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The thought of Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1327), Dominican philosopher and spiritual master, is among the most daring and difficult in the history of Western mysticism. Thoroughly grounded in the Scholastic method of his day and steadfastly loyal to the Church, Eckhart's love of speculation, paradox, and the apophatic way, nevertheless, resulted in the controversial condemnat The thought of Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1327), Dominican philosopher and spiritual master, is among the most daring and difficult in the history of Western mysticism. Thoroughly grounded in the Scholastic method of his day and steadfastly loyal to the Church, Eckhart's love of speculation, paradox, and the apophatic way, nevertheless, resulted in the controversial condemnation of certain of his teachings by papal bull in 1329. His doctrines of detachment, the return of the soul to God, and the birth of the Son in the soul have continued to perplex his critics and nourish his disciples through the ages. This volume, based on the critical Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft edition of Eckhart's works, represents the first time that his technical Latin writings and more popular German sermons and treatises have appeared together in English.


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The thought of Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1327), Dominican philosopher and spiritual master, is among the most daring and difficult in the history of Western mysticism. Thoroughly grounded in the Scholastic method of his day and steadfastly loyal to the Church, Eckhart's love of speculation, paradox, and the apophatic way, nevertheless, resulted in the controversial condemnat The thought of Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1327), Dominican philosopher and spiritual master, is among the most daring and difficult in the history of Western mysticism. Thoroughly grounded in the Scholastic method of his day and steadfastly loyal to the Church, Eckhart's love of speculation, paradox, and the apophatic way, nevertheless, resulted in the controversial condemnation of certain of his teachings by papal bull in 1329. His doctrines of detachment, the return of the soul to God, and the birth of the Son in the soul have continued to perplex his critics and nourish his disciples through the ages. This volume, based on the critical Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft edition of Eckhart's works, represents the first time that his technical Latin writings and more popular German sermons and treatises have appeared together in English.

30 review for Meister Eckhart: The Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises and Defense (The Classics of Western Spirituality)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Guida Al·lès

    Què s´ha fet de la meva llibertat? Com puc tornar a mi mateix? On trobar una alegria que no acaba? Eckhart, mestre de místics, contemporani de Dante, Ramon Llull, Tomàs d'Aquino, Gertrudis la Gran i Matilde de Magdeburg, no escriu un tractat teòric sinó que comparteix l´experiència pròpia i la dels savis grecs, llatins i els filòsofs medievals. Un llibre per a iniciats en l´art de la contemplació. Un savi que va ser condemnat per heretge però que ha marcat i segueix marcant avui el nord de qui v Què s´ha fet de la meva llibertat? Com puc tornar a mi mateix? On trobar una alegria que no acaba? Eckhart, mestre de místics, contemporani de Dante, Ramon Llull, Tomàs d'Aquino, Gertrudis la Gran i Matilde de Magdeburg, no escriu un tractat teòric sinó que comparteix l´experiència pròpia i la dels savis grecs, llatins i els filòsofs medievals. Un llibre per a iniciats en l´art de la contemplació. Un savi que va ser condemnat per heretge però que ha marcat i segueix marcant avui el nord de qui vol anar més enllà del desig de poder, prestigi o doblers.

