Beyond the Ultimate: the impossible proposition at the core of Meister Eckhart’s unique teaching, and why he remains so consistently misunderstood

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Abstract: Eckhart proposed that the ultimate of ultimates was not a perceptible God reachable through mystical experience, but an inconceivable and unfathomable ‘something’ beyond all human possibility. His proposition rests on an important distinction between the mutually exclusive paths of mysticism and spiritual knowledge. Eckhart’s teaching is analysed as if it were an independent metaphysical proposition, detached from its historical and scholarly context. The overall explanatory perspective is that of a dedicated interest in metaphysical gnosis, as part of a quest for the resolution of the human condition. Eckhart provides some valuable assistance in this regard, identifying the ‘Intellect’ – the principial force behind ordinary intellection - as a crucial spiritual capacity. Eckhart is likely to remain misunderstood and misinterpreted because those who are attracted to his teachings have no authentic metaphysical grounding of their own, and are therefore unable to recognise and appreciate – let alone elucidate - the key features of a spirituality that extends beyond mystical experientialism.
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Archival date: 2015-05-28
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