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§ 29. Meister Eckart.

Meister Eckart, 1260–1327, the first in the line of the German mystics, was excelled in vigor of thought by no religious thinker of his century, and was the earliest theologian who wrote in German.433433    Eckart’s name is written in almost every conceivable way in the documents. See Büttner, p. xxii, as Eckardus, Eccardus, Egghardus; Deutsch and Delacroix, Eckart; Pfeiffer, Preger, Inge and Langenberg, Eckhart; Denifle and Büttner, Eckehart. His writings give us scarcely a single clew to his fortunes. Quiétif-Echard was the first to lift the veil from portions of his career. See Preger, I. 325. The philosophical bent of his mind won for him from Hegel the title, "father of German philosophy." In spite of the condemnation passed upon his writings by the pope, his memory was regarded with veneration by the succeeding generation of mystics. His name, however, was almost forgotten in later times. Mosheim barely mentions it, and the voluminous historian, Schroeckh, passes it by altogether. Baur, in his History of the Middle Ages, devotes to Eckart and Tauler only three lines, and these under the head of preaching, and makes no mention at all of German mysticism. His memory again came to honor in the last century, and in the German church history of the later Middle Ages he is now accorded a place of pre-eminence for his freshness of thought, his warm piety and his terse German style.434434    Deutsch, Herzog, V. 149, says that parts of Eckart’s sermons might serve as models of German style to-day. With Albertus Magnus and Rupert of Deutz he stands out as the earliest prominent representative in the history of German theology.

During the century before Eckart, the German church also had its mystics, and in the twelfth century the godly women, Hildegard of Bingen and Elizabeth of Schoenau, added to the function of prophecy a mystical element. In the thirteenth century the Benedictine convent of Helfta, near Eisleben, Luther’s birthplace, was a centre of religious warmth. Among its nuns were several by the names of Gertrude and Mechthild, who excelled by their religious experiences, and wrote on the devotional life. Gertrude of Hackeborn, d. 1292, abbess of Helfta, and Gertrude the Great, d. 1302, professed to have immediate communion with the Saviour and to be the recipients of divine revelations. When one of the Mechthilds asked Christ where he was to be found, the reply was, "You may seek me in the tabernacle and in Gertrude’s heart." From 1293 Gertrude the Great recorded her revelations in a work called the Communications of Piety—Insinuationes divinae pietatis. Mechthild of Magdeburg, d. 1280, and Mechthild of Hackeborn, d. 1310, likewise nuns of Helfta, also had visions which they wrote out. The former, who for thirty years had been a Beguine, Deutsch calls " one of the most remarkable personalities in the religious history of thirteenth century." Mechthild of Hackeborn, a younger sister of the abbess Gertrude, in her book on special grace,—Liber specialis gratiae,—sets forth salvation as the gift of grace without the works of the law. These women wrote in German.435435    Flacius Illyricus includes the second Mechthild in his Catal. veritatis. For the lives of these women and the editions of their works, see Preger, I. 71-132, and the artt. of Deutsch and Zöckler in Herzog. Some of the elder Mechthild’s predictions and descriptions seem to have been used by Dante. See Preger, p. 103 sq. Mechthild v. Magdeburg: D. fliessende Licht der Gottheit, Berlin, 1907.

David of Augsburg, d. 1271, the inquisitor who wrote on the inquisition,—De inquisitione haereticorum,—also wrote on the devotional life. These writings were intended for monks, and two of them436436    Die sieben Vorregeln der Tugend andder Spiegel der Tugend, both given by Pfeiffer, together with other tracts, the genuineness of some of which is doubted. See Preger, I. 268-283, and Lempp in Herzog, IV. 503 sq. are regarded as pearls of German prose.

In the last years of the thirteenth century, the Franciscan Lamprecht of Regensburg wrote a poem entitled "Daughter of Zion" (Cant. III. 11), which, in a mystical vein, depicts the soul, moved by the impulse of love, and after in vain seeking its satisfaction in worldly things, led by faith and hope to God. The Dominicans, Dietrich of Freiburg and John of Sterngassen, were also of the same tendency.437437    Denifle, Archiv, etc., II. 240, 529. The latter labored in Strassburg.