  2. 5 out of 5

    robin friedman

    Meister Eckhart In The Classics Of Western Spirituality Series -- 1 The Classics of Western Spirituality Series published by Paulist Press offers an outstanding way to get to know the breadth and depth of the spiritual, mystical tradition in Western thought. The works of the German philosopher-mystic Meister Eckhart (1260 -- 1327) are among the treasures of this tradition. In 1329, after Eckhart's death, some of his teachings were condemned by the Pope. Eckhart's works fell into eclipse until the Meister Eckhart In The Classics Of Western Spirituality Series -- 1 The Classics of Western Spirituality Series published by Paulist Press offers an outstanding way to get to know the breadth and depth of the spiritual, mystical tradition in Western thought. The works of the German philosopher-mystic Meister Eckhart (1260 -- 1327) are among the treasures of this tradition. In 1329, after Eckhart's death, some of his teachings were condemned by the Pope. Eckhart's works fell into eclipse until the rise of German idealism in the 19th Century. Today, his works offer inspiration and insight to people from many religious traditions and backgrounds, including Eckhart's own Catholicism. Published in 1981, "Meister Eckhart: The Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises, and Defense" is the first of two books in the Classics of Western Spirituality series on Eckhart. In addition to a selection of Eckhart's writings, the book includes lengthy introductions by both Edmund College, O.S.A. who translated the German works in this collection, and Bernard McGinn, the leading American scholar of Eckhart, who translated the Latin works. The introductions are scholarly and difficult but essential to readers with a serious interest in Eckhart. The book also includes extensive endnotes which help the reader understand Eckhart and the issues surrounding his writings. By any measure, Eckhart is a profound, difficult writer. He is best-known for his vernacular German sermons in which he brought his mystical philosophy to a broad range of people rather than only to scholars. The sermons are highly poetic with imaginative flights of language, hyperbole, and paradox. Part of the Eckhart's goal was to get people out of habitual, lazy thinking to try to seek spiritual understanding for themselves. Eckhart was highly educated in scholastic philosophy, taught on two occasions at the University in Paris, and earned the honorific academic title "Meister". He wrote lengthy, dry, and erudite Scriptural commentaries in Latin. These works lack the flair of the German writings but in their apparent dryness they teach a Neoplatonism that presents an alternative to the prevailing scholastic philosophy and complements the teachings Eckhart expressed in his German sermons. Eckhart also wrote a number of treatises in German. This book includes highly important writings of Eckhart from the Latin and the German. The editors are correct that a serious engagement with Eckhart requires some familiarity with the scholastic, intellectual writings and the more poetic, hyperbolic German texts. The book is organized around the documents relating to Eckhart's condemnation, including Eckhart's defense and the Papal bull. These selections help frame Eckhart's writings and show the reader the heart of the controversy surrounding Eckhart in his own times and today. The teachings that the Church found objectionable at the time are found in both the Latin and German works included in this volume. This book will show even the casual reader how deeply emeshed Eckhart was in the Church and its teachings. The book also shows, in my view, how Eckhart went beyond these these teachings. It wasn't a matter of Eckhart denying anything the Church taught, in my opinion: instead Eckhart put these teachings in a philosophical-mystical perspective that could be read to include Christian teachings and dogma but which also went beyond them to encompass other approaches to the spiritual life. Eckhart is a difficult, important thinker in part because of the way his teaching straddles the line between orthodoxy in a particular tradition and a broad approach to spirituality. Perhaps the most accessible way to approach this volume is to begin with the German treatises. The "Counsels of Discernment" is an early work in which Eckhart speaks in a personal voice over meals to his brothers in the Dominican order. These small lectures do not have the full range of Eckhart's teachings but they show deep insight into the spiritual life and are relatively easy to read. The treatise "On Detachment" is highly important and also more straightforward than the sermons. The reader should look at the Latin texts, including the commentaries on John and Genesis for their form and approach and not worry about the difficulty in following the details. The selection of nine German sermons included in the volume get to the heart of Eckhart for most modern readers and will offer a great deal that will be both inspiring and provocative. In 1987,Classics of Western Spirituality published a second volume of Eckhart edited by McGinn and Frank Tobin. This volume includes additional selections from both the Latin and German works for readers wanting more of Eckhart. The literature on Eckhart, both popular and scholarly, is large and written from widely varying perspectives. There are easier, popularly-oriented introductions, but it is better, if possible, to grapple with Eckhart's writings themselves under the guidance of a scholar such as McGinn. Many studies of Eckhart are insightful and helpful but nothing replaces a study of Eckhart's own words. Readers wanting a good overview of Eckhart and his times may want to consider Joel Harrington's recent book, "Dangerous Mystic: Meister Eckhart's Path to the God Within." Robin Friedman

