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Meister Eckhart

Source: W. R. Inge, Light, life and love - Selections from the German Mystics of the Middle Ages, 1904










Time and Creation in Gregory of Nyssa and Meister Eckhart
Time and Creation
In Gregory of Nyssa and
Meister Eckhart

Page 26


[i]In his Introduction to the "Imitation of Christ," in this series.

[ii]e.g. she distinguishes, as Eckhart does, between God and the Godhead.

[iii]The "three propositions" of Amalric are--1. "Deus est omnia." 2. Every Christian, as a con­dition of salvation, must believe that he is a member of Christ. 3. To those who are in charity no sin is imputed.

[iv]Preger is probably wrong in identifying him with a "brother Eckhart," Prior of Frankfort, who about 1320 was delated to the head of the Order as suspectus de malis familiaritatibus, words which can only mean "keeping bad company" in a moral sense, not "con­sorting with heretics," as Preger suggests. Eckhart's character, so far as we know, was never assailed, even by his enemies, and it is therefore probable that "brother Eckhart" was a different person.

[v]I have abridged the bull considerably, but have included all the main accusations.

[vi]See pages 13, 16.

[vii]See pages 14, 15.

[viii]See page 1.

[ix]This is an obscure point in Eckhart's philosophy, too technical to be discussed here; but Eckhart's doctrine of God is certainly more orthodox and less pantheistic than those of 'Dionysius' and Scotus Erigena.

[x]Cf. St Augustine, In Joann. Ev. Tract. xxxix. 10: praeteritum et futurum invenio in omni motu rerum: in veritate quae manet praeteritum et futurum non invenio, sed solum praesens."

[xi]This doctrine is fully explained by St. Augustine, Epist. 237, who follows Plotinus, Enn. vi. 4-6.

[xii]This queer word occurs for the first time, I think, in Jerome's notes to the first chapter of Ezekiel. He writes the word in Greek, and explains it as that part of the soul which always opposes vices. The word is common in Bonaventura and other scholastic mystics, and is often misspelt synderesis.

[xiii]It must, however, be said that Preger is too ready to assume that the logical development of Eckhart's system away from Thomist scholasticism can be traced as a gradual process in his writings, the order of which is very uncertain. We are not justified in saying in a positive manner that Eckhart's philosophy passed through three phases, in the first of which the primacy is held by the will, in the second by the created reason, and in the third by the uncreated reason.

[xiv]See pages 14, 15.

[xv]C.B. Upton: "Hibbert Lectures," p. 17.

[xvi]A.E. Taylor: "The Problem of Conduct," PP. 464-5.

[xvii]See pages 71-2.

[xviii]See pages 12-13.

[xix]See, for example, Prof. W. James' "Varieties of Religions Experience," P. 400.

[xx]Jacob Boehme's experience is typical: "Suddenly did my spirit break through into the innermost birth or geniture of the Deity, and there was I embraced with love, as a bridegroom embraces his dearly beloved bride. But the greatness of the triumphing that was in the spirit I cannot express in speech or writing; nor can it be compared to anything but the resurrection of the dead to life. In this light my spirit suddenly saw through all; even in herbs and grass it knew God, who and what He is," etc. Dr Johnson was, no doubt, right in thinking that "Jacob" would have been wiser, and "more like St Paul," if he had not attempted to utter the unutterable things which he saw.

[xxi]The extracts from the "Theologia Germanica" will show that this treatise represents a later and less paradoxical form of mystical thought than Eckhart's.

[xxii]The maxim, however, is much older than Suso.

[xxiii]Royce: "The World and the Individual" vol. i. p. 193.

[xxiv]So in the "Lignum Vitae" of Laurentius Justinianus we read: "Let self-will cease, and there will be no more hell."

[xxv]"The Inner Way," being thirty-six sermons by John Tauler. Translated by A.W. Hutton, M.A.

[xxvi]On the psychology of ecstatic mysticism see Leuba, in the Revue Philosophique, July and November 1902.

[xxvii]"Varieties of Religious Experience," p. 13.

[xxviii]Maudsley: "Natural Causes and Supernatural Seemings," p. 256.

[xxix]See Leuba: "Tendances religieuses chez les mystiques chrŽtiens" in Revue Philosophique, Nov. 1902.

[xxx]"Theologia Germanica," translated by Susanna Winkworth. Macmillan & Co., 1893.

[xxxi]"Varieties of Religious Experience," 1902.

[xxxii]"Personal Idealism," 1902.

[xxxiii]"Varieties of Religious Experience," p. 103.

[xxxiv]"In Tune with the Infinite," by R.W. Trine (Bell & Sons, 1902). Fifty-ninth thousand. The extract appears to be a quotation from another writer, but no reference is given.

[xxxv]Compare Eckhart's saying that the eye with which I see God is the same as the eye with which He sees me.

[xxxvi]"In Tune with the Infinite," pp. 58, 119.

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