Meister Eckhart(master), the father of German mysticism, born probably in Stras-burg in the middle of the 13th century, died probably in Cologne about 1328. He studied theology and philosophy in Paris, became a Dominican friar in Rome, and afterward provincial of the order in Germany, vicar general for Bohemia, and prior in Frankfort-on-the-Main. His attempts to reform the Dominican convents and his exalted mysticism caused him to be suspected of heresy, and in 1327, while he was in Cologne, Archbishop Henry substantiated the charge before a tribunal of the inquisition. A papal bull was issued against his writings, March 27, 1329, which declared that he had recanted before his death. This alleged recantation merely consisted, according to a document of Feb. 13, 1327, still extant, in his protest against the malicious interpretation of garbled passages from his doctrines, which in his opinion had never transcended the bounds of orthodoxy. Tauler, Suso, and other eminent men were among his disciples, who cherished his memory as a profound thinker, a lucid expounder of the most abstruse speculation, and one of the best German prose writers. The second volume of Pfeiffer's Die Deutschen Mystiker des 14. Jahrhunderts (Leipsic, 1857) contains his preserved sermons and treatises.
See also Bach's Meister Eckhart, der Vater der deutschen Speculation (Vienna, 1864).