Saturday, July 26, 2014

Great German Mystics Rhineland mystics were a trio of Dominican friars who emerged in the fourteenth century in what is now western Germany, with Tauler and Suso being students of the master, "Meister" Eckhart.  Primarily writing in the vernacular (in part because of their focus on preaching), they helped usher in a renewed emphasis on personal piety which, in turn, influenced the Devotio Moderna of figures like Gerard Groote and Thomas a Kempis.
Clark spends far more time discussing the reception and subsequent interpretations of their teachings than describing the teachings themselves.  This is an almost inevitable approach, since most of the work of the Rhineland mystics is devotional rather than doctrinal in nature.  His primary goals are establishing the personal identities of the mystics, apart from later legends and apocryphal biographies, and placing them in their contemporary, scholastic context.  Unfortunately, this is not likely to be interesting to anyone not already familiar with these authors, nor is it comprehensive enough to interest those who know them well.  In effect, this reads like long introduction to a set of collected works, without the actual works attached.

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