  3. 4 out of 5

    Monika Barger

    A really good collection and introduction to this theologian. His teachings are incredibly challenging yet somehow very simple, as well as respectful to the ordinary person. I was continually having to stop and exclaim at the power of a sentence that forced me to think and ponder at an angle I never had before. (I was also often squinting at things that just seemed bizarre. No mistaking, Eckhart is someone easily described as "out there", for both good and ill. :P) In addition to general weirdne A really good collection and introduction to this theologian. His teachings are incredibly challenging yet somehow very simple, as well as respectful to the ordinary person. I was continually having to stop and exclaim at the power of a sentence that forced me to think and ponder at an angle I never had before. (I was also often squinting at things that just seemed bizarre. No mistaking, Eckhart is someone easily described as "out there", for both good and ill. :P) In addition to general weirdness here and there, his theology is definitely still weakened with some patriarchy, as well as the downsides of Medieval Great-Chain-of-Being theology and the worship of hierarchy therein. Yet there is nothing quite like his insights and what he was doing at the time. I came away with a new awareness of how limited my human mind is, and how I will never conceptualize the Divine. Yet I felt the nearer to it/him/her/them, for all that, perhaps because of it. Somehow the not-knowing-much-at-all primes the human spirit to commune with what it cannot consciously know, yet comes from. I get the feeling this repeated insight is one reason Eckhard was accused of heresy, as well as for expressing it in a way very close to that of some Eastern religions. As the forward points out, his work was very similar to that of some Zen and Buddhist teachers in its search for openness and spiritual nakedness/nothingness. It can be disconcerting to feel something seemingly alien in your religion - and if his peers had known at the time of these other religions, they would have been even more dismayed, no doubt. I think it's reassuring and encouraging, to feel something similar beckoning us along, no matter what tradition we use to traverse our existence.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ojo Oim

    I'm in the process of wading or nibbling through this book. I haven't seen the other translations, but in this one, the language flows and the notes are simple but good, referencing Boethius and Pseudo-Dionysius and other "ancient authorities" which Meister Eckhart mentions. Having grown up Christian but with a strong attraction to philosophies of the eastern peoples, I find in these teachings an appealing wisdom. It feels clear and reliable. He was in the church but his message is universal, dea I'm in the process of wading or nibbling through this book. I haven't seen the other translations, but in this one, the language flows and the notes are simple but good, referencing Boethius and Pseudo-Dionysius and other "ancient authorities" which Meister Eckhart mentions. Having grown up Christian but with a strong attraction to philosophies of the eastern peoples, I find in these teachings an appealing wisdom. It feels clear and reliable. He was in the church but his message is universal, dealing with Being. As far as I can see, his teaching isn't so much based on salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus, but about knowing God, Truth, Being. It's devotional, idealistic, philosophical, insightful. And I get the impression that Meister Eckhart knew that of which he spoke. How else would someone have the courage to talk like this?

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Greer

    Exegesis: How to find meaning in obscure or factual statements; digging deeper for the meaning. Sermon 2: While Jesus and his group were making their way to the village, a woman named Martha opened her home to them. It's important that in order to be open to Jesus, one must be free of all debilitating images. This is the biblical meaning of 'virgin.' A virgin is one who is pure in the sense that he or she is not bound down by carnal images. The mind is corrupted by such images and that's why the Exegesis: How to find meaning in obscure or factual statements; digging deeper for the meaning. Sermon 2: While Jesus and his group were making their way to the village, a woman named Martha opened her home to them. It's important that in order to be open to Jesus, one must be free of all debilitating images. This is the biblical meaning of 'virgin.' A virgin is one who is pure in the sense that he or she is not bound down by carnal images. The mind is corrupted by such images and that's why the entertainment industry thrives on corruption. We hope to recall the innocence we enjoyed before exposure to anything in this world-"unimpeded by any images as I was when I was not." (page 177) It is also important to note that this Martha is also "wife." This means she is one who can bear "fruit." And it is so. Giving gifts is a fine display of generosity, but even better is to show fruitfulness when having received a gift. So it is that when given something, one should not allow it to wither but it should bear more abundance. The Father offers gifts, and in a virgin soul there is a potential to return, but in a "wifely" soul, there is even more reward. United with Jesus the wife shines and glows in a oneness with the Father in the pure brightness of the Father's loving heart. God's glory is only revealed to the poor of spirit. Amen

