Markus Vinzent's Blog

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Marcion's two recensions of his Gospel

One of the most important insights of my Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels (2014) was the discovery that Marcion’s Gospel existed in two different versions, first as a pre-published, presumably stand-alone draft, and secondly as a published edition with the framing of the Antitheses and the 10 Pauline Letters. How did I derive to this conclusion? The key text in this respect is Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem IV 4,2 which, in a second step, I’d like to put into the broader frame of Tertullian’s discussion of Marcion’s Antitheses and his Gospel in Adversus Marcionem IV 1-5, so that we can follow Tertullian’s arguments. Here, first the crucial passage from Adversus Marcionem IV 4,2[1]:


Quam absurdum, ut, si nostrum antiquius probaverimus, Marcionis vero posterius, et nostrum ante videatur falsum quam habuerit de veritate materiam, et Marcionis ante credatur aemulationem a nostro expertum quam et editum; et postremo id verius existimetur quod est serius, post tot ac tanta iam opera atque documenta Christianae religionis saeculo edita, quae edi utique non potuissent sine evangelii veritate, id est ante evangelii veritatem.


I add the English translation of Ernest Evans of 1972 (Oxford):

How preposterous it would be that when we have proved ours the older, and that Marcion's has emerged later, ours should be taken to have been false before it had from the truth material <for falsehood to work on>, and Marcion's be believed to have suffered hostility from ours before it was even published: and in the end <how ridiculous> that that which is later should be reckoned more true, even after the publication to the world of all those great works and evidences of the Christian religion which surely could never have been produced except for the truth of the gospel—even before the gospel was true.

And the German translation of Karl Adam Heinrich Kellner (BKV, Köln, 1882):

Wenn wir erwiesen haben, dass unser Evangelium älter, das Marcionitische dagegen jünger sei, so wäre es höchst absurd, dass einerseits unser Evangelium schon als ein gefälschtes erscheinen sollte, bevor ein echtes ihm den Stoff dazu geliefert hatte, andererseits das Marcionitische durch das unsrige Widerspruch erfahren habe, bevor es herausgegeben war, und endlich drittens, dass das in höherem Grade als echt gelten soll, was spätern Ursprungs ist, nachdem bereits so viele wichtige Werke und Urkunden der christlichen Religion im Laufe der Zeit erschienen waren, die ohne ein echtes Evangelium, d. h. vor einem echten Evangelium, nicht hätten erscheinen können.

According to the New Testament scholars James Carleton Paget and Frederik Mulders, referring to the quoted passage, ‘the Latin clearly states that Marcion accused the “upholders of Judaism” of having falsified Luke, not of having falsified his own Gospel’.[2]

It seems that such reading is informed by Tertullian’s own interpretation of Marcion’s views, but it is incorrect, if one takes Marcion’s perspective, as given by Tertullian (whether or not historically correct). So, let us explore the passage in more detail:

Tertullian points out that he has ‘proved’ his Gospel to be the older, compared to the Gospel of Marcion, as ‘Marcion’s has emerged later’.[3] While Tertullian is certainly referring to Luke here, in reality in Adversus Marcionem he is mostly working with Matthew. Whichever is meant (we will later see, Tertullian, by using the singular ‘nostrum’ is aggregating here the four later canonical Gospels), Tertullian adds against Marcion that it would be ‘preposterous’ (Evans), or ‘absurd’ (Kellner) (absurdum) if his Gospel ‘should be taken to have been false’ (‘als ein gefälschtes erscheinen sollte’ = should look as if it were plagiarism). Up to this point, there is no mention made about ‘upholders of Judaism’ who have ‘falsified Luke’, but Marcion is being referred to as having claimed that Tertullian’s Gospel looked like a ‘false’ one, a plagiarising one (videatur falsum). The nature of that ‘falsity’ or ‘plagiarism’ is now being further detailed by Tertullian who is still relating Marcion’s argument: ante … quam habuerit de veritate materiam, rendered by Evans as ‘before it had from the truth material’ and by Kellner ‘bevor ein echtes ihm dazu den Stoff geliefert hätte’. This section has been overlooked by Carleton Paget and Mulders, as Marcion is supposed to claim here that a) his own Gospel he regarded as the true one (verum), while he saw the Gospel of Tertullian as the false one (falsum), and c) that the falsity was a form of plagiarism of Marcion’s, as the false Gospel had taken material (Evans) or the material (Kellner: ‘den Stoff’) from the true one. With Evans explanatory addition ‘for falsehood to work on’ is only the nature of the plagiarising redactor further detailed.

Now, the next claim of Marcion, referred to by Tertullian, is even further explicating the nature of this plagiarism: ‘Marcion’s [Gospel] be believed to have suffered hostility from ours’ (Kellner: ‘das Marcionitische[4] durch das unsrige Widerspruch erfahren habe’) (Marcionis ante credatur aemulationem a nostro expertum).

In whichever way one wants to translate ‘aemulatio’, be it by ‘hostility’ (Evans), ‘Widerspruch’ (Kellner), with Lewis and Short’s dictionary as ‘an assiduous striving to equal or excel another in any thing, emulation’, or with Cicero a ‘defective emulation which is similar to rivalry’,[5] it is clear that Marcion believed, the Gospel of Luke (and, as we will see from Tertullian’s report, also the other later canonical Gospels) to be a bad copy of his own, a copy from which is own true Gospel had suffered (Evans) or was even contradicted (Kellner).

As important as this information is the further detail of when such copying and suffering or contradicting took place. Tertullian adds in his report: ante … quam et editum, rendered by Evans as ‘before it was even published’, by Kellner as ‘bevor es herausgegeben war’, the subject of this sentence being ‘Marcionis [evangelium]’. And although Kellner misses to translate the ‘et’, both translators agree that according to Marcion (as reported by Tertullian), he had complained that the false Gospel of Tertullian had taken (Kellner: its) material from Marcion’s true one, even before Marcion had published his true Gospel.

And Tertullian is giving the ultimate point of Marcion’s claim, namely that this Gospel ‘should be reckoned more true, even after the publication to the world of all those great works and evidences of the Christian religion’ (Kellner: ‘dass das in höherem Grade als echt gelten soll, was spätern Ursprungs ist, nachdem bereits so viele wichtige Werke und Urkunden der christlichen Religion im Laufe der Zeit erschienen waren’): postremo id verius existimetur quod est serius, post tot ac tanta iam opera atque documenta Christianae religionis saeculo edita.

According to this third and ultimate point, Marcion is said to have made the – for Tertullian certainly highly absurd – claim that his Gospel was the true one, despite the fact that it was published lately (quod est serius) compared to the publication of those opera atque documenta of the Christian religion, by which he means the later canonical Gospels.

Having gone through this text, it is clear that according to Marcion’s view, his own, the true Gospel, stood at the beginning, on the basis of which the alteration was made, a bad copying of and a taking of material from his own Gospel. This plagiarism had taken place, even before he had published this text. And yet, he maintained that because of the plagiarised nature of the other works and documents, his own Gospel remained to be the true one, despite those others having been published before he himself did publish his own, as we know, by adding to it the Antitheses in which precisely he made those claims, as Tertullian in Adversus Marcionem IV 1-4 first comments on Marcion’s Antitheses. As a second defense of his Gospel, Marcion, only now also seems to have added the collection of 10 Pauline Letters to flag up the consistency between his Gospel and the Gospel of which Paul spoke in his writings.


