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Meister Eckhart: Teacher and Preacher (Classics of Western Spirituality Series) [Paperback]

Bernard McGinn , etc.
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Meister Eckhart: Teacher and Preacher (Classics of Western Spirituality Series) + Meister Eckhart: The Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises and Defense (Classics of Western Spirituality) + Mystical Thought of Meister Eckhart (A Herder & Herder book)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 437 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Press International,U.S. (Dec 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809128276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809128273
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 676,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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It should be noted that only a few passages in Exodus are interpreted here, both because they are handled in the Glosses (and generally by the commentators), and also because the opportunity to discuss them is rather rare. Read the first page
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GREATEST OF CHRISTIAN MYSTICS 12 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Meister Eckhart was probably the greatest and most enigmatic of Western Christian Mystics (by Western I mean non-Eastern Orthodox) so it is wonderful that this and its companion piece THE ESSENTIAL ECKHART has been released by Paulist Press's magnificent Classics of Western Spirituality series. As a resource for otherwise hard to find works of Western spiritual writing, including Christian (heretical and otherwise), Muslim, Jewish, Native American and Celtic work it is unsurpassed.

Eckhart combined a visionary mind with a deeply ecumenical and humane approach to human existence. Deeply influenced by Augustine and Dionysius the Areopagite, he was also unafraid to cite inspiration from Pagan masters (Plato, Aristotle) as well as Jewish and Muslim giants such as Maimonides and Avicenna. Rather than concentrate on bleak subjects such as Sin, Guilt and self-Mortification, his emphasis is on the presence of God in everything, most particularly the human soul, which he sees as flowing out from the Godhead before ultimately returning - "Wherever God is, there also is the soul; and wherever the soul is, there is God." For Eckhardt, all humanity were 'heirs to the promise', capable of receiving 'by adoption' the nature that Christ had 'by birth'. His vision is one of liberation rather than repression, universal hope rather than fear and despair. Its no wonder that his immense popularity during his life as his preacher was matched only by the hostility he encountered by the more anti-humanist guardians of the Church.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great medieval mystic and philosopher 23 Feb 2007
By Greg - Published on Amazon.com
Meister Eckhart has become something of a spiritual celebrity these days; one often finds him discussed widely in many forums interested in spirituality, or discussed by members of Eastern religions who seem interested to draw parallells between Eckhart and Eastern philosophy, or in philosophers who find Eckhart's often bold, Zen-like pronouncements baffling and strange.

Eckhart was certainly one of the most interesting thinkers of the medieval period. Associated with the Rhineland mystical movement in Germany, Eckhart appears to describe in many of his sermons powerful mystical experiences of various kinds, and at times his language seems to indicate he and God are united in essence. For this Eckhart was formally condemned for the heresy of pantheism, the only theologian to have been condemned this way in the medieval period.

This volume of the Classics of Western Spirituality presents some of Eckhart's key sermons, some of his Biblical commentaries, and some of his written works aimed at fellow Dominicans or Christians in his pastoral care. It also includes essays on Eckhart's theology, philosophy and mysticism by Bernard McGinn, one of the world's leading scholars on Christian mysticism and on Eckhart's mysticism in particular.

Eckhart's themes are complex, but appear to revolve around a very personal and intimate experience of the Absolute. Eckhart strongly emphasized the apophatic approach to experiencing God, negating all predicates and names and concepts which might apply to God, leaving behind only a naked, formless 'One' above Being and above concepts, even above the 'Trinity' itself. From this silent, unmoving, and unchanging entity, which is in Eckhart's view, neither 'nothing' nor 'being' but 'a nothing' and 'a something', both the Holy Trinity and all reality emerge, 'overflowing' like water flooding from a bursting spring in the ground. The human mind meets this reality, in its innermost 'ground', a place where the human soul or mind meets God devoid of all concepts, images and forms, but in doing so encounters God's prescence in so powerful a manner the soul fuses into God by a remarkable divinisation which makes the soul so like God all distinction between the soul or the person and God seems to completely vanish. Indeed, in his bolder sermons, God will often equate the 'ground' to the Godhead itself. Eckhart also develops a rich set of metaphors revolving around God's nothingness or darkness, both in terms of his unknowability and incomprehensibility, and his infinity and transcendant being. No other Catholic Christian mystic so strongly developed this theme, except perhaps for St John of the Cross.

Eckhart also boldly describes the birth of the Christian believer into becoming God's son, when the ground becomes alive with its divinisation into God or the Absolute itself, to the point where God has as much joy over this 'birth' as he does in the Trinity itself. Eckhart also lies out a program where this mystical union may be achieved, which includes a profound 'detachment' from wanting, willing, desiring or loving anything in or of this world, until one's will is divinised into that of God himself and the world in all places and states becomes transfigured into God's holy prescence.

Eckhart's philosophy develops these themes somewhat more rigorously and logically along scholastic and Neo-Platonic lines. Indeed Eckhart often simply calls God 'The One', a strongly Neo-Platonic term, and also uses emanative metaphors to describe both the activity of the Trinity and the creation of the universe. He also draws strongly on the Neo-Platonism of Augustine and his notions of God's attributes or ideas such as wisdom, truth, goodness or beauty as being inherent realities reflected in created things, which participate in the ideas or attributes essentially. Yet he also draws strongly on the Aristotlian mindset of Aquinas, and views human life as an opportunity to become divinised into a divine life of peace, contentment and happiness.

Because Eckhart is such a creative thinker, it is hard to pin him down to any particular theological or philosophical school of thought. It is better to say he is a genius, both theological and philosophical, whose complex thought is articulated using the theological and philosophical jargon of his time in creative and innovative new ways.

In a time when many theologians and philosophers are grasping for new ideas, language and concepts to articulate our human experience of the Absolute or God, Eckhart offers an interesting, unique and fruitful approach to which we might re-commence the task of searching for the hidden God and in doing so, find the meaning of Being and existence.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll never be the same again! 30 April 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book supplements the first volume on Eckhart from the Classics of Western Spirituality series with great reading. The sermons alone are worth the expense as they are chalk full of Eckhartian charm and challenge. In this work, you'll find solid translations of important medieval literature.
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