Eckart broke new paths in the realm of German religious thought. He was born at Hochheim, near Gotha, and died probably in Cologne.438438    Till the investigations of Denifle, his place of birth was usually given as Strassburg. See Denifle, p. 355. In the last years of the thirteenth century he was prior of the Dominican convent of Erfurt, and provincial of the Dominicans in Thuringia, and in 1300 was sent to Paris to lecture, taking the master’s degree, and later the doctorate. After his sojourn in France he was made prior of his order in Saxony, a province at that time extending from the Lowlands to Livland. In 1311 he was again sent to Paris as a teacher. Subsequently he preached in Strassburg, was prior in Frankfurt, 1320, and thence went to Cologne.

Charges of heresy were preferred against him in 1325 by the archbishop of Cologne, Henry of Virneburg. The same year the Dominicans, at their general chapter held in Venice, listened to complaints that certain popular preachers in Germany were leading the people astray, and sent a representative to make investigations. Henry of Virneburg had shown himself zealous in the prosecution of heretics. In 1322, Walter, a Beghard leader, was burnt, and in 1325 a number of Beghards died in the flames along the Rhine. It is possible that Eckart was quoted by these sectaries, and in this way was exposed to the charge of heresy.

The archbishop’s accusations, which had been sent to Rome, were set aside by Nicolas of Strassburg, Eckart’s friend, who at the time held the position of inquisitor in Germany. In 1327, the archbishop again proceeded against the suspected preacher and also against Nicolas. Both appealed from the archbishop’s tribunal to the pope. In February, Eckart made a public statement in the Dominican church at Cologne, declaring he had always eschewed heresy in doctrine and declension in morals, and expressed his readiness to retract errors, if such should be found in his writings.439439    Ego magister Ekardus, doctor sac. theol., protestor ante omnia, quod omnem errorem in fide et omnem deformitatem in moribus semper in quantum mihi possibile fuit, sum detestatus, etc. Preger, I. 475-478. Preger, I. 471 sqq., gives the Latin text of Eckart’s statement of Jan. 24, 1327, before the archiepiscopal court, his public statement of innocence in the Dominican church and the document containing the court’s refusal to allow his appeal to Rome.

In a bull dated March 27, 1329, John XXII. announced that of the 26 articles charged against Eckart, 15 were heretical and the remaining 11 had the savor of heresy. Two other articles, not cited in the indictment, were also pronounced heretical. The papal decision stated that Eckart had acknowledged the 17 condemned articles as heretical. There is no evidence of such acknowledgment in the offenders extant writing.440440    The 26 articles, as Denifle has shown, were based upon Eckart’s Latin writings. John’s bull is given by Preger, I. 479-482, and by Denifle, Archiv, II. 636-640. Preger, I. 365 sqq., Delacroix, p. 238 and Deutsch, V. 145, insist that Eckart made no specific recantation. The pope’s reference must have been to the statement Eckart made in the Dominican church, which contained the words, "I will amend and revoke in general and in detail, as often as may be found opportune, whatever is discovered to have a less wholesome sense, intellectum minus sane.

Among the articles condemned were the following. As soon as God was, He created the world.—The world is eternal.—External acts are not in a proper sense good and divine.—The fruit of external acts does not make us good, but internal acts which the Father works in us.—God loves the soul, not external acts. The two added articles charged Eckart with holding that there is something in the soul which is uncreated and uncreatable, and that God is neither good nor better nor best, so that God can no more be called good than white can be called black.

Eckart merits study as a preacher and as a mystic theologian.

As a Preacher.—His sermons were delivered in churches and at conferences within cloistral walls. His style is graphic and attractive, to fascination. The reader is carried on by the progress of thought. The element of surprise is prominent. Eckart’s extant sermons are in German, and the preacher avoids dragging in Latin phrases to explain his meaning, though, if necessary, he invents new German terms. He quotes the Scriptures frequently, and the New Testament more often than the Old, the passages most dwelt upon being those which describe the new birth, the sonship of Christ and believers, and love. Eckart is a master in the use of illustrations, which he drew chiefly from the sphere of daily observation,—the world of nature, the domestic circle and the shop. Although he deals with some of the most abstruse truths, he betrays no ambition to make a show of speculative subtlety. On the contrary, he again and again expresses a desire to be understood by his hearers, who are frequently represented as in dialogue with himself and asking for explanations of difficult questions. Into the dialogue are thrown such expressions as "in order that you may understand," and in using certain illustrations he on occasion announces that he uses them to make himself understood.441441    Büttner, p. 14; Pfeiffer, p. 192, etc.

