Meister Eckhart



Eckhart von Hochheim O.P. (c. 1260 - c. 1327), commonly known as Meister Eckhart, was a German theologian, philosopher and mystic, born near Gotha, in the Landgraviate of Thuringia in the Holy Roman Empire.

Eckhart came into prominence during the Avignon Papacy, at a time of increased tensions between the Franciscan Order and Eckhart's Dominican Order of Preachers. In later life he was accused of heresy and brought up before the local Franciscan-led Inquisition, and tried as a heretic by Pope John XXII.

Novel concepts Eckhart introduced into Christian metaphysics clearly deviate from the common scholastic canon.

In Eckhart's vision, God is primarily fecund. Out of overabundance of love the fertile God gives birth to the Son, the Word in all of us. Clearly, 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).

Another bold assertion is Eckhart's distinction between God and Godhead (Gottheit in German, meaning Godhood or Godness, state of being God). These notions had been present in Pseudo-Dionysius's writings and Johannes Scotus Eriugena's De divisione naturae (Periphyseon), but Eckhart, with characteristic vigor and audacity, reshaped the germinal metaphors into profound images of polarity between the Unmanifest and Manifest Absolute.

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