Week XI (11/19)

Meister Eckhart and the Beguines

Readings: Meister Eckhart, The Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises, and Defense, Introduction; 71-81; 177-203; 285-294 ; A. Hollywood, "Suffering Transformed: Marguerite Porete, Meister Eckhart, and the Problem of Women's Spirituality," Meister Eckhart and the Beguine Mystics, 87-113 [pdf on CourseInfo site] Schwester Katrei (Sister Catherine), "About the Confessor's Daughter," Meister Eckhart, Teacher and Preacher, 347-387 [pdf on CourseInfo site]

Optional: Schwester Katrei entry from the Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques

Additional Graduate Reading: B. McGinn, ed., Meister Eckhart and the Beguine Mystics

This week we peek into the world of the Dominican order. Between the readings of the last three or four weeks and the introductions to the Eckhart collections, I don't think you're going to need to do a great deal of background exploration. One thing I'd like for you to think about as you read is how Eckhart straddles the world of elite learning and the world of lay piety (as seen in his collection of Latin and vernacular sermons) in a distinctive way. Certainly we've seen other mystics combine Latin learning with vernacular literature and lay piety, but Eckhart does this with an unusually high level of theological training and the particularly Dominican imperative to preach. (Remember that the Dominican Order is also called the Ordinum Predicatorum, Order of Preachers.) We may want to discuss in class how Eckhart's theological training impacts on his mystical thought as well as how his position within the order impacts on issues of authority. We will also be looking at the diffusion of Eckhart's negative theology through the lens of Schwester Katrei's vernacular text.

Any questions you may have about the Dominican Order can probably be answered by a trip to Dominican Central's Tradition web page.


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