[1] The interpretation of which in my Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels (2014) had been criticised by James Carleton Paget and Frederik Mulders. See James Carleton Paget, 'Marcion and the Resurrection: Some Thoughts on a Recent Book', Journal for the Study of the New Testament 35 (2012), 74-102 and Frederik Mulders, in his impressively well documented and carefully edited blog (
[2] J. Carleton Paget, ‘Marcion and the Resurrection: Some Thoughts on a Recent Book’ (2012), 94 n. 47, also quoted by Frederik Mulders in the before mentioned blog entry.
[3] The German translation of ‘Marcionis’ with ‘Marcionitische [Evangelium]’ is, of course, imprecise and already an interpretation, based on the assumption of the Gospel not being that of Marcion, but only of Marcionite use or character.
[4] On Kellner’s tendentious translation of Marcionis with ‘Marcionitische’, see the above note.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Eckhart Sprüche - Eckhart Sayings

Viele im Internet geisternde Eckhart-Sprüche sind leider ohne Stellenangaben, und oftmals stammen sie auch nicht vom Meister (auch wenn sie bisweilen von ihm stammen könnten). Da ich immer wieder nach solchen Sprüchen gefragt werde, beginne ich hier gerne, solche Sprüche mit den entsprechenden Fundstellen bei Eckhart (falls möglich) aufzulisten

Many of the Eckhart sayings which can be found on the internet are given without bibliographical details, and quite often they do not derive from the pen of Eckhart, although they might reflect his thinking. As I am quite often asked to provide the reference, I am happy to start here a list of such sayings:

1.) „Wenn ein Mensch nie mehr zu tun hatte mit Gott, außer, dass er dankbar ist, dann ist es genug“
„Wäre das Wort ‚Danke‘ das einzige Gebet, das du je sprichst, so würde es genügen“!
"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."
Eckhart, Pr. 34 (DW II 169,1-2): „Hæte der mensche niht me ze tuonne mit gote, dan daz er dankbære ist, ez wære genuoc“.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Eckhart's Latin Sermon XVI - English translation

As I am working on the relation between Eckhart and Pseudo-Chrysostom's Opus imperfectum in Matthaeum, I had to translate Eckhart's Latin sermo XVI which is entirely based on this spurious, but extremely interesting Patristic work. As there is no available English translation, here follows the text with my own translation:

'Omnis qui irascitur fratri suo reus erit iudicio' Matth. 5.[1]

◊163◊ Chrysostomus super isto verbo: »si ira non fuerit, nec doctrina proficit nec iudicia stant nec crimina compescuntur. Iusta ergo ira mater est disciplinae«.  Unde littera Chrysostomi habet sic: 'qui irascitur fratri suo sine causa'. Et sequitur in Chrysostomo: »iracundia quae cum causa est nec est iracundia, sed iudicium. Iracundia enim proprie intelligitur commotio passionis. Qui autem cum causa irascitur, ira illius iam non ex passione est, sed ex causa, ideo iudicare dicitur, non irasci«. Hoc Chrysostomus, et consonat illud Psalmi:  'irascimini et nolite peccare'. Item Augustinus X De civitate dei: »Stoicis non placet passiones cadere in sapientem«. Peripatetici vero has »in sapientem <LW4:156> cadere« dicunt, »sed moderatas rationique subiectas«, sicut cum »ita praebetur misericordia, ut iustitia conservetur«. »In disciplina christiana non tamen quaeritur utrum pius animus irascatur« »aut tristetur, sed unde«. Hoc Augustinus.  Hieronymus autem super Matth. 5 dicit: »'qui irascitur fratri suo'. In quibusdam codicibus additur 'sine causa'. Ceterum in veris definita sententia est et ira penitus tollitur«. Si enim iubemur« »orare pro persequentibus, omnis irae occasio tollitur. Radendum est ergo 'sine causa', quia 'ira viri iustitiam dei non operatur'«. 

◊164◊ Rursus Augustinus libro Retractationum c. 18 sic ait: »illud dicimus intuendum quid sit irasci fratri suo, quoniam non fratri irascitur, qui peccato irascitur fratris; qui ergo fratri, non peccato irascitur, sine causa irascitur«.  Idem XIV De civitate dei: »irasci fratri, ut corrigatur, nullus sanae mentis reprehendit«. »Huiusmodi enim motus de amore boni et de sancta caritate venientes vitia dicenda non sunt, cum rectam rationem sequantur«. Hoc  Augustinus.  <LW4:157>

◊165◊ Adhuc Chrysostomus ubi supra: »quando homo irascitur et non vult facere quod ira compellit, caro eius irata est, animus autem eius non est iratus.  Ergo multi sunt quorum caro irascitur, anima autem non irascitur«. »Puto autem: non de iracundia carnis loquitur Christus, sed de spiritu« dicit, »nec enim est possibile, ut caro non turbetur, quia 'sapientia carnis inimica est in deum'«. Beda super Matth. 5: 'nisi abundaverit' etc. in omni concordat cum Chrysostomo, ut addatur 'sine causa'. Item Chrysostomus super Matth. 5 de 'mandatis istis minimis' dicit: »non irasci difficile est, quia naturaliter in hominibus iracundia est plantata dicente Iob: 'homo natus de muliere plenus iracundia'«. Littera est Chrisostomi. Hugo super regulam Augustini: »ne ira crescat in odium« dicit: »nulli irascenti ira sua videtur iniusta«.  'Reconciliari fratri tuo'. Quasi dicat: per hoc sit tibi frater. Quod si frater, omnia sua diligis et ipsis frueris ut fratris tui; omnia sua tua ut fratris.

