"Seeing All Things as Naught": Meister Eckhart and the Incarnation

Nicholas Collura

Abstract


Books on popular spirituality often refer to Meister Eckhart's mystical theology as "incarnational," apparently due to its emphasis on the role of the Word made flesh, rather than of the Passion or of the Resurrection of Christ, in our salvation. In fact, Eckhart is ambivalent at best about our incarnate reality, seeing it as a fall from the perfect oneness and wholeness of God, to whom all of creation is called to return. For Eckhart, this return implies a radical death to self, the complete obliteration of our individual identities in the pure unknowing that is God. This paper departs from a consideration of the "uncanniness" ("unheimlich" - literaly, "not-at-home-ness") that characterizes Eckhart's description of union with God; moves through an analysis of the theme of the incarnation in his metaphysics, Christology, creation theology, and eschatology; and briefly contrasts his apophatic vision with the beatific vision of Aquinas, on the one hand, and certain New Testament images of the Resurrection, on the other.

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