Although he elaborated on this theme, he rarely departed from it. In one sermon, Eckhart gives the following summary of his message:[ citation needed ] When I preach, I usually speak of detachment and say that a man should be empty of self and all things; and secondly, that he should be reconstructed in the simple good that God is; and thirdly, that he should consider the great aristocracy which God has set up in the soul, such that by means of it man may wonderfully attain to God; and fourthly, of the purity of the divine nature. Out of overabundance of love the fertile God gives birth to the Son , the Word in all of us. Clearly, [e] this is rooted in the Neoplatonic notion of "ebullience; boiling over" of the One that cannot hold back its abundance of Being. Eckhart had imagined the creation not as a "compulsory" overflowing a metaphor based on a common hydrodynamic picture , but as the free act of will of the triune nature of Deity refer Trinitarianism. It is also clear that Nicholas of Cusa , Archbishop of Cologne in the s and s, engaged in extensive study of Eckhart.
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He entered the Dominican Order quite early, and received most of his education in the Studium Generale in Cologne that Albert the Great had founded in In Eckhart went to Paris to study. From until , he was Prior of the Convent of Erfurt, at the same time carrying out the office of Vicar of Thuringia.
He was elected Provincial of the newly founded Province of Saxony in , and held this office until When the Provincial Chapter of the Province of Teutonia elected him Provincial in , the election was not accepted by the General Chapter in Naples Instead, Eckhart was sent once more to Paris. After teaching there for a second period, Eckhart went to Strasbourg in , where from to he was increasingly active as a preacher caring for Dominican convents there. From on, Eckhart resided in Cologne, most likely at the Studium Generale, and probably as Lecturer.
During this time, the campaigns against him began that led, in , to the opening of an inquisitional proceeding. In its course Eckhart submitted a reply to the syllabus of errors attributed to him, protesting as well against the proceeding itself, which was then continued at the Papal Court in Avignon.
It resulted in the papal bull In agro dominico from Pope John XXII, issued on March 27, , condemning 17 articles from this syllabus as heretical and 11 more as suspect of heresy.
Eckhart, however, did not live to see his condemnation; he died sometime before April 30, —probably on January 28, , possibly in Avignon. An academic sermon, the Sermo Paschalis a. Between and Eckhart composed his Instructional Talks Die rede der underscheidunge , table-talks for his confratres in the Erfurt monastery. Between and , during a General Chapter, Eckhart held the Sermones on Ecclesiastics 23—27a and 27b— In he began composing the Opus tripartitum, his major work, comprising three parts: the Opus propositionum Work of Theses , with over 1, theses in 14 treatises, the Opus quaestionum Work of Problems and the Opus expositionum Work of Interpretations.
Much of the Opus tripartitum remained incomplete. What we have are the Prologus generalis in opus tripartitum, the Prologus in opus propositionum, the Prologus in opus expositionum I and II, and various commentaries above all the Expositio sancti evangelii secundum Iohannem. Also preserved is an Opus sermonum containing drafts of Latin sermons.
The authenticity of the treatise Von abegescheidenheit has been disputed in the past, but it has been recently accepted once more as a work of Eckhart. The most important German sermons also go back to this last period. Among these is Predigt 52, which due to its extremely innovative content was later translated from Middle High German into Latin.
Dietrich of Freiberg and Meister Eckhart Of all those following in the tradition of Albert the Great who developed theories of the intellect in the 13th and 14th centuries, Dietrich of Freiberg went the furthest. In treating of the active intellect intellectus agens , Dietrich identified a three-fold object, which, however, the intellect knows in a single intuition uno intuitu : its principle deus , its essence essentia and the totality of beings universitas entium.
Dietrich of Freiberg, De intellectu et intelligibili II 37—40, ed. Mojsisch, , pp. This mode of knowing is the highest that we can identify. Before Dietrich, no one had formulated this mode of knowing in such a progressive manner by making such a radical claim. Meister Eckhart begins where Dietrich of Freiberg leaves off. Nowhere in his writings does Eckhart mention Dietrich by name, although they were personally acquainted, and although Dietrich used his influence to see that Eckhart received significant posts within the Dominican Order.
Once back in Paris, however, Eckhart inaugurated his teaching with a bombshell. With a new thesis directed against Thomas Aquinas, as well as against his own Thomistic thinking prior to , Eckhart contends that the absolute principle or the absolute cause: God is pure intellect and not being.
According to this view, being esse is always caused and thus presupposes intellect, itself without being, as the cause of being. In line with Neoplatonic modes of thinking cf. Liber de causis, cap. Echardus de Hochheim, Utrum in deo sit idem esse et intelligere n.
Mojsisch, , , — As the absolute cause, intellect is thought of as absolutely unlimited only if it is thought of as wholly without being. As such, intellect becomes the principle for absolute as well as contingent being. Later, Nicholas of Cusa maintains accordingly that the maximum is without being, yet can be contracted to being; cf. Nicholas of Cusa, De docta ignorantia I, 6, ed. Univocal Causality Between the uncreated and the created the predominant relationship is one of analogy, a relationship involving as well the disjunction of the two terms.
Insofar as Eckhart in again takes up the theme of absolute being in its identity with God esse est deus , he likewise gives expression to relationships of analogical causality, teaching that being as such, or absolute being esse absolute , is what becomes restricted to determinate being esse hoc et hoc , while determinate being is what brings it about that a this or a that hoc et hoc actually exists.
Eckhart says ever again that the created is of itself pure nothing, indeed, even nothingness or nullity nihileitas, nulleitas. The created is only because absolute being communicates itself to it—through determinate being—whereby determinate being, of course, is not in any position to communicate being as such, but only determinacy.