Anyone who is angry with his brother will be subjected to judgement (Matth. 5:22)
◊163◊ Chrysostom [says] on this saying: ‘If there were no anger, no doctrine emerged, no judgement would stand, no crime could be prevented. Just anger, therefore, is the mother of order’. Therefore, the wording of Chrysostomus has it the following way: ‘Who is angry with his brother for no reason’ (Matth. 5:22). And it follows in Chrysostom: ‘Anger that exists for a reason is no anger, but judgement. Because anger is properly understood as motion of passion. Who, however, is angry for a reason, his anger does surely not derive from passion, but from reason, and, therefore, is called judging, not being angry’. So far Chrysostom who is consonant with that Psalm [4:5]: Be angry, but do not sin. Augustine, too [says] in book 10 of The City of God: ‘The Stoics do not agree that the passions befall a wise one’, while the Peripatetics say that they do ‘befall a wise one’, but that ‘they [the passions] are moderated by and subjected to the mind’, as, for example, when ‘one shows mercy in a way that justice is preserved’. ‘In Christian teaching, however, one does not ask whether or not a pious soul is angry or sad, but why’. So far Augustine. Jerome, then, says on Matth. 5: ‘Who is angry with his brother. In certain manuscripts, it is added “for no reason”. On the other side, in reliable ones, the final sentence excludes all inner anger’. If, then, we are asked ‘to pray for those who persecute, every occasion for anger is excluded. Hence, “for no reason” has to be rased off, because “the anger of man does not produce the justice of God”’ [James 1:20].
◊164◊ Augustine, again, in the book Retractations, ch. 18 says as follows: ‘We say it has to be taken into account, what it is that makes angry with one’s brother, because the one is not angry with a brother who is angry with the sin of the brother; who, therefore, is angry with a brother, not with the sin, is angry for no reason’. The same [states] in [book] XIV of The City of God, that ‘to be angry with a brother, in order to be corrected, will by no healthy mind be reprehended’. ‘In this way, namely, where motion derives from the love of the good and holy grace, it cannot be called a vice, as it follows the right reason’. So far Augustine.
◊165◊ Furthermore, Chrysostom [says], as further above: ‘When a human being is angry and does not want to do what anger compels him to do, his body is angered, his mind, however is not angered. There are, therefore, many whose body is angered, whereas the soul is not angered’. ‘I believe, however, Christ is not speaking about the anger of the body, but’ speaks ‘of that of the mind’, as it is not possible that the body is not touched, for the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God [Rom. 8:7]’. Bede on Matth. 5[:20] concords entirely with Chrysostom: ‘Unless [your rightesness] exceeds’, when he adds ‘for no reason’. In addition, Chrysostom says on Matth. 5[:19]: The least of these commandments: ‘It is difficult, not to become angry, because anger is naturally planted into human beings, as Job says: human beings, born from a mother, are full of anger [Job 14:1]’, so far Chrysostom literally. Hugh [of St. Victory] says about the rule of Augustine ‘that anger should not grow into hate’: ‘To nobody who is angry does his anger seem to be unjust’. Reconcile yourself with your brother [Matth. 5:24], as if he said: Hereby he may your brother. So that, if he is a brother, love all what is his and enjoy what is his as your brother's. All that is his is yours, as of a brother's.

[1] Eckhart, Sermo XVI nn. 163-5 (LW IV 155,1-157,13).


Thursday, 4 June 2015

Eckhart’s Parisian Sermo paschalis Parisius habitus (18.4.1294, Paris) in English

Here another of Eckhart's early Latin texts with my own English translation which , to my knowledge, had not yet been translated yet into English:

Sermo paschalis a. 1294 Parisius habitus
Easter Homily from the year 1294, given at Paris
fr. Ekhardus lector Sententiarum.
In die Resurrectionis
'Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Itaque epulemur', ad Cor. 'Epulari autem et gaudere oportebat, quia frater tuus mortuus fuerat et revixit', in Luca.
◊1◊ Prothema hoc directe, ut videtur, themati et praesenti sollemnitati correspondet. Cum enim Marcus Tullius, quem Augustinus commendat praecipue inter omnes rhetores, tam in veteri quam nova Rhetorica scribat quod inter alia quattuor sunt quae cum aviditate audiuntur, scilicet quando ea quae proponuntur sunt pertinentia ad singulos, et sunt incredibilia quia mirabilia, et sunt nova quia insolita, et <LW5:137> magna quia supernaturalia, haec quattuor tanguntur in his verbis secundo positis quia haec, de quibus hodie agit ecclesia, tangunt singulos - hoc notatur, cum dicit: 'frater tuus', scilicet Christus -; item sunt incredibilia, cum summe sint mirabilia, quia »deus«, qui est »sphaera intelligibilis« et incomprehensibilis, »cuius centrum ubique et circumferentia nusquam«, sub specie panis sumendus proponitur - unde 'epulari et gaudere oportebat' -; item sunt nova, scilicet quod vita moritur - unde 'mortuus fuerat' -, et magna - 'et revixit' -, quia mortuus vitae restituitur, propria scilicet virtute, in aeternum victurus.