The following is a resumé of a sermon on John 6:44, "No man can come unto me except the Father draw him."442442    Pfeiffer, 216. In drawing the sinner that He may convert him, God draws with more power than he would use if He were to make a thousand heavens and earths. Sin is an offence against nature, for it breaks God’s image in us. For the soul, sin is death, for God is the soul’s true life. For the heart, it is restlessness, for a thing is at rest only when it is in its natural state. Sin is a disease and blindness, for it blinds men to the brief duration of time, the evils of fleshly lust and the long duration of the pains of hell. It is bluntness to all grace. Sin is the prison-house of hell. People say they intend to turn away from their sins. But how can one who is dead make himself alive again? And by one’s own powers to turn from sin unto God is much less possible than it would be for the dead to make themselves alive. God himself must draw. Grace flows from the Father’s heart continually, as when He says, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love."

There are three things in nature which draw, and these three Christ had on the cross. The first was his fellow-likeness to Us. As the bird draws to itself the bird of the same nature, so Christ drew the heavenly Father to himself, so that the Father forgot His wrath in contemplating the sufferings of the cross. Again Christ draws by his self-emptiness. As the empty tube draws water into itself, so the Son, by emptying himself and letting his blood flow, drew to himself all the grace from the Father’s heart. The third thing by which he draws is the glowing heat of his love, even as the sun with its heat draws up the mists from the earth.

The historian of the German mediaeval pulpit, Cruel, has said,443443    p. 384. "Eckart’s sermons hold the reader by the novelty and greatness of their contents, by their vigor of expression and by the genial frankness of the preacher himself, who is felt to be putting his whole soul into his effort and to be giving the most precious things he is able to give." He had his faults, but in spite of them "he is the boldest and most profound thinker the German pulpit has ever had,—a preacher of such original stamp of mind that the Church in Germany has not another like him to offer in all the centuries."

Eckart as a Theological Thinker.—Eckart was still bound in part by the scholastic method. His temper, however, differed widely from the temper of the Schoolmen. Anselm, Hugo of St. Victor, Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventura, who united the mystical with the scholastic element, were predominantly Schoolmen, seeking to exhaust every supposable speculative problem. No purpose of this kind appears in Eckart’s writings. He is dominated by a desire not so much to reach the intellect as to reach the soul and to lead it into immediate fellowship with God. With him the weapons of metaphysical dexterity are not on show; and in his writings, so far as they are known, he betrays no inclination to bring into the area of his treatment those remoter topics of speculation, from the constitution of the angelic world to the motives and actions which rule and prevail in the regions of hell. God and the soul’s relation to Him are the engrossing subjects.444444    Denifle lays down the proposition that Eckart is above all a Schoolman, and that whatever there is of good in him is drawn from Thomas Aquinas. These conclusions are based upon Eckart’s Latin writings. Deutsch, V. 15, says that the form of Eckart’s thought in the Latin writings is scholastic, but the heart is mystical. Delacroix, p. 277 sqq., denies that Eckart was a scholastic and followed Thomas. Wetzer-Welte, IV. 11, deplores as Eckart’s defect that he departed from "the solid theology of Scholasticism" and took up Neo-Platonic vagaries. If Eckart had been a servile follower of Thomas, it is hard to understand how he should have laid himself open in 28 propositions to condemnation for heresy. The authorities upon whom Eckart relied most, if we are to judge by his quotations, were Dionysius the Areopagite, and St. Bernard, though he also quotes from Augustine, Jerome and Gregory the Great, from Plato, Avicenna and Averrhoes. His discussions are often introduced by such expressions as "the masters say," or "some masters say." As a mystical thinker he has much in common with the mystics who preceded him, Neo-Platonic and Christian, but he was no servile reproducer of the past. Freshness characterizes his fundamental principles and his statement of them. In the place of love for Jesus, the precise definitions of the stages of contemplation emphasized by the school of St. Victor and the hierarchies and ladders and graduated stairways of Dionysius, he magnifies the new birth in the soul, and sonship.445445    Harnack and, in a modified way, Delacroix and Loofs, regard Eckart’s theology as a reproduction of Erigena, Dionysius and Plotinus. Delacroix, p. 240, says, sur tous les points essentiels, il est d’accord avec Plotin et Proclus. But, in another place, p. 260, he says Eckart took from Neo-Platonism certain leading conceptions and "elaborated, transformed and transmuted them." Loofs, p. 630, somewhat ambiguously says, Die ganze Eckehartsche Mystik ist verständlich als eine Erfassung der thomistischen und augustinischen Tradition unter dem Gesichtswinkel des Areopagiten.

