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Meister Eckhart: The Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises and Defense (Classics of Western Spirituality) Paperback – 1 Jan 1981

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First Sentence
In the year of our Lord 1326, the 26th of September, on the day set for the response to the articles taken from the books, remarks and sermons ascribed to Meister Eckart that seem to some erroneous, or what is worse, to smack of heresy, as they say. Read the first page
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73 of 73 people found the following review helpful
A great introduction to Eckhart 23 April 2000
By Campbell - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent translation of some of Meister Eckhart's finest works and is highly recommended as is McGinn's in this series. Eckhart is one of the greatest apothatic Christian mystics and both Eckhart titles in 'Classics of Western Spirituality Series' are a great place to start to read His works. If you want all of His sermons then buy O'C Walshe's 'Sermons and treaties'. For a study of Eckhart's mysticism buy 'Mystical Thought' by Bernard McGinn.
53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
The Accused Heretic Was Innocent 22 Oct. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I came to read Meister Eckhart because he influenced Nicholas de Cusa and Jacob Boehme, two great mystics that I've read indepthly. I knew Eckhart was accused of being an heretic, yet I came into his thought with an open mind. I have since become a disciple, and I'll explain why. The main text of the book begins with "Documents Relating to Eckhart's Condemnation." In it are "A. Selections from Eckhart's Defense" and "B. The Bull 'In agro dominico'" (March 27, 1329), which is the Catholic Church's condemnation document that was finished two years after Eckhart's death. In "In agro dominico" the church basically twisted inside out many of the conclusions of the propositions that Eckhart syllogized, misrepresenting the perspective of them. Eckhart was writing from the perspective of God, not his own perspective. His inquisitors were basically ignoramuses whose prejudices were dogmatically driven. I believe you will, like I did, find him totally innocent of the heresies he was accused of. You may find, however, some of his thoughts boardering on heresy, but he never really crossed the line. For instance, he believed that we must "give birth to Christ" in our souls. It has a ring of Boehme's mysticism or vice versus. Boehme believed the way to Christ is through the core of the soul, so the similarities are obvious. "Selections from the Commentaries on Genesis" is a very revealing glimpse into the allegorical meanings of parables in the Book of Genesis. If you want to truly understand what "In [the] beginning God created the heavens and the earth" means, there may not be a better explanation ever written than you'll find here. His elucidation is superlative. "Selections on the Commentary of John," "Selected Sermons," "Treatises: A. The Book of 'Benedictus': The Book of Divine Consolation. B. The Book of 'Benedictus': Of the Nobleman. C. Counsels on Discernment. D. On Detachment" are also included. Eckhart's theory of detachment is taken directly from the parables in the Bible, such as "the poor in spirit are blessed" (Mt. 5:13). We must abandon all images in the soul, to become totally free of self-will as well as God's will, and truly become poor in spirit. Only then is true poverty of the soul realized. That is the Eckhartian path to personal salvation. It is very deep and meaningful. That is what transformed me into a disciple. In the front of the book there's a Preface, Foreward, Introduction with Key to Abbreviations, Historical Data, Theological Summary, A note on Eckhart's Works and the Present Selections. In the back Notes, Bibliography, and Indexes. I highly recommend this superb volume as well as the others in the series.
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
A key mystic of Christianity 12 Jun. 2006
By Greg - Published on
Format: Paperback
Meister Eckhart comes to us with an somewhat shadowy legacy. He was charged with heresy, and while this was not unique (many Christian mystics were accused of heretical thought at some point and some even burned, like Margarite Porete), what is surprising was that Eckhart was what would now be a Professor of Theology.

Eckhart was in some ways like a religious Galileo. His mystical ideas are very often shocking, from his notion of the birth of Jesus in the soul to the Godhead beyond the Trinity itself. His ideas were in many ways (with their paralells to Sufi Islam and Buddhism) very far ahead of their time and like other great Christian speculative mystics such as Origen or Evagrius Ponticus, the charge of heresy is never too far away in the shadows. It is then not surprising the ecclesiastic authorities charged this man with erring from established truth.

However Eckhart saw himself as an genuine mystic afire with the love of God and sharing in the deepest possible relationship with him. Eckhart certainly was a mystical genius, and one of the most brilliant and profound spiritual teachers Christianity has ever seen. He certainly belongs in the same rank as Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, John of Cross and Denys the Aeropagite.

Eckhart's approach to God uses both the way of denial and the way of affirmation. God is both an incomprehensible darkness, a beingless One above all distinctions, an ineffable reality, and at the same time the highest good, light and reality. God is to be reached mainly through the innermost ground of the soul which Eckhart calls the 'ground', and sometimes as a little 'castle.' In an obscure way by encountering the divine there by shunning all thoughts, concepts and images we don't so much encounter 'God' (the being with attributes as we see in the Bible), rather the Godhead, or the Absolute as it truely is, as a One above all distinctions, divisions, concepts, and being. When we meet the Absolute here God is no longer the Trinitarian God of Catholic Christianity but the simple, silent Godhead, ineffable and quiet in itself, yet also the highest reality there is, and the source of all else, even 'God' himself. In this sense Eckhart seems to share a great deal in common with Plotinus or Buddhism and 'shunyata', the mysterious emptiness which is the changeless source of being. Indeed he sometimes says God is 'nothing', and at other times creatures are nothing, pure emptiness (when compared to the super-essential richness of God in terms of his giving being). While having much in common with previous Christian mystics, these ideas sat rather ill with the Church authorities who seemed to think he was denying some key Christian dogmas as well as affirming heretical ideas, such as Pantheism or reincarnation. Indeed, the same charges often occur today.

Eckhart was not helped by his students, who often took his mysticism to very unhealthy extremes. Suso and Tauler were his best 'disciples', but overall the irrationalism and antinominalism of German mysticism which followed Eckhart tended to show the decadence even the best mysticism can fall into, if not checked with reason and common sense.

Nevertheless Eckhart speaks immediately and profoundly to the soul, and whether you are Christian or not, he is certainly a great Christian mystic who deserves in my view better recognition for his insights and achievements than he has.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
The Mystical Eckhart 22 Oct. 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is what is included in this volume: Introduction: Historical Data, Theological Summary, A Note on Eckhart's Works and the Present Selections. Part One: Latin Works: 1. Documents Related to Eckhart's Condemnation. A. Selections from Eckhart's Defense. B. The Bull "In agro dominico" (March 27, 1329). 2. Selections from the Commentaries on Genesis. 3. Selections from the Commentary on John. Part Two: German Works: 1. Selected Sermons. 2. Treatises: A. The Book of "Benedictus": The Book of Divine Consolation. B. The Book of "Benedictus": Of the Nobleman. C. Counsels on Disernment. D. On Detachment. NOTES, BIBLIOGRAPHY, INDEXES.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Good for scholars, but its too heavy to be an introduction 1 Nov. 2012
By William J. Staub - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because it had five stars, hoping that it would
introduce me to Meister Eckhart's spirituality. However, the book
is long and is very difficult to penetrate. This volume may be of
interest to scholars on Eckhart's life and teachings, but persons who
are looking for an introduction to Meister Eckhart may wish to choose
another book.

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