◊2◊ De primo: de tua enim re agitur. Unde in Gen.: 'frater enim noster et caro est'. Item: 'hoc nunc os ex ossibus meis' etc. Hic quia sub specie panis proponitur, et haec incredibilia. Unde Is., et ponitur in Epistula ad Romanos: 'domine, quis credidit auditui nostro?', quasi dicens: incredibilia sunt. Dicitur autem: 'auditui nostro', forte quia 'fides ex auditu', vel forte quia in sacramento altaris intellectus evacuatur, visus, gustus et alii sensus captivantur, sed <LW5:138> solus auditus illigatus evadit et verum nobis nuntiat. Unde potest dicere illud Iob: 'ego evasi solus, ut nuntiarem tibi'. Sunt etiam nova, quia vita moritur, scilicet Christus. Unde in Ioh.: 'ego sum via, veritas et vita'. Item: 'quod factum est in ipso vita erat'. Item magnum, quia 'revixit'. Quod enim mortuus reviviscat quandoque visum est, sed quod se ipsum suscitet semper victurus, magnum prorsus et insolitum est. Unde in Apoc.: 'ego sum primus et novissimus [et vivus], et mortuus fui et ecce sum vivens in saecula saeculorum'. Et Augustinus in II Epistula ad Volusianum: »non oportebat ut deus faceret novum mundum, fecit autem nova in mundo. Homo enim ex virgine procreatus a morte in aeternam vitam resuscitatus in caelis forte potentius opus est, quam mundus«. Nec est mirandum quod illud quod ad litteram de filio prodigo dictum est et iniquo, de Christo exponimus, cum scriptum sit de Christo: 'et cum iniquis deputatus est'. Unde etiam Is.: 'deus posuit iniquitates omnium nostrum in eo'. <LW5:139>
◊3◊ Ut autem quae primo coepimus congruentius exponamus, primo oremus. Augustinus autem docet in libro Soliloquiorum circa principium modum orandi dicens: »deus universitatis conditor, praesta mihi primum ut bene te rogem, deinde ut me agas dignum, quem audias, postremo ut me exaudias«. Bene enim orare est multum impetrare.
'Pascha nostrum' etc.
◊4◊ Videmus, quando mater infantem vult provocare ad comedendum et medicus infirmum ad sumendum medicinam, uterque utrumque commendat, quia opinio bona de his ut plurimum proficit, et talis imaginatio prima boni plus quandoque confert quam medicus per instrumenta. Unde visum est, ut ipsi referunt, quod gallina ex sola imaginatione quantum ad exteriorem dispositionem se transfiguravit in gallum. Unde volens nos provocare ad manducandum pascha, primo proponit eius excellentiam dicens: 'pascha nostrum' etc. Secundo recto ordine hortatur nos ad dignam receptionem tanti sacramenti: 'itaque epulemur', ut haec dictio 'itaque' teneatur adverbialiter, id est 'epulemur' secundum tanti sacramenti convenientiam. <LW5:140>
◊5◊ Primo ergo commendat hoc pascha, quia hoc tam corpus reficit quam animam. Unde in Ioh.: 'ingredietur', scilicet ad animae refectionem, 'et egredietur, et pascua inveniet'. De excellentia huius dicitur in libro Sapientiae quod habet 'in se omne delectamentum et omnis saporis suavitatem', 'deserviens uniuscuiusque voluntati'. Unde Augustinus in Sententiis Prosperi c. 3: »omnis perfectio ex Christo et in Christo est, ultra quem non habet spes quo se extendat. Finis fidelium Christus est, ad quem cum pervenerit currentis intentio, non habet quo amplius possit venire, sed habet in quo debeat permanere«. Sic de primo.
◊6◊ Nunc de secundo: 'itaque epulemur,' scilicet secundum convenientiam. Ut autem habeamus sacramenti excellentiam et commendationem et digne recipientium dispositionem, videamus quoad praesens tria circa ipsum, scilicet quibus hoc pascha paretur, secundo ubi, et tertio quid operetur.
◊7◊ De primo sciendum quod paratur pauperibus et mundas conscientias habentibus et mundum contemnentibus. <LW5:141> De primo Ps.: 'parasti in dulcedine tua pauperi, deus', et illud: 'edent pauperes' etc. - Glossa: pauperibus, id est mundi contemptoribus et humilibus - 'in dulcedine tua' - Glossa: »non saeculi, quae amara est«-. Unde Augustinus in epistula quadam ad Armentarium et Paulinam: »ibi labor, ubi multa quaeruntur et diliguntur, quibus adipiscendis et retinendis voluntas satis non est, iuxta te esse vero vita est, ipsa vero velle iustitia est. Vide: ubi labor est, ibi voluntas satis [non] est. Propter quod divinitus dictum est: 'in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis'. Ubi pax, ibi requies; ubi requies, ibi finis appetendi et nulla causa laborandi«.
◊8◊ Videtur autem quantum ad praesens duplex causa posse assignari cur Deus det 'humilibus gratiam', sicut scriptum est in canonica Iacobi et alibi. Si autem deus dat gratiam per partes, multo fortius in hoc sacramento, in quo latet fons gratiae. Et in <LW5:142> aliis litteris dicitur satis probabiliter quod omne continens quanto est bassius et inferius, tanto capacius. Unde anima quae debet capere hoc sacramentum, quanto est per humilitatem bassior, tanto dei capacior. Unde Augustinus: »Deus totus oculus est, totus manus est, totus pes«, quoad primum quia omnia speculatur, quoad secundum quia omnia operatur, quoad tertium quia ubique ens nusquam locatur. Unde si vult ipsum anima fidelis capere, oportet ut per humilitatem se aptet.
◊9◊ Item paratur secundo mundi contemptoribus propter duo. Unum quia secundum Augustinum omne metallum ex [at]tactu ignobilioris obfuscatur vel debilitatur, ut <LW5:143> aurum ex contactu argenti. Ergo videtur iniuria fieri deo, si ipsum aliquis recipiat amans mundum, quia ipsum ignobilitare quantum in ipso est videtur.
◊10◊ 'Parasti, deus'. Sic videtur a quo paratur, scilicet a deo. Nec mirum, quia videmus quia natura tota corrupta et infirma et limitata in tempore modico educit aliquod magnum et vivum ex humore attracto. Longe possibilius est ex virtute divina brevi tempore hoc sacramentum confici, cum quanto agens est fortius, tanto actus sit brevior, quemadmodum dicitur in aliis litteris. Unde dicit signanter: 'parasti, deus'.
◊11◊ Tertio paratur mundas conscientias habentibus. Unde in libro Num. dicitur Moysi quod qui immundi erant 'in secundo mense' celebrent Phase. Et in 1 Reg. David volenti sumere propter necessitatem 'panes propositionis': 'si pueri sint mundi'. Et in Matth. quod 'Ioseph accepto corpore' domini 'involvit illud in sindone munda'. Ergo mundis tantum paratur. Unde Dionysius in Ecclesiastica hierarchia c. 3 alludit themati nostro 'pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus': »ad sanctissimam venientes <LW5:144> immolationem purgari oportet ab extremis animae phantasiis et in similitudine ipsi, quantum possibile, advenire«. In signum huius etiam Christus lavit et mundavit pedes discipulorum, ut etiam contagia minima docerentur auferenda.
◊12◊ Ubi autem paretur, in Ezechiele ostensum est, utcumque 'in montibus excelsis Israel': 'ibi requiescunt', 'in locis pinguibus', 'in herbis virentibus' 'erunt pascua eorum' et[c.]
◊13◊ Nusquam melius [lacuna] a quibus nisi si videamus quid de hac praeparatione requisitus dicebat: ubi 'vis eamus' parare 'pascha'? Marcus dicit quod 'misit duos de discipulis' etc. Lucas dicit quod 'Petrum et Iohannem' etc. usque: 'et ibi parate'. Petrus interpretatur »agnoscens«, ergo agnitio sui ipsius et infirmitatis propriae est unum quod praemittitur ad parandum. Unde ad Cor.: 'probet autem se ipsum homo' etc. Unde Augustinus De trinitate l. IV in principio: »scientiam terrestrium atque <LW5:145> caelestium rerum magni aestimare solet genus humanum, in quo profecto meliores sunt qui huic scientiae proponunt nosse semet ipsos. Unde probabilior laudabiliorque est animus cui infirmitas propria nota est quam qui ea non respecta vias siderum scrutatur, etiam cogniturus«. Unde Adam volebat multam rapere scientiam et perdidit eam. Et Albertus saepe dicebat: »hoc scio sicut scimus, nam omnes parum scimus«. Unde reprehendendi sunt qui praesumunt de scientia talium et suam conscientiam negligunt. Unde Augustinus in libello De disciplina christiana convincit ex hoc quod multi plus diligunt tunicam quam animam et mortem quam vitam, quia probatio est ab anima. Unde dicit: »amas tunicam bonam, eam vis, amas domum bonam, eam vis« etc. »Denique etiam ipsam mortem bonam vis et exoptas. Ergo si non amas bonam vitam vel animam, eam non vis. Times male mori, time male vivere. Non potest male mori, qui bene vixerit. Iterum confirmo, audacter et securus dico: non potest« etc. <LW5:146>
◊14◊ Praemisit etiam Iohannem, qui interpretatur »in quo est gratia«, quia ex cognitione propriae infirmitatis consurgit humilitas et gratia. Quicumque vero est superbus, non est sciens. Unde in proverbiis Ptolemaei: »qui inter sapientes est humilior, inter eos est sapientior«. 'Humiliatio tui in medio tui' dicitur in Michaea. Si te intus cognoscas, te humiliabis frequenter.
Ergo ibant simul Petrus et Iohannes. Unde in Ioh.: 'currebant duo simul' etc. Petrus ergo primus exivit, sed Iohannes praecucurrit, quia illic elevat gratia, ubi non attingit natura. Petrus ergo et Iohannes praeparant. Unde Augustinus in libro De gratia et libero arbitrio dicit: »deus cooperando in nobis perficit quod operando incipit. Operatur in nobis incipiens ut velimus, cooperatur volentibus perficiens, operatur ut homo velit, cooperatur ut frustra non velit«.
