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Eckhart, Meister

(Eckhart von Hochheim) (1260?- 1328?). An important German speculative mystic born at Hochheim, near Gotha. He studied at St. Jacques in Paris, France, where he gained a masters degree in theology in 1302. In 1304 he was appointed provincial minister of the order of Dominicans. He became the most popular preacher in Germany, but was charged with heresy in 1326 and failed in his own defense and was forced to recant much of his teaching. He died soon afterward.

His cardinal doctrine was that of the birth of the Son (Jesus) in the soul, signifying the mystical union of the human and the divine. He maintained that pilgrimages, fastings, physical austerities and external works in general are of no avail unless the soul is pure. He taught that a human has being, but God is being.

Eckhart’s writing tended to be obscure and difficult to penetrate and he was fond of hyperbole and paradox.

P.S.H.

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