- Taschenbuch: 176 Seiten
- Verlag: Continuum; Auflage: Revised (1. September 1997)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0826409296
- ISBN-13: 978-0826409294
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 1 x 22,9 cm
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Meister Eckhart and the Beguine Mystics: Hadewijch of Brabant, Mechthild of Magdeburg, and Marguerite Porete: Hadewijch of Brabant, Mechtild of Magdeburg and Marguerite Porete (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. September 1997
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"the compendium is brilliantly stimulating in the light it shines upon a little known phenomenon of mystical spirituality" Sufi, no.57--Sanford Lakoff
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Bernard McGinn is the Naomi Shenstone Donnelly Professor Historical Theology and the History of Christianity at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
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The Beguines were a group of lay women who adopted a religious way of life outside the convent. The independence from Church authority they attempted frequently brought them into difficulty. Denied the opportunity for formal university education in theology, the Beguines developed their own personal spirituality. Most of them did not know Latin and wrote in their vernacular languages. In his introduction to the volume, McGinn points out that there were three large strands of theological expression in medieval Christian Europe. The first and best-known is scholasticism. Eckhart himself was highly scholastically trained. The second was monastic. And the third was the developing, broad spirituality of lay people which received a strong impetus from the Beguines. The extent to which Eckhart in fact read literature by the Beguines is difficult to determine. McGinn and the contributors to this volume make a strong case that Eckhart and the Beguines had some similar spiritual concerns and shared a common background.
The first Beguine considered in this book is Hadewijch, and her writings are available in the Paulist Press Classics of Western Spirituality Series. Hadewijch: The Complete Works (Classics of Western Spirituality) (There appear to be two writers, an earlier and a latter writer of this name.) The essays in this volume develop parallel themes and poetical metaphors between Eckhart and Hadewijch that focus on the use of desert imagery as a picture of the soul emptying itself for God. There is some doubt about which writer came first and about the extent of direct influence.
The second Beguine considered is a obscure figure, Mechthild of Magdeburg, whose book "The Flowing Light of the Godhead" was published in "Classics of Western Spirituality" after the publication of this volume. Mechthild of Magdeburg: The Flowing Light of the Godhead (Classics of Western Spirituality) Mechtild writes in a poetic style full of visions which, according to this study, appears at first highly different from the Meister. Yet she and Eckhart develop common themes, among which is sin and its place in coming to know God. Mechtild writes, for example: " I would rather be clothed with hell and crowned with devils than be without my sin." In modern terms, Mechtild is pointing out the need for a degree of self-acceptance in understanding oneself and the spiritual quest. This book points out parallels in Eckhart's writings with Mechtild on this and on other matters.
The Beguine writer receiving the most attention in this volume is Marguerite Porete, the focus of three essays. Unlike the other two women, Porete achieved notoriety. Porete had been admonished by Church authorities about her teaching activities, but she ignored the warnings and persisted. She was arrested, tried, convicted, and burned at the stake. Her book, "The Mirror of Simple Souls" continued over the centuries to have a large audience among spiritually inclined readers. It was not until the 20th Century that Porete was definitively established as the author. The essays in this book establish many parallels between Eckhart and Porete, including Porete's use of Eckhart's central teaching of "living without why". Of the three women discussed in this book, Eckhart appears most likely to have read the book of Porete. It too is available in the "Classics of Western Spirituality". Marguerite Porete: The Mirror of Simple Souls (Classics of Western Spirituality)
The essays in this book focus on gender and on the changes in male-female relationships in the 13th Century and in the Church. In this regard, some of the essays perhaps are too ready to draw parallels with contemporary feminism. But the issue remains important. Questions of sexuality, man-woman relationships, the body and its place in the spiritual life, and the tension between love and reason in the spiritual life are central to the writings of the Beguines and of Meister Eckhart. The Meister spent much of his career preaching to lay people and to women with women religious responsible for the transcriptions we possess of his vernacular sermons. Eckhart learned from the Beguines and was able to incorporate their teachings in his own thinking -- an invaluable trait which remains important.
After reading this volume, I spent some time returning to Eckhart and rereading some of his sermons discussed in this book that show Beguine influence. I hope to have the opportunity to read some of the Beguines' own writings and to learn more about them. This book is academic and specialized in tone in places, but it is an excellent introduction to the Beguines for serious students of Eckhart.