◊15◊ Misit ergo duo dicens: 'ite in civitatem', quia in hac sacra[menti] perceptione debet esse collectio desideriorum unitorum in deum. Unde civitas dicitur »quasi <LW5:147> civium unitas« in qua paratur pascha. Unde Dionysius ubi supra, cur dicatur hoc sacra[mentum] communio vel synaxis, dicit: »unaquaeque sacra perfectiva actio partitas nostras vitas in uniformem deificationem colligit et divisarum deiformem complicationem et communionem donat«. Unde si hoc facit quaevis sacra actio, longe facit hoc sacra[mentum]. Unde nomen 'communionis' merito datur huic sacramento. Civitas importat nomen munitorum. Unde Ps.: 'Quis deducet me in civitatem munitam?' Quia ibi stillat fons omnium gratiarum.
◊16◊ Cum ergo paretur hoc pascha humilibus, mundi contemptoribus et mundis, non est mirum si febricitantibus ardore mundialium non sapit, quia est 'grande'. Unde: 'cenaculum grande, stratum; ibi parate'. Unde Augustinus in libro Confessionum VII: »quid autem sacramenti haberet 'verbum caro factum est', nec suspicari <LW5:147> poteram«, dixit de se ipso, nec mecum portabam nisi memoriam plenam mundanis. Post invenit »non esse mirum quod oculis aegris odiosa est lux quae sanis est amabilis et infirmo palato gravis est cibus qui sano est dulcis«. Et sequitur: »inveni me esse longe a te tamquam audirem vocem tuam de excelso: 'cibus sum grandium; cresce et manducabis me'. Non tu mutabis me in te sicut cibum carnis tuae, sed tu mutaberis in me«. Unde inter corporalia haec est differentia et spiritualia, quia corporalia sustinent in se contenta; non sic spiritualia, immo anima contenta in corpore ipsum continet. Et sicut cibus quanto purior, tanto citius et melius trahitur ad intima membrorum, sic quanto homo est purior, per hoc pascha incorporatur Christo. Et dicit post Augustinus ibidem: »audivi, sicut auditur in corde, ita ut prorsus non esset unde dubitarem faciliusque me dubitarem vivere quam hoc audire«. Unde in Ioh.: 'qui manducat carnem meam etc. in me manet'; et: 'qui manet in me, et ego in eo, hic fert fructum multum'. Quem ipse nobis dominus concedat. Amen.
Br. Eckhart, lector of the Sentences.
On the day of the Resurrection.
Our Passover lamb has been sacrificed, Christ. Let us therefore celebrate, so [1]Cor. [5:7-8]. Yet, it was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive, in Luke [15:32]
◊1◊ This pre-subject corresponds, as it seems, directly with the main topic and today’s feast. Namely, as Marcus Tullius [Cicero] whom Augustine praised amongst all rhetoricians, writes both in the old as in the new rhetoric, that amongst others there are four things that are most eagerly listened to, namely those which of the proposed things are directed towards individuals, are incredible because they are astonishing, are new because they are unfamiliar and great because they are supernatural. These four things are touched upon in those words which are placed second and which today the church is dealing with, because they touch upon individuals – this is noted when he, namely Christ, says ‘your brother’; moreover they are incredible, because they are most astonishing, as it is proposed that ‘God’ who is ‘an intelligible’ and an incomprehensible ‘sphere, who’s centre is everywhere and the circumference nowhere’, is consumed in the form of bread – that is why ‘it was fitting to celebrate and be glad’; moreover, they are new, namely that life dies – that is why [it is said he] ‘was dead’; and great – ‘and is alive’ –, because the dead has been restituted to life, namely by his own power, so that he will live in eternity.
◊2◊ On the first [topic]: It is about you! Therefore [we read] in Gen. [37:27]: Our brother, namely, is also flesh and also This now is bone of my bones etc. This is proposed in the form of bread, and it is incredible. Therefore [we read] in Isa. [53:1], and it is been placed into the Letter to the Romans [10:16]: Lord who has believed what he has heard from us? As if he were saying: these are incredible things. It is, however, said: heard from us, because, indeed, faith comes from hearing [Rom. 10:17], or rather because the intellect is emptied out in the sacrament of the altar, while vision, taste and other senses are captivated, and unbound hearing alone escapes and tells us the truth. Therefore one can say that [verse] from Job [1:15]: I have alone escaped to tell you. They are also new, because life dies, namely Christ. Therefore, [we read] in Jn. [14:6]: I am the way, the truth and life. And also: That was made, in him was life. [It is] also great, because it is alive. Namely that the dead has come alive has sometimes been seen, but that he raised himself to live for ever, is absolutely great and unfamiliar. Therefore [we read] in Rev. [1:17-8]: I am the first and the newest [and the living one], I died, and behold I am alive forevermore. And Augustine [writes] in the Second Letter to Volusian: ‘There was no need for God to create a new world, but he made new things in the world. Namely the human being who was procreated out of the virgin, resuscitated from death to eternal life in heaven, is probably a more powerful work than the world’. And is it not astonishing that what is literally said of the prodigal and unfavourable son [see Luke 15:11-32] we refer in our exposition to Christ, when it is written of Christ: And he was numbered with the transgressors [Luke 22:37]? And also in Isa. [53:6]: God has laid on him the iniquity of all of us.
◊3◊ In order, however, for us to explain more consistently with what we first began with, let us first pray. Augustinus, however, teaches in the book of the Soliloquies on the principle of how to pray: ‘God, the founder of the universe, first grant me that I ask you in the right way, then that you make me worthy, the one you listen to, so that finally you hear me’. To pray in a good way, namely, means to ask for a lot.
Our Passover lamb etc.
◊4◊ We see, how much a mother wants to call forth a child to eat and a doctor the patient to take the medicine, and both make their respective commendation, because a good opinion of these things are most useful, and such a first intimation confers often more benefit than the doctor through his instruments. From which one can see, as they [the doctors] relate that a chicken through intimation alone changed itself from the outside look into a coq. As he [Paul] wants to make us eat the Paschal lamb, he first sets in front of us its excellence: Our Paschal lamb etc. According to right order, he secondly exhorts us to a worthy reception of such a sacrament: Let us therefore celebrate, whereby the term therefore is taken as an adverb, i.e. let us celebrate according to the convention of such a sacrament.
◊5◊ First, therefore, he commends this Paschal lamb, because this renewes the body as much as the soul. Therefore [we read] in Jn. [10:9]: He will go in, namely to the renewal of the soul, and go out and find pasture. On the excellence of this it is said in the book of Wisdom [10:20-1] that he has ‘in himself all delights and sweetness of taste’, ‘pleasing each individual likes’. Therefore, Augustine [writes] on the Sentences of Prosper, ch. 3: ‘All perfection is from Christ and in Christ, above which hope has nothing to go for. The end of the believer is Christ, to whom, when the one who with intent is running to him and has reached him has nothing more to which he can come, but he has where he needs to remain’. So far about the first topic.
 ◊6◊ Now about the second: Let us therefore celebrate, namely according to convention. So that we may have the excellency, the commendation and the disposition of the worthy recipent of the sacrament, let us look at present at three topics concerning it, namely for whom this Paschal lamb is been prepared, second where and third who acts.
◊7◊ On the first one has to know that it is prepared for the poor, for those who have a clean conscience and who contempt the world. On the first [we read in] the Ps. [67:11; 21:27]: You prepared in your sweetness for the poor, God, and the other [verse]: The poor ate etc. The Glosse [has]: For the poor, i.e. for those who contempt the world and are humble. In your sweetness, the Gloss [has]: not in this saeculum, as it is bitter. Therefore, Augustine [writes] in a certain Letter to Armentarius and Paulina: ‘There is labor, were many things are wished and loved, which to achieve or retain, there is not enough will, while true life is to be with you, to wish for this, indeed, is justice’. See: where labor is, there is [not] enough will. For this reason the divine is said [Luke 2:14]: On earth peace among those human beings of good will. Where peace is, there you rest; where you rest, there is the end of longing and there is no reason to labor.
