill new life in what threatens to become hard and petrified, mythological and meaningless in our spiritual and especially in our religious life. I am convinced that for many people the opening words of the Gospel of John "In the beginning was the word" and again "The word became flesh" can only be a legend, a mere tradition. But as soon as we have the word that was with God in the beginning, and through whichδί αντον) all things are made on the Monogenês as postulated by Plato, worked out by the Stoics and handed down from the Neoplatonists, whether they were Gentiles, Jews or Christians, to the first church fathers, a connection seems to have been established, and an electric current seems to be in an uninterrupted line from Plato to John, and from John to ourselves, and to give light and life to some of the most difficult and obscure sayings of the New Testament. With all the reverence for what is called childlike faith, let us never forget that too Think To worship God means.
Let us now return to Meister Eckhart and remember that according to him the soul is built up on the same divine foundation as God, that it actually has a part in the same nature, that without it it would be nothing. Yet it is separate from God in its created form. She feels this separation or her own incompleteness, and in feeling it she becomes religious. How can this longing for perfection be satisfied, how can this divine homesickness be healed? Most mystical philosophers would say, by drawing the soul in love to God, or by approaching God, just as we saw in the Upanishads, that the soul joins the throne of Brahman , as a male deity, approached.
Approaching God

Eckhart, however, like the more advanced Vedantists, denies that there could be such an approach, or at least he regards it as just a lower form of religion. He says (Pfeiffer op. Cit. P. 80 [Q 71]): "While we draw near to God, we never come to him" - almost literally like the Vedânta .
Eckhart recognizes this longing for God or this love for God as a preparatory step, but he regards the true relationship between the soul and God from a much higher point of view. This ray of deity which he called the spirit of the soul and by many other names like Sparkle, root, source, also σιντήρησις, indeed referred to as the real self of man, is the common ground of God and the soul. Here God and the soul are always possibly one, and they actually become one when the Son is born in the soul of man; H. when the soul has discovered its eternal union with God. So that God can enter the soul, everything else must first be thrown out of it, everything sinful, but also every kind of affection for the things of this world. Ultimately, we must give up our own selves completely.In order to live in God, man must die to himself until his will is completely absorbed in the will of God. There must be perfect silence in the soul before God breathes his word into it, before the light of God can shine into the soul and transform it into God.
When man has thus become the Son of God, it is said that the Son of God is born in him and that his soul has found rest. In all of this you will have noticed the basic idea of ​​the Vedânta that by eliminating ignorance the individual soul regains its true nature as identical with the divine soul. On the other hand, it will not have escaped you how many expressions are used by Eckhart that are quite familiar to us from the Neoplatonists and from the Gospel of John. Expressions that can only have their true meaning for those who know their origin and history.
Passages from the fourth gospel

The passages on which Eckhart relies, and to which he often refers, are the following: "He who sees me sees the father" (XIV, 9); "Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?" (XIV, 10); "No one comes to the Father except through me" (XIV, 6); "But that is eternal life, so that they know you, that you are the only true God, and whom you have sent, Jesus Christ" (XVII, 3). And further: “And now you glorify me, father, with you self, with the clarity that I had with you before the world was ... So that they may all be one, like you, Father, in me, and I in you, that they too be one in us «(XVII, 5; 21).
These are the lowest notes that sound through Eckhart's whole Christianity, and although their true meaning long before Eckhart's time from the great scholastic thinkers, such as Thomas von Aquino himself, the two St. Victors [Hugo and Richard], Bonaventure and has been explained to others, its deepest meaning has seldom been brought to light so vigorously as by Meister Eckhart in his doctrine of true spiritualistic Christianity. Denifle is undoubtedly right in showing how much of this spiritualistic Christianity can be found in the writings of those who are rather contemptuously called mere scholastics. But he hardly does justice to Eckhart's personality. Not every scholastic was one vir sanctus, not every Dominican preacher was so free of worldly sentiments, so filled with love and compassion for his fellow men, as Eckhart. And even if his Latin terminology can be described as more precise and stronger than his German utterances, there is still an intimacy and simplicity of tone in his German sermons which, at least in my opinion, destroys the colder Latin. Denifle is quite right when he portrays Eckhart as a scholastic and a Catholic, but he should at least admit that his heresies belonged to the German mystics, not the Orthodox Catholics.

1 Stöckl, History of Middle Ages Philosophy, Vol. 1, p. 1030.
2 Dum a religione secernere putant philosophiam, utrumque perdunt. Gerson, Serm. I. [Jean Gerson ]
3 How much Eckhart owed to his scholastic education, H. Denifle has in his learned essay, Meister Eckhart's Latin writings and the basic conception of his teaching, in the Archive for Literature and Church History, Vol. II, Issue 3, 4, very well done.
4 The book was translated into English by Miss Winkworth and was highly regarded by my late friends, Frederick Maurice, Charles Kingsley, and Baron Bunsen.
5 See Denifle, Meister Eckhart's Latin writings, p. 436.
6 See Denifle a. a. 0.
7 This should be understood as “. The eternal word is the word of the father and is sîn einborn sun, our lord Jêsus Kristus. Eckhart, ed. Pfeiffer, p. 76, line 25 [Pr. 17].
8 That something is got, that of nôt about being sìn muoz, What has been, zît or stat, ze gota doesn’t hear that, it is about it; because it is in all crêatûren, because it is above it; what dâ in vil things is, daz muoz from nôt to diu dinc sîn. Pfeiffer, a. a. O., p. 268, line 10 [Q 9]. See also Eckhart's Latin version: Deus sic totus est in quolibet, quod totus est extra quodlibet, et propter hoc ea quae sunt cujuslibet, ipsi non conveniunt, puta variari, senescere aut corrumpi ... Hinc est quod anima non variatur nec senescit nec desinit extracto oculo aut pede, quia ipsa se tota est extra oculum et pedem, in manu tota et in qualibet parte alia tota. Denifle, a. a. O., p. 430. Pfeiffer, op. a. O., p. 612, line 28 [Proverbs No. 44].
9 The condemned sentence read: Quam cito Deus fuit, tam cito mundum creavit. Concedi ergo potest quud mundas from aeterno fuerit [cf. Bull, sentences one and two].
10 Stöckl, History of Middle Ages Philosophy, Vol. II, p. 519
11 Aliquid est in anima quod est increatum et increabile; si tota anima esset talis, esset increata et increabilis, et hoc est intellectus [cf. Bull, the first of the two amendments].
12 Pfeiffer, loc. a. 0., p. 38, line 10 [Q 76, DW 3, p. 310 ff.].
13 Pfeiffer a. a. 0. p. 254 [Q 43].

1 This page corresponds to the publication in: Friedrich Max Müller , Theosophy or psychological religion. Gifford Lectures given at the University of Glasgow in 1892. Translated from English by Moriz Winternitz. Authorized edition reviewed by the author, Leipzig, Engelmann, 1895, pp. 498-518; Excerpt from the 15th lecture entitled "Christian Theosophy" (pp. 492-537). The whole work at .
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