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Johannes Eckhart was a giant intellect of the late Middle Ages. Like many great souls who dare to question God and the generally accepted orthodoxy surrounding all things spiritual - he was punished. He was a Dominican Friar who was tried for heresy by the local inquisition (Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition!!! Sorry Monty Python Slip there) led by the Franciscan order. The book is a wonderful multi-layered work of deep significance that can stimulate the mind and spirit. It is a touchstone Johannes Eckhart was a giant intellect of the late Middle Ages. Like many great souls who dare to question God and the generally accepted orthodoxy surrounding all things spiritual - he was punished. He was a Dominican Friar who was tried for heresy by the local inquisition (Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition!!! Sorry Monty Python Slip there) led by the Franciscan order. The book is a wonderful multi-layered work of deep significance that can stimulate the mind and spirit. It is a touchstone for many philosophers and spiritual seekers and you will often hear it mentioned.

  7. 4 out of 5

    IAO131

    Meister Eckhart is one of the clearest thinkers of the Christian mystics, and makes many points that are directly paralleled in Thelemic mysticism. I found this collection a bit less stimulating than Penguin Books' 'Selected Writings: Meister Eckhart', but reading a different translator is always interesting. Recommended for anyone interested in Christian mysticism or mysticism in general. Meister Eckhart is one of the clearest thinkers of the Christian mystics, and makes many points that are directly paralleled in Thelemic mysticism. I found this collection a bit less stimulating than Penguin Books' 'Selected Writings: Meister Eckhart', but reading a different translator is always interesting. Recommended for anyone interested in Christian mysticism or mysticism in general.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Steve Gambino

    It's a collection so parts of it are excellent, parts of it so-so. It depends want you're looking for. I'm reading it mostly for research and so for that reason it is a very good source as it has first sources along with criticism. It's a collection so parts of it are excellent, parts of it so-so. It depends want you're looking for. I'm reading it mostly for research and so for that reason it is a very good source as it has first sources along with criticism.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sister Pam

    This is my second read through the book and have a much greater appreciation for the Dominican German Mystic. His defense is brilliant and a must read for those who misunderstand his mystical revelations of God and man's relationship with Him. This is my second read through the book and have a much greater appreciation for the Dominican German Mystic. His defense is brilliant and a must read for those who misunderstand his mystical revelations of God and man's relationship with Him.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scot

    Older translations. The translations by M-C Walshe and by Colledge and McGinn (and Tobin and Borgstadt) are much better.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lefruitbat

    this man was radical for his time. amazingly bold

  12. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Rather more tedious than I'd expected. I think I just don't much care for mysticism; St John of the Cross affected me pretty much the same way. Rather more tedious than I'd expected. I think I just don't much care for mysticism; St John of the Cross affected me pretty much the same way.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Professor Amy Hollywood taught this book in her course entitled Mysticism and Christianity.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    Half a page was enough.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Angela Joyce

    The Meister is every bit as cryptic, compelling, and controversial as I'd been warned. I do see certain parallels with what I know about Buddhism, or at least the Western variety of it. How strange. The Meister is every bit as cryptic, compelling, and controversial as I'd been warned. I do see certain parallels with what I know about Buddhism, or at least the Western variety of it. How strange.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    I refer back to this book often it's filled with little gems. I refer back to this book often it's filled with little gems.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Travis

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mark Ferrara

  19. 4 out of 5

    Branan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rotting

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marilynn Hughes

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Bogart

  23. 4 out of 5

    Heather Havey

  24. 5 out of 5

    Judy Koplan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Justin

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eric Calaforra

  27. 4 out of 5

    Liviu

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gnome Books

  29. 4 out of 5

    Staci Lee

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vance

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