◊8◊ It seems, however, that, at present, one can assign to reasons to why God gives grace to the humble, as it is written in the canonical Letter of James [4:6] and elsewhere [1Peter 5:5; see Prov. 3:34]. If, however, God gives grace in parts, so much more in this sacrament, in which the source of grace is hidden. And in other writings it is even more made more probable that the deeper and lower any container is, the more it can contain. Therefore, the more the soul which should hold this sacrament is deeper through humility, the more she can contain of God. Therefore, Augustine [writes]: ‘God is all ye, all hand, all feet’, the first, because he sees everything, the second, because he acts everything, the third, because he is everywhere, but has no location. Hence, if the believing soul wants to contain him, it needs to adapt to him through humility.
◊9◊ And it is prepared for those who contempt the world for two reasons. The first, because according to Augustine any metal through mixture with a less noble metal is obfuscated or reduced in value, such as gold mixed with silver. Therefore, God sems to be injured, if someone receives him who loves the world, because he obscures him, to the extent he is in him [God].
◊10◊ You prepared […] God [Ps. 67:11; 21:27]. Here one can see by whom it is prepared, namely by God. It is not astonishing, because we observe that nature which is totally corrupt, weak and limited, in moderate time brings forth, pulled from the ground, something great and alive. By far it is more likely that out of divine power in short time this sacrament can achieve it, as the more powerful the agent is, the quicker the action is, on which there is more said in other writings. Therefore, he says more clearly: You prepared […] God [Ps. 67:11; 21:27].
◊11◊ Third, it is prepared for those who have a clean conscience. Therefore, it is said by Mose in the book of Num. [9:10-1] that those who are in the world should celebrate Passover in the second month. And in 1Kgs. [21:6.4] when David out of necessity wanted to take the showbreads [he was told]: if the children are clean. And in Matth. [27:59] [it is written] that Joseph took the body of the Lord [and] wrapped it in a clean linen shroud. Hence, it is only prepared for the clean. Therefore, Dionysius alludes to our theme Our Passover lamb has been sacrificed, Christ in ch. 3 of the Church Hierarchy: ‘It is necessary for those who come to the most holy sacrifice to be cleansed from the last phantasies of the soul and to arrive, as much as possible, as a similitude of it. As a sign of this, also Christ washed and cleansed the feet of the disciples [see John 13:5], in order to teach that also the slightest existing taint should be removed.
◊12◊ Where, however, it is been prepared, is shown in Ezechiel [34:14]: whenever, in the highest mountains of Israel, there they will rest, in fat places, amongst green grass their pasture will be etc.
◊13◊ Nowhere better [lacuna], of whom, if we do not see what he said when asked about that preparation: where do you want us that we go to prepare the Passover lamb? Mark [14:12-3] says that he sent two of the disciples etc. Luke says that it was Peter and John etc. to and there prepared. Peter can be interpreted as the one who knows. Hence, knowing oneself and ones weakness is the property of the one who is sent to do the preparation. Therefore [it is said] in [1]Cor. [11:28]: Let a person examen himself etc. Therefore, Augustine [writes] in the beginning of book 4 of On the Trinity: ‘The species of human beings do esteem the knowledge of earthly and heavenly things, in which those are more advanced who prefer to know themselves to this knowledge. Therefore, the soul is more commendable and laudible to whom its own weakness is is known than the one which ignores it and explores the moves of the stars, even if they will know them’. Thus, Adam wanted to grab great knowledge and lost it. And Albert [the Great] often said: ‘This I know, as we know, because we all know very little’. Hence, those are to be reprehended who presume great knowledge and neglect their conscience. Therefore, Augustine in the booklet On Christian Discipline is persuasive by the argument that many prefer the tunic to the soul, and death to life, because the probation derives from the soul. Therefore, he says: ‘You love a good tunic, you wish for it, you love a nice house, and you wish for it’ etc. ‘At last, you even wish and hope for a good death. Hence, if you do not wish for a good life or soul, you do not wish for it [a good death]. The one who lived well, cannot die badly. And again, I confirm and say more audaciously and strongly: He cannot’ etc.
◊14◊ He also sends forth John who can be interpreted as ‘in whom is grace’, because out of cognition of one’s own weakness co-emerges humility and grace. Who, indeed, is arrogant, does not know. Therefore [it is written] in the Proverbs of Ptolemee: ‘Who amongst the wise is more humble, is amongst them the more wise’. Your humiliation will be in your midst, is said in Micha [6:14]. If you know your inside, you humiliate yourself more frequently.
Hence, Peter and John went together. Therefore [it is written] in Jn. [20:4]: Both of them were running etc. Peter, therefore, went out first, but John came first, because grace elevates in that place, where nature cannot reach to. Hence, both Peter and John prepare. Therefore, Augustine says in the book On Grace and Free Will: ‘God brings about in us through cooperation what he initiated through operation’. It was operated in us to begin with, so that we wished for, but there was cooperation with those who wished for in the bringing about, it was operated, so that the human being wished for, it was cooperated, so that one does not wish for in vain’.
◊15◊ Hence, he sends two, saying: Go into the city, because in this perception of the sacrament, there needs to be a collection of the united wishes in God. Therefore city means as much as the one citizenship in which the Paschal lamb is prepared. Thus, Dionysius says at the place, mentioned above, why this sacrament is called a communion or gathering: ‘Each one holy perfecting action brings our divided lifes together into a uniform deification and gives godlike coherence and communion to what is divided’. Hence, if this is the result of any holy action, so much more is done by this sacrament. For right, therefore is the name of ‘communion’ given to this sacrament. Citiy also implies the idea of ‘fortifications’. Supported by Ps. [59:11]: Who leads me into the fortified city. Because, there, the fountain of all grace flows.
◊16◊ As, then, this Paschal lamb is prepared to the humble, those who contempt the world and those who are clean, it is not astonishing, if it is not esteemed by those who ardently fever for worldly things, because it is great. Therefore [it is written in Mark  14:15]: A great furnished upper room; there prepared. Hence, Augustine in book 7 of the Confessions says of himself: ‘I could, however, not suspect what sacrament the [verse] would carry “the word was made flesh”, and so I could not take it with me, except in an entirely worldly memory’. Later, he found it ‘not astonishing that light is hated by weak eyes, which is likeable for the healthy ones, and food which for the the poorly is heavy, is sweet for the healthy’. And it follows: ‘I found myself far away from you, as if I heard your voice from above: “I am food of the great ones; grow and you will eat me.” You will not transform me into you, like food into your flesh, but you will be transformed into me’. Hence, there is this difference between corporeal and spiritual things, because corporeal ones have the content in them; this is not so with the spiritual ones, on the contrary, the soul that is contained in the body, itself contains him. And just as the purer food is, the quicker and better it is taken into the body parts so also the purer a human being is, it will be incorporated into Christ through this Paschal lamb. And Augustine says at the same place a bit later: ‘I hear, as it is heard in the heart, so that there was therefore not the slightest doubt, and it would have been easier for me to doubt that I am alive than to hear this’. Hence, [it is written] in Jn. [6:57]: Whoever eats my flesh etc. will remain in me, and [John 15:5] who will remain in me, and I in him, this one will bear much fruit. That the Lord himself may concede this to us. Amen.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Meister Eckhart, Parisian Sermo die b. Augustini Parisius habitus, English translation

