click picture for AYCARDUS website

click picture for AYCARDUS website
Meister Eckhart

Friday, October 29, 2010

Status report (of sorts). . .

In October I participated in the XXIII Eckhart Conference held at All Saints Pastoral Centre in London Colney, UK.  The papers were excellent and on a variety of topics from neuroscience to the Our Father, from Nothingness to Chinese philosophy.  My role was a bit of an experiment.  I was the 'Spiritual Narrator' and my task was to offer comment and observations on the spiritual aspects for the group.  I must say it was well received and I was particularly glad that the presenters all found it enhanced their papers.
  Our translations are making progress and I will confess that the summer months were difficult to focus on them. Three are moving along nicely and my hope is that you will begin to see the fruits of this labor beginning in November.  Chief among these will be an excellent article by Rupert Mayer, OP which examines the influences of Aquinas and Dietrich von Freiburg in Eckhart on the question of esse.  I have also gotten word that the first of his sermons on the Trinity is in final revisions, and that the sermons for Corpus Christi are coming along and 'hoping to finish soon'.
  On another note.  I am nearing completion of a work on Meister Eckhart but not the usual sort of thing.  I have taken a stab at writing an historical fictional novel on Eckhart.  I recently recounted to a friend that the difference between the scholarly pieces on Eckhart  I have done and this fictional work has been telling.  In the academic writings I have limited my examination of the data to a critical reading.  Now, in the world of fiction, the same data has been approached not from the aspect of facts, though the facts remain.  Rather, it has been approaching these facts from the aspect of their narrative, the story they suggest.  Behind the facts are so many questions of why, or when or how that contain a story that longs to be told.  I hope that it will be available in Spring, 2011 and will post more information in the future.  The title will be: The Death of Magister Aycardus.
  I think that is the latest news and hope to post blogs more frequently now that the cold is curtailing my romps.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Summer slow down

Yikes, where has the time gone?  Summer certainly seems to govern time differently.  The rest of the year the routine wears on and the days are well ordered, but summer seems to trick even the sun into a longer lazier arc.  I confess that this year has been particularly difficult as I am juggling a home visit and various projects on an altered schedule, namely that of a later summer due to my Oxford schedule.  However, this doesn't mean that we have been idle.  I am pleased to say that a number of projects are continuing and I am sure that we will be back in the swing for October.
  I have been in the States since the end of June and will return to England on September 29th in time for the Eckhart Conference 1-3 October 2010.  If you haven't made plans to attend you should really consider doing so for your own study and spiritual growth.
  I received an email from a colleague rightly observing that the Eckhart Society is one of the few places where the mystical and spiritual truth of Eckhart's mysticism is supported.  I agree! He also noted: "The best academic work in mysticism and ethics is now mostly being done by Catholic scholars at the universities with a commitment to Catholicism."  There is a value in the Catholic perspective, its sense of historical and philosophical scholarship, its respect for the Medieval realities and our modern concerns, render an approach to scholarship that many secular programs ignore.  This is why I see the AYCARDUS Project as such a valuable contribution.  Be sure to go to the AYCARDUS site and see what we are doing.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Time seems to fly and I regret not posting more frequently.  This past month has seen a lot of progress on our two current projects: the translation of an excellent article by Rupert Mayer on Aquinas, Dietrich, and Eckhart; and a translation of Eckhart's Sermon for the Feast of St. Augustine.  Two more project are being lined up which will be two of Eckhart's Latin sermons, but I will have more information in due time.
   What is of increasing interest is just how unexamined have been the Dominican sources in Eckhart and how dominant has been a bias toward German Idealism and a post-Hegelian interpretation of his thought.  Peter Sajda's article  demonstrates the challenges raised by an Hegelian understanding and the way in which Eckhart suffered a guilt by association.  In the May issue of New Blackfriars is found an article wherein I explore the role Eckhart may have played in the Order's defense of Aquinas and extend an invitation to further research.
  On another note, if I may, this month was the release of my new work on spirituality A Soul-Centered Life  from Liturgical Press.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Search for Aycardus

Well after a month of waiting for search engines to register I am pleased to say that you can now find the Aycardus Project on your google search and we are working on the others as well.

I cannot believe that it has been over a month since my last post but Easter travels kept me away from the blog.  During this time however I did meet with some of the project members in Denver working on the translation of Eckhart's sermon and to continue work on the translation of the Mayer article.  My hope is that these might be available this summer.

One of our consultors, Markus Vincent, sent a press release with information on Eckhart's ecclesiastical status and his rehabilitation.  It is posted on Markus's  site and worth reading.  I am amazed at the number of people, even scholars, who continue to erroneously believe that Meister Eckhart was a heretic and that he was excommunicated. 

Projects are continuing as we still are taking shape.  As you can imagine a new venture takes a little time to get going but I am confident that soon we will have the kinks worked out of the systems.

