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John Tauler

German Dominican and mystic

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Biography

 John Tauler
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Johannes Tauler entered the Dominican order at Strasbourg about the age of fifteen and probably studied in the Dominican studium generale at Cologne, where he may have been taught by Meister Eckhart. He was certainly influenced by the latter and by the contemplative movement known as the Gottesfreunde (Friends of God). He remained a loyal and orthodox member of the church.

Tauler is one of the four outstanding figures in the amazing flowering of mystical experience and writing that took place in late-medieval Germany. This phenomenon included the unlettered Beguine Mechthild of Magdeburg and Tauler's fellow Dominicans Meister Eckhart and Heinrich Seuse. Tauler's sermons, written only in German, circulated widely in the Middle Ages in Germany and the Low Countries. Since Martin Luther made marginal notes on his copy of the 1508 Augsburg edition of Tauler's sermons and obviously valued him highly, Tauler's works were later read by Protestants as well as by Catholics. Tauler was less erudite and more practical than Eckhart, and his teaching was built on the devotional habits of his day. As a result he was able to transmit much of Eckhart's basic teachings when Eckhart himself was branded as heretical. Some of Eckhart's sermons were preserved under Tauler's name and found their way into print in the 1521 Basel edition of Tauler's works.

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Works by John Tauler

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Following of Christ instructs Christians to follow the selfless life of poverty demonstrated by Jesus Christ. Tauler describes poverty as the adherence to God's authority over any earthly desire. God has created us as free individuals with the power and capacity to choose a life of service to Him. Tauler teaches Christians how to set aside material interests and instead seek God inwardly. When we surrender ourselves freely to God, He transforms us internally, giving us the grace to perform godly works. Once we have freed ourselves from earthly burdens, we are able to receive divine truth. Following of Christ is both spiritually and intellectually fulfilling. All audience will be enriched by the practical wisdom in Tauler's words.

John Tauler was a German Dominican mystic living in the 14th century. He is known as one of the Friends of God, an informal group of Catholic mystics who strove to deepen both their communal relationship as well as their inner spirituality. Tauler was a leader of this group. His sermons demonstrated his mastery of combining the mystical with the concrete, the spiritual with the practical. 25 of his sermons are included in this volume. He also taught that each human has a desire for God which is satisfied through detachment from earthly things. Also in this volume is a biography of Tauler, which allows readers to gain better insight into this ancient religious man's life and work.

A 14th century Dominican, John Tauler was a renowned preacher of the middle ages. Although not as speculative or poetic as some of his contemporaries, Tauler's sermons are among the noblest, showing his gift for clearly expressing spiritual truths. Inner Way is a collection of his festival sermons. Often called a Christian mystic, Tauler emphasized the "blessed contemplation" of God. However, his emphasis on divine contemplation was always tempered with practical advice for daily Christian living. Inner Way is consequently a true gem. It is historically valuable, spiritually enriching, and ideal for the liturgical season. Many believers--including Martin Luther--have found these sermons engaging and instructive. They are well worth the read.

This book has everything a reader needs to explore the world of German mysticism. William Inge begins with an introduction of histories, biographies, and summaries of the movement, and his scholarly articles will prove useful for the student of mysticism. Then he includes in the book many examples of the writings of the 14th century Dominicans, the Friends of God. These friends were an informal group of Catholics who strove to deepen both their communal relationships as well as their inner spirituality. Eckhardt, Tauler, and Suso were the major proponents of this theology, and each is represented in Inge's collection. This book is a unique and convenient volume that will assist readers interested in the fascinating movement of German mysticism.

In his series of 45 meditations, John Tauler reflects upon the many stages of Jesus' ministry and passion. Tauler begins his mediations with a confession, in which he asks the Lord to open his heart and cleanse him from his unrighteousness so that he might be worthy to praise God's name. Throughout his meditations, Tauler shares the painful, yet redemptive, details of Christ's last days on Earth, from the washing of His disciple's feet to His final words on the cross. Tauler's meditations offer Christians a vivid illustration of Christ's sacrifice for us, encouraging us to draw near to Him. Meditations of the Life and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ is an excellent resource for Christians who are striving to emulate the compassionate qualities of Christ--humility, grace, and forgiveness.

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