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 (http://sites.google.com/site/aycardusproject) 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.