That all of this is so, of course, is something that can be easily stated. Indeed, the metaphysics of being has always thrived on describing such structures, whether this being be absolute or determinate in nature. Eckhart, however, breaks through that metaphysics of being with its analogical base by thinking through the relation of causality informing absolute being.
We can assume at least hypothetically that a cause causes not only something dependent on it, but also something equal to it, namely that the cause causes in such a manner that it causes itself. But if it causes itself, it causes something which is itself also cause and at the same time cause of its cause.
Our hypothesis of what could be thought in these terms turns into a certainty when we explore the structures of intellectual causality, for example, the relation between the act of thinking and what is thought, or between an ethical principle and an ethical principiate. Their relation is precisely what Eckhart takes advantage of in developing his theory of univocal causality. In these cases, it holds that the principle causes its principiate, and the principiate causes its principle. Even more: The principiate is in its principle nothing other than its principle.
This means that the active principle is at the same time active and passive, being affected in the course of its activity as principle. The breakthrough that Eckhart attains through his theory of univocal causality is exemplified by the relation between thinking and thought.
For Eckhart, thinking presupposes no origin because a presupposed origin could only be thought by thinking and hence would be a thought of thinking, that is, itself thinking. Thinking is, then, for itself a presuppositionless origin, that is, it is its own principle: principium Echardus, In Ioh. Any thinking without act, however, is no thinking at all. Consequently, its own originative activity accrues to thinking, that is, insofar as it is a principle, the dynamics of its principiating: principiare.
In this activity, however, thinking directs itself towards a thought that it has originated, that is, towards the product that is its principiate: principiatum. But since this thought is a thought of thinking, it is itself nothing other than thinking.
The act of this thinking that has been thought is, then, retrograde. This thought, as thinking, is in turn principle, principiating and principiate, whereby this last is the original thinking. In this way, thinking thinks itself as thought and is therewith active thinking, while thought, insofar as it thinks its thinking, is itself thinking, and its thinking now thought.
Consequently, both thinking and thought are at the same time active and passive. Another example of univocal causality as conceived by Eckhart is found in the relation between justice and the just man. In the same vein as that sketched out with regard to the dynamics of thinking, justice is in the just man, and the just man is in justice. The just man is his just action, and this just action is likewise justice. Between the just man and justice, there is difference on account of the opposition between them, but because of their relationality they reciprocally include each other.
Just as thought is the thought of thinking and therewith itself thinking, so, too, is what is just for Eckhart what is just of justice and therewith justice itself. From this we can draw, following Eckhart, a number of important conclusions. For the just man, there is no why to his just action, no purpose or goal of this action.
For the action of the just man has justice as its goal, and this goal is identical with the just man. Therefore, the just man has no goal external to himself. Instead, as justice, he is his own goal.
With the just man and with justice, there is no multiplicity. Justice is one, and the just man is one; thus, justice and the just man are one. Even if there are many just men: As just men, the many just men are one Echardus, In Sap.
Justice, which is the just man, knows neither where nor when, that is, it knows neither space nor time, neither size nor quality, neither inside nor outside, neither over nor under, neither this side nor that side, neither above nor below, neither the activity of effecting nor the passivity of being effected. Hence, justice is indeterminate and does not accrue to anything else as an accident. Justice is something whose purpose lies in itself. Consequently, the just man is in justice, which means: The just man is justice.
This implies a reversal of the usual way of looking at things. Normally, a quality qualitas is what is found in an underlying subject subiectum. With the spiritual perfections perfectiones spirituales , however, the situation is different: The subjects are in the perfections, the just man is in justice. But in the realm of the spirit, being-in is nothing other than being-one.
Hence, the just man, who is in justice, is justice itself. The just man does not possess justice, but rather is justice. If he who is free merely possessed freedom, then this freedom would be something external to him, and he would never be freedom itself. What is key is that by freedom Eckhart understands nothing other than self-consciousness or the I.
It is never the case that the I wants something other, rather it wants only itself; the I never knows something other, rather it knows only itself; the I is never open for anything other, rather it is open for itself alone.
Thus, the I is both cause of itself and conceives itself alone in itself. The itself known and wanted by the I, as well as defining its fundamental openness, is the other I—that is, the moment of self-relationality constitutive for the realm of the spirit.
This motif, however, is not limited to theological contexts. It also finds application as a philosophical motif. This kind of language must be approached carefully, however, and demands close scrutiny now more than ever. On one hand, this paradigm composes the precondition for that analogical thinking that informs, among other things, the relation of the uncreated and the created. On the other hand, however, the paradigm of univocal causality refers to what, in line with Eckhart, must still be made thematic because, as what is first, it cannot be put into question: the one as unity.
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Mai festgestellt wird. Im dortigen Dominikanerkloster erhielt er wohl seine Grundausbildung. Darauf folgte die theologische Ausbildung und der Empfang der Priesterweihe. Das erste gesicherte Datum aus seinem Leben ist der
Majstor ljudske duše i knjiga božanske utehe – Meister Eckhart
The intellectual background there was influenced by the great Dominican theologian Thomas Aquinas , who had recently died. In his mids, Eckhart was nominated vicar the main Dominican official of Thuringia. In the same period, he faced the Franciscans in some famous disputations on theological issues. In he became provincial leader of the Dominicans in Saxony , and three years later vicar of Bohemia. His main activity, especially from , was preaching to the contemplative nuns established throughout the Rhine River valley. He resided in Strasbourg as a prior. The best-attested German work of this middle part of his life is the Book of Divine Consolation, dedicated to the Queen of Hungary.