This sermon was available on the Internet in an English translation (see footnote below), although, the link seems to have disappeared (I give the old link which, strangely enough, is still working), and I have translated the text anew in the light of other work I have done on Eckhart:

'Vas auri solidum ornatum omni lapide pretioso', Eccli. 50
A vessel of pure gold, adorned with whatever most precious stone, Jes. Sir. 50[:10][1]
◊1◊ Ad commendationem beati Augustini potest proprie introduci haec auctoritas, et inter cetera commendatur sub vasis metaphora in tribus quae in vase continentur: primo in pretiositate materiae, quia per aurum intelligitur sapientia, ibi: 'vas auri', secundo in dispositione formae, ibi: 'ornatum omni lapide pretioso', tertio in ponderis quantitate, ibi: 'solidum'.
◊2◊ Primo ergo commendatur a pretiositate materiae, id est multitudine sapientiae et scientiae sub diversis habitibus collectae. Ipse enim erat bonus theoricus, egregius logicus et excellentissimus ethicus. Sic enim dividunt nobis magistri scientiam philosophiae, scilicet in theoricam, logicam et ethicam sive practicam. Et hoc secundum illa tria, quae ita vicissim occupant homines, ut nunquam aliquo tempore ab aliquo istorum trium feriari videantur; et ea sunt cogitatio, locutio et operatio. Theoricam sive speculativam ulterius partiuntur <LW5:90> in mathematicam, physicam et ethicam sive theologiam. »In naturalibus autem rationabiliter, in mathematica disciplinabiliter, et in divinis intellectuabiliter versari oportebit neque deduci ad imagines, sed potius respicere formam, quae vere forma est nec imago est et quae esse est et ex qua esse est«, quia secundum Boethium libro De trinitate »omne esse ex forma est«. Mathematicus autem formas et figuras materiae actu inhaerentes disciplinabili consideratione sequestrat. Physicus, id est naturalis, causas qualitatum, motuum et quantitatum inquirit. Ethicus sive theologus ideas rerum, quae in mente divina, antequam prodirent in corpora, ab aeterno quo modo ibi intelligibiliter exstiterunt, subtilius intuetur.
◊3◊ Et de divinis aliquando ratiocinatur auctoritatibus maiorum, aliquando exemplis extra quaesitis, aliquando vero ipsam divinam usiam sine subiecta materia contemplatur. Auctoritatibus usus fuit beatus Augu-stinus, quando trinitatem personarum cum unitate essentiae primo nobis volens insinuare introduxit illud in Genesi: 'faciamus hominem ad <LW5:91> imaginem et similitudinem nostram', et per verbum pluralis numeri trinitatem intelligens et per nomina singularis numeri declarans substantiae unitatem. Exemplo etiam usus est Plato in Timaeo, qui dum de principe summo rerum loqui esset animatus, dicit: ita +im++possibile est aliquid de deo profari, sicut difficile est ipsum reperiri. Et ideo idem confugit ad rerum similitudines et exempla et inter omnes res creatas solem ei quam simillimum repperit; unde et solem nominavit. Et Iohannes evangelista, dum de verbo increato loqui auderet, lucem ipsum appellavit, quia lux est prima et universalis species formarum corporalium et principium vitae in corporalibus. Et sic verbum dei patris est omnium »exsistentium substantia« et omnium »viventium vita« <LW5:92> et »omnis substantiae et vitae principium est et causa«, secundum Dionysium De divinis nominibus.
◊4◊ Et sic contingit theologum duplici ditari cognitione in via: una est 'per speculum et in aenigmate', alia est per speculum et in lumine. Prima fit tripliciter, scilicet ablatione, eminentia et causa. Ablatione in hunc modum procedendo: nullum corpus est deus; nullum intelligibile creatum est deus. Et cum demonstratio de re cognoscibili fiat ad sensum vel ad intellectum, de deo autem cognoscendo non potest fieri demonstratio ad sensum, quia est incorporeus, nec ad intellectum, quia forma nobis cognita caret, sed per solam alterius formae remotionem: quasi ab aliis eligendo separatur et separando eligitur. Quod innuit Boethius in libro De duabus naturis dicens: »deus et materia integro perfectoque intellectu capi non possunt, sed aliquo modo privatione ceterarum rerum capiuntur«. Unde Dionysius dicit quod affirmationes de deo factae vel dictae incompactae sunt, negationes vero verae. <LW5:93> Eminentia cognoscitur, quando in unoquoque, quod nobilius est et eminentius, deo attribuitur. Secundum quod dicit Augustinus X Confessionum: qui facit pulchra, pulchrior est, qui fortia, fortior et qui bona, melior est. Disce ergo homo ex creaturis cognoscere creatorem, et ne inhaereas ei quod factum est et perdas eum per quem factum est. Causa vero cognoscitur, quando omnia mobilia ad unum immobile, omnia variabilia ad unum invariabile, omnia corporabilia ad unum simplex et omnium multitudinem ad primam resolvimus unitatem, quae quidem »principium et causa est omnium« eorum quae sunt. Unum enim est in generatione omnium ante multa, et simplex est ante compositum prioritate naturali, secundum philosophum in De caelo et mundo.
◊5◊ Secundo cognoscitur in via per speculum et in lumine, quando scilicet lux divina per effectum suum aliquem specialem irradiat super potentias cognoscentes <LW5:94> et super medium in cognitione, elevans intellectum ipsum ad id quod naturaliter non potest. »Mentis enim humanae acies invalida in tam excellenti lumine non figitur, nisi per iustitiam fidei prius purius emundetur«, secundum Augustinum libro De trinitate; et in VII Confessionum dicit: »aeterna veritas et vera caritas et cara aeternitas, tu es deus meus, tibi suspiro 'die ac nocte'; cum te primo cognovi, tu assumpsisti me«. Ecce qualiter dicit quod assumptus fuerit, ut videret esse quod viderat, »et nudum me esse qui videram; et reverberasti infirmitatem meam radians in me vehementer, et contremui amore et horrore et inveni me longe esse a te in regione dissimilitudinis«.
