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'In agro dominico' - March 27, 1329
The papal bull condemning Meister Eckhart 

Articles 4-6 : Good and Evil


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Page 2

As is clear from these articles, Eckhart does not deny the distinction between goodness and sin. By moving his thinking away from what the person is or does, evil or good, he grasps the action in relation with God, that is, all good (remaining good) and all evil (remaining evil) in their spring which is God’s will, without which nothing would exist – good or evil. This way, what seemed to be a scandal, proves just a simple truth - 'a natural truth' as Eckhart said in his defence. But why is he so provocative? 

St. Basil the Great in his short ascetical rules writes: “it is often God’s will for people to die from hunger, illness, war or something similar, but this doesn’t mean that we should support such a will, because for these things God has also evil servants to use”.[1] 

Would the pope object to this statement of St. Basil’s? In any case, the fact is that Basil says exactly what Meister Eckhart says. He writes in the 4th century, when Eastern and Western Churches were united in the newly born Byzantium. A little later the western part would fall to the barbaric tribes and the church of Rome would start to be alienated from the churches in the East, developing its authoritarian and legalistic nature, stooping even to burning hundreds of thousands of people (until even the 17th c.!), making a trade of salvation, organising church armies even against Christians!, etc.  

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Cf. A discussion on the subject of 'God-praising evil' at Elpenor's Koinonia Forum

Jump to Articles 1-3 * Full text of the papal bull * Articles 7-9

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