If you are interested in initiating a project do not hesitate to contact me.  The AYCARDUS Project is meant to be a kind of academic cooperative and really depends on the contributions of its members and friends to make the things happen.  Every little bit helps, so if you are even remotely thinking of Meister Eckhart and his Dominican sources this is the place to float your ideas and to network with others who share your interests.  Anyone with dusty, underused skills in translation Latin, German, or other languages, know that your help is needed in making valuable resources available to the English speaking community and its research into Eckhart.

Well until next time. . .

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Projects and People

The past few days since my last post have been busy as projects started to get underway and a network of people took shape. While the AYCARDUS Project isn't a household word (still working on Google's crawlers to find it) it is taking shape in ways that will benefit Eckhartian Studies.
While the AYCARDUS Project examines the Dominican sources in Meister Eckhart, Eckhartian Studies ought not to overlook the ways in which Eckhart has been and is being received by 19th, 20th and 21st century thinkers. Their receptions can and do have an impact on how Meister Eckhart is understood or misunderstood. In order to better appreciate Eckhart we need to study his sources and his thought so that we may better evaluate the subsequent uses of Eckhart.
One excellent contact given me by one of our Project Consultors, fr. Rupert Johannes Mayer, O.P., was to another Dominican in Slovakia, fr. Peter Sajda whose work examines the reception of Eckhart's thought in German idealism and in the 19th century philosophy. I was delighted to receive a copy of his article on Eckhart and Hegel, and even more pleased to receive his permission to have it posted on our site. Does Hegelian Philosophy of Religion Distort Christian Dogmatics and Ethics? (The Debate on Speculative Mysticism) by Peter Sajda which first appeared in the Acta Kierkegaardiana 2009. Peter is one of the editors of the Acta Kierkegaardiana so we are grateful to that journal for allowing us to make this work available online.
I am please to say that two other projects have begun and I will share more on them in my next blog, but you can read about them at the AYCARDUS Project website.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Project Consultants

I am pleased with the responses from noted scholars who are very interested in the AYCARDUS Project and who are willing to serve as consultants. They are an international body and bring to the project an expertise in medieval history, medieval manuscripts, medieval philosophy, Latin, German, Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart and more. Watch for the listing of these consultants on our website

We are working on getting the AYCARDUS Project into the web search engines so it will be easier to find. (Any help in this tech area is appreciated.)

Seeking Translators: Looking for anyone with the skills and interest to work on translating two Latin text and one sermon. This could be a great project for a Latin class, a religious community, or a retired teacher. There are so many valuable works and articles not accessible to most of the English world that even a basic translation will help in the projects efforts. So don't think you have to have the critical, definitive translation. The project members will be able to bring together their various talents to improving even an unpolished effort. "Many hands make light the labors" and in promoting the study of Dominican sources in Meister Eckhart, this project is meant to be a cooperative of hearts and hands and minds.

Help promote the project:
Please email this blog to interested friends.

Friday, February 19, 2010


The AYCARDUS project was born out of my interest in a 14th century German Dominican mystic called Meister Eckhart. He was a master at the university of Paris and an acclaimed preacher of the Rhineland. He has fascinated numerous writers from diverse perspectives, but what we know about him is limited. The great critical edition of his works by Kohlhammer Publisher in German and Latin is still incomplete. He has been used by various groups from New Age spiritualist to Germanist scholars. What we know about him has been sketchy and filtered through many lenses, from national socialist interpretation to post-Modern writers. But what do we really know? What can we say about this man who met Albert the Great and was a young man at the time of Thomas Aquinas's death?

I have become fascinated by his life and his contributions at the university of Paris, at a time when the Dominican Order was working to salvage the reputation of one of their greatest thinkers, Thomas Aquinas. Eckhart was at a number of those meetings, called general chapters, that legislated its members to faithfully defend and promote the thought of Thomas Aquinas. Even so, there remains a question as to Eckhart's own appreciation for Aquinas. Some believe Eckhart to have been a disciple of Dietrich of Freiburg and see them both as fiercely anti-Thomist. Others see him as strongly influenced by neoPlatonist thought, seeing him in Augustinian categories. This leaves me wondering. I have been looking for a pool of students and scholars who might investigate the Dominican sources in Eckhart's thought.

So, this blog and the AYCARDUS Project page ( are a start, a beginning that I hope will call others into the investigation. I invite anyone who wonders just how Eckhart shaped Aquinas, or Albert, or others, to join the Project. The English speaking community, which has in one sense embraced Eckhart, could benefit from a fuller study of the factors and influences shaping his thought. The AYCARDUS website is that virtual place where articles, studies, books, conferences, and such, may be shared.

If you are looking for areas to explore in Eckhart, if you have ideas about the intellectual world in which Eckhart lived, if you are aware of literature that is not available in English, then I hope you will join this Project.