As for God, He is absolute being, Deus est esse. The Godhood is distinct from the persons of the Godhead,—a conception which recalls Gilbert of Poictiers, or even the quaternity which Peter the Lombard was accused of setting up. The Trinity is the method by which this Godhood reveals itself by a process which is eternal. Godhood is simple essence having in itself the potentiality of all things.446446    Pfeiffer, pp. 254, 540. God has form, and yet is without form, is being, and yet is without being. Great teachers say that God is above being. This is not correct, for God may as little be called a being, ein Wesen, as the sun may be called black or pale.447447    Pfeiffer, p. 268. The following page is an instance of Eckart’s abstruseness in definition. He says God’s einveltigin Natur ist von Formen formelos, von Werdenen werdelos, von Wesenen weselos und ist von Sachen sachelos. Pfeiffer, p. 497.

All created things were created out of nothing, and yet they were eternally in God. The master who produces pieces of art, first had all his art in himself. The arts are master within the master. Likewise the first Principle, which Eckart calls Erstigkeit, embodied in itself all images, that is, God in God. Creation is an eternal act. As soon as God was, He created the world. Without creatures, God would not be God. God is in all things and all things are God—Nu sint all Ding gleich in Gott und sint Got selber.448448    Pfeiffer, pp. 282, 311, 579. Thomas Aquinas made a clear distinction between the being of God and the being of created things. Eckart emphasized their unity. What he meant was that the images or universals exist in God eternally, as he distinctly affirmed when he said, "In the Father are the images of all creatures."449449    In dem Vater sind Bilde allerCreaturen, Pfeiffer, pp. 269, 285, etc.

As for the soul, it can be as little comprehended in a definition as God Himself.450450    Die Seele in ihrem Grunde ist so unsprechlich als Gott unsprechlich ist. Pfeiffer, p. 89. The soul’s kernel, or its ultimate essence, is the little spark, Fünkelein, a light which never goes out which is uncreated and uncreatable.451451    pp. 39, 113, 193, 286, etc. Pfleiderer, p. 6, calls this the soul’s spirit,—der Geist der Seele,—and Deutsch, p. 152, der innerst Seelengrund Notwithstanding these statements, the German theologian affirms that God created the soul and poured into it, in the first instance, all His own purity. Through the spark the soul is brought into union with God, and becomes more truly one with Him than food does with the body. The soul cannot rest till it returns to God, and to do 80 it must first die to itself, that is, completely submit itself to God.452452    pp. 113, 152, 286 487, 530. Eckart’s aim in all his sermons, as he asserts, was to reach this spark.

It is one of Eckart’s merits that he lays so much stress upon the dignity of the soul. Several of his tracts bear this title.453453    Die Edelkeit der Seele, Von der Würdgkeit der Seele, Von dem Adel der Seele. Pfeiffer, pp. 382-448. This dignity follows from God’s love and regenerative operation.

Passing to the incarnation, it is everywhere the practical purpose which controls Eckart’s treatment, and not the metaphysical. The second person of the Trinity took on human nature, that man might become partaker of the divine nature. In language such as Gregory of Nyssa used, he said, God became man that we might become God. Gott ist Mensch worden dass wir Gott wurden. As God was hidden within the human nature so that we saw there only man, so the soul is to be hidden within the divine nature, that we should see nothing but God.454454    p. 540. As certainly as God begets the Son from His own nature, so certainly does He beget Him in the soul. God is in all things, but He is in the soul alone by birth, and nowhere else is He so truly as in the soul. No one can know God but the only begotten Son. Therefore, to know God, man must through the eternal generation become Son. It is as true that man becomes God as that God was made man.455455    pp. 158, 207, 285, 345.

