“Conversations with Meister Eckhart” offers excerpts of Eckhart’s sermons, organised as a supposed dialogue between the great Theologian of the Catholic Church and the author of the book. Parke wants to present main aspects of Eckhart’s thinking, using the form of the dialogue not to ‘question’ the Meister, but only as a theatrical means to stimulate the interest of new-comers.
Anyone already familiar with Eckhart will recognize in the quotes gathered for this book a selection of real value. Detachment, Spiritual Life, Soul, God, and Suffering, the subjects of this ‘conversation’ and chapters of the book, make use of most, if not ‘all’, the interesting and challenging views of Eckhart as expressed in his sermons.
Parke’s decision to make the ‘conversation’ at times ‘light’ does not give always satisfactory results, but it usually is successful and measured at any rate. Perhaps the opening pages suffer most from this, and the book afterwards finds a rhythm and manner that lets a reader focus on Eckhart’s thinking.
The source of the translations is not revealed – is the author translating from the original, is he using some other translator’s work, nothing is said on that, except that “the only alteration to Eckhart’s original words has been the occasional addition of a link word to help the flow; or once or twice, the removal of a sub-clause in a sentence, to aid clarity.” Since I know Eckhart from the original, I can testify that, whatever the source, the translations can be trusted.