The generation of the eternal Son in the soul brings joy which no man can take away. A prince who should lose his kingdom and all worldly goods would still have fulness of joy, for his birth outweighs everything else.456456    pp. 44, 478-488. God is in the soul, and yet He is not the soul. The eye is not the piece of wood upon which it looks, for when the eye is closed, it is the same eye it was before. But if, in the act of looking, the eye and the wood should become one, then we might say the eye is the wood and the wood is the eye. If the wood were a spiritual substance like the eyesight, then, in reality, one might say eye and wood are one substance.457457    Pfeiffer, p. 139. The fundament of God’s being is the fundament of my being, and the fundament of my being is the fundament of God’s being. Thus I live of myself even as God lives of Himself.458458    Hier ist Gottes Grund mein Grund und mein Grund Gottes Grund. Hier lebe ich aus meinem Eigenen, wie Gott aus seinem Eigenen lebt. Büttner, p. 100 This begetment of the Son of God in the soul is the source of all true life and good works.

One of the terms which Eckart uses most frequently, to denote God’s influence upon the soul, is durchbrechen, to break through, and his favorite word for the activity of the soul, as it rises into union with God, is Abgeschiedenheit, the soul’s complete detachment of itself from all that is temporal and seen. Keep aloof, abgeschieden, he says, from men, from yourself, from all that cumbers. Bear God alone in your hearts, and then practise fasting, vigils and prayer, and you will come unto perfection. This Abgeschiedenheit, total self-detachment from created things,459459    Lautere, alles Erschaffenen ledige Abgeschiedenheit. For the sermon, see Büttner, p 9 sqq. he says in a sermon on the subject, is "the one thing needful." After reading many writings by pagan masters and Christian teachers, Eckart came to consider it the highest of all virtues,—higher than humility, higher even than love, which Paul praises as the highest; for, while love endures all things, this quality is receptiveness towards God. In the person possessing this quality, the worldly has nothing to correspond to itself. This is what Paul had reference to when he said, "I live and yet not I, for Christ liveth in me." God is Himself perfect Abgeschiedenheit.

In another place, Eckart says that he who has God in his soul finds God in all things, and God appears to him out of all things. As the thirsty love water, so that nothing else tastes good to them, even so it is with the devoted soul. In God and God alone is it at rest. God seeks rest, and He finds it nowhere but in such a heart. To reach this condition of Abgeschiedenheit, it is necessary for the soul first to meditate and form an image of God, and then to allow itself to be transformed by God.460460    Pfeiffer, II. 484.

What, then, some one might say, is the advantage of prayer and good works? In eternity, God saw every prayer and every good work, and knew which prayer He could hear. Prayers were answered in eternity. God is unchangeable and cannot be moved by a prayer. It is we who change and are moved. The sun shines, and gives pain or pleasure to the eye, according as it is weak or sound. The sun does not change. God rules differently in different men. Different kinds of dough are put into the oven; the heat affects them differently, and one is taken out a loaf of fine bread, and another a loaf of common bread.

Eckart is emphatic when he insists upon the moral obligation resting on God to operate in the soul that is ready to receive Him. God must pour Himself into such a man’s being, as the sun pours itself into the air when it is clear and pure. God would be guilty of a great wrong—Gebrechen — if He did not confer a great good upon him whom He finds empty and ready to receive Him. Even so Christ said of Zaccheus, that He must enter into his house. God first works this state in the soul, and He is obliged to reward it with the gift of Himself. "When I am blessed, selig, then all things are in me and in God, and where I am, there is God, and where God is, there I am."461461    Pfeiffer, pp. 27, 32, 479 sq., 547 sq.

Nowhere does Eckart come to a distinct definition of justification by faith, although he frequently speaks of faith as a heavenly gift. On the other hand, he gives no sign of laying stress on the penitential system. Everywhere there are symptoms in his writings that his piety breathed a different atmosphere from the pure mediaeval type. Holy living is with him the product of holy being. One must first be righteous before he can do righteous acts. Works do not sanctify. The righteous soul sanctifies the works. So long as one does good works for the sake of the kingdom of heaven or for the sake of God or for the sake of salvation or for any external cause, he is on the wrong path. Fastings, vigils, asceticisms, do not merit salvation.462462    Pfeiffer, II. 546, 564, 633, Niht endienent unserin were dar zuo dass uns Got iht gebe oder tuo. There are places in the mystic’s writings where we seem to hear Luther himself speaking.

The stress which Eckart lays upon piety, as a matter of the heart and the denial to good works of meritorious virtue, gave plausible ground for the papal condemnation, that Eckart set aside the Church’s doctrine of penance, affirming that it is not outward acts that make good, but the disposition of the soul which God abidingly works in us. John XXII. rightly discerned the drift of the mystic’s teaching.

In his treatment of Mary and Martha, Eckart seems to make a radical departure from the mediaeval doctrine of the superior value of pure contemplation. From the time of Augustine, Rachel and Mary of Bethany had been regarded as the representatives of the contemplative and higher life. In his sermon on Mary, the German mystic affirmed that Mary was still at school. Martha had learned and was engaged in good works, serving the Lord. Mary was only learning. She was striving to be as holy as her sister. Better to feed the hungry and do other works of mercy, he says, than to have the vision of Paul and to sit still. After Christ’s ascension, Mary learned to serve as fully as did Martha, for then the Holy Spirit was poured out. One who lives a truly contemplative life will show it in active works. A life of mere contemplation is a selfish life. The modern spirit was stirring in him. He saw another ideal for life than mediaeval withdrawal from the world. The breath of evangelical freedom and joy is felt in his writings.463463    Es geht ein Geist evangelischer Freiheit durch Eckart’s Sittenlehre welcher zugleich ein Geist der Freudigkeit ist, Preger, I. 452. See the sermon on Mary, Pfeiffer, pp. 47-53. Also pp. 18-21, 607.

Eckart’s speculative mind carried him to the verge of pantheism, and it is not surprising that his hyperbolical expressions subjected him to the papal condemnation. But his pantheism was Christian pantheism, the complete union of the soul with God. It was not absorption in the divine being involving the loss of individuality, but the reception of Godhood, the original principle of the Deity. What language could better express the idea that God is everything, and everything God, than these words, words adopted by Hegel as a sort of motto: "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye are the same, and there is but one sight, one apprehension, one love."464464    Das Auge das da inne ich Gott sehe, das ist selbe Auge da inne mich Gott sieht. Mein Auge und Gottes Auge, das ist ein Auge, und ein Erkennen und ein Gesicht und ein Minnen, Pfeiffer, p. 312. And yet such language, endangering, as it might seem, the distinct personality of the soul, was far better than the imperative insistence laid by accredited Church teachers on outward rituals and conformity to sacramental rites.

Harnack and others have made the objection that the Cologne divine does not dwell upon the forgiveness of sins. This omission may be overlooked, when we remember the prominence given in his teaching to regeneration and man’s divine sonship. His most notable departure from scholasticism consists in this, that he did not dwell upon the sacraments and the authority of the Church. He addressed himself to Christian individuals, and showed concern for their moral and spiritual well-being. Abstruse as some of his thinking is, there can never be the inkling of a thought that he was setting forth abstractions of the school and contemplating matters chiefly with a scientific eye. He makes the impression of being moved by strict honesty of purpose to reach the hearts of men.465465    This is well expressed by Lasson in Ueberweg, I. 471. Inge says, p. 150, Eckart’s transparent honesty and his great power of thought, combined with deep devoutness and purity of soul, make him one of the most interesting figures in the history of Christian philosophy. His words glow with the Minne, or love, of which he preached so often. In one feature, however, he differed widely from modern writers and preachers. He did not dwell upon the historical Christ. With him Christ in us is the God in us, and that is the absorbing topic. With all his high thinking he felt the limitations of human statement and, counselling modesty in setting forth definitions of God, he said, "If we would reach the depth of God’s nature, we must humble ourselves. He who would know God must first know himself."466466    Pfeiffer, II. 155, 390. Not a popular leader, not professedly a reformer, this early German theologian had a mission in preparing the way for the Reformation. The form and contents of his teaching had a direct tendency to encourage men to turn away from the authority of the priesthood and ritual legalism to the realm of inner experience for the assurance of acceptance with God. Pfleiderer has gone so far as to say that Eckart’s "is the spirit of the Reformation, the spirit of Luther, the motion of whose wings we already feel, distinctly enough, in the thoughts of his older German fellow-citizen."467467    p. 7. Preger concludes his treatment of Eckart by saying, I. 458, that it was he who really laid the foundations of Christian philosophy. Er erst hat die christliche Philosophie eigentlich begründet Although he declared his readiness to confess any heretical ideas that might have crept into his sermons and writings, the judges at Rome were right in principle. Eckart’s spirit was heretical, provoking revolt against the authority of the mediaeval Church and a restatement of some of the forgotten verities of the New Testament.

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