 ◊6◊ Et haec cognitio operatur ad tria: primo ad occulta vel futura pronuntiandum, secundo ad meritorie operandum, tertio ad divinam dulcedinem praegustandum. Primus modus est prophetalis; secundus in habitibus gratuitis usque ad fructus; tertius in exstasi mentis, et haec in fructibus. Secundus et tertius perfecte erant in eo, quia de tertio dicitur secundum quod est in intellectu <LW5:95> practico. Haec cognitio scientia vel sapientia, quasi sapida scientia, quae aliquando intromittit hominem in affectum multum. Ecce quomodo 'vas' illud 'auri' commendatur a pretiositate materiae, id est utilitatis scientiae. Et secundum hoc talis et tanta scientia non fuit in materia vitii, sed virtutis. Unde dicitur X Confessionum: »da mihi te, deus meus, redde te mihi«; non enim amo 'primos recubitos in cenis' nec 'salutari in foro', nec 'vocari ab hominibus rabbi'; sed te »amo et, si parum est, amem validius. Et nec possum metiri, quantum mihi desit amoris ad id, quod satis est, donec currat vita mea in amplexus tuos et abscondatur in absconsione vultus tui. Hoc tamen scio, quia mihi male praeter te, non solum extra me, sed etiam in me ipso, et omnis copia, quae deus non est, egestas mihi est«.
 ◊7◊ Secundo commendatur beatus Augustinus a dispositione formae in eo quod dicitur 'ornatus omni lapide pretioso'. Dispositio autem formae in ipso est exhibitio virtutis in operatione. Et bene dicitur virtus gratuita forma, quia rem esse est a forma, secundum Boethium De trinitate. Et bene dicitur <LW5:96> esse a virtute, quia sicut improprie dicuntur mortui homines, ita malus improprie dicitur esse. Esse enim est »quod ordinem retinet servatque naturam«, secundum Boethium in III Consolationum. Et virtus est ordo, secundum Augustinum, ordo inquam amoris, quia qui virtutem habet, ordinem tenet servatque naturam. »Nihil enim est quod servans naturam deo contrarie conetur«, secundum Boethium in eodem.
◊8◊ Sapientia igitur beati Augustini fuit sibi pro materia virtutis, virtutis inquam monasticae, politicae et theologicae. Monastica virtus ordinat et perficit hominem in se ipso, quia opus eius est carnis suppeditatio. Actus virtutis monasticae est +hic; fructus eius est++ spiritualis laetitia ex luculenta bonorum operum exercitatione, virtutis politicae cum civium amicitia et ex integra spiritus conservatione actus virtutis theologicae obtinetur spiritualis effectus a dei gratia. Fructus eius iste est. Unde ad Gal. 5: 'fructus autem spiritus caritas, gaudium'. De quo gaudio Eccli. 30: 'non est sensus supra sensum salutis, et non est oblectamentum supra cordis gaudium'. De quo gaudio Augustinus X Confessionum dicit: »est gaudium, quod non datur <LW5:97> impiis, sed eis qui te gratis colunt«, domine, »quorum gaudium tu ipse es. Et ipsa est beata vita: gaudere ad te, in te, propter te, ipsa est vita et non est altera«.
 ◊9◊ Virtus politica est luculenta bonorum operum exercitatio et perficit hominem et ordinat in civium collegio. Actus virtutis politicae est haec, quae exhibet opera amicis in deo et inimicis propter deum in tantum, ut 'si esurierit inimicus, cibat illum; si sitit, potum dat ei'. Fructus autem qui ex hoc sequitur, est non tantum civium, sed etiam inimicorum vindicata amicitia. Unde ad Rom. 12: 'hoc enim faciens carbones ignis congeres super caput eius', et ad Rom. 12: 'caput eius' est mens animae, super quam carbones congeruntur, dum per praeventionem beneficiorum ad reddendum compelluntur.
◊10◊ Theologica virtus perficit hominem cum deo, quia est integra spiritus conservatio ex carnis subiectione. Actus virtutis theologicae, id est fidei, dilectionis, est hic. Fructus eius est spiritualis effectus gratiae ad perfectionem iustitiae.
◊11◊ Sed quia non contingit nos de deo aliquid scire nisi per effectus, ideo distinguamus septem modos gratiae adventus in 'vas' taliter 'ornatum'. Venit enim <LW5:98> primo per modum nivis refrigerantis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet ab aestu carnalium desideriorum refrigeratio. Secundo venit per modum roris impinguantis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet aeternorum desideriorum impinguatio. Tertio venit per modum vini inebriantis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet omnimoda rerum mutabilium oblivio. Quarto venit per modum olei subiectum penetrantis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet illuminatio dei et inflammatio. Quinto venit per modum ignis depurantis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet perfecta purgatio. Sexto venit per modum lucis se cum subiecto unientis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet 'in eandem imaginem' cum deo transformatio. Septimo venit per modum spiritus vehementer impellentis, et sic relinquitur eius effectus in anima, scilicet naturalis vitae defectio. Ecce per istum modum beatus Augustinus fuit ditatus, ideo dicitur sic 'vas electionis' a dispositione formae.
◊12◊ Tertio commendatur beatus Augustinus a ponderis quantitate in eo quod dicitur 'solidum'. Quantitas autem in pondere est vehementia in amore. De quo idem: »Quantum te amabo, bone Iesu? Tuus amor sicut fons, meus sicut <LW5:99> sitis. Ex toto enim tu amasti me. Scio enim, quid faciam. Ponam totum meum contra totum tuum, quia plus non possum. Potero autem, cum donare volueris. Unum scio, quia non quiescam, donec totus amor fiam.« Quod nobis praestare dignetur, qui vivit deus. Amen. Iste sermo sic est reportatus ab ore magistri Echardi de Hochheim, die beati Augustini, Parisius.
◊1◊ One can appropriately introduce this verse for the commemoration of Saint Augustine, wherein, amongst others, he is commended in three ways which are implied in the metaphor of a vessel: first, in the preciousness of the material, for by ‘gold’ we have to understand ‘wisdom’, when [it is said], a vessel of gold, second, in its characteristics, when [it is said], adorned with whatever most precious stone, third, in the magnitude of its weight, when [it is said], pure.
◊2◊ First, therefore, he is commended by the preciousness of the material, for the breath of wisdom and knowledge gathered under his many talents. For he was a good theorist, an exceptional locutor, and a most excellent ethicist. For in such a way do the Masters divide for us the science of philosophy, namely into theory, logic, and ethics or practical [philosophy]. And according to these three, which so in turn occupy men, that they were never seen to rest for any time from any of these three: thinking, talking, and doing. Theory or speculation is further divided into mathematics, physics, and ethics or theology. ‘On natural things, however, one has to ponder rationally, on mathematicals systematically, and on divine things intellectually; and neither to be drawn to images, but rather to refer to form, which truly is form, not image, and which is being and from which being is’, as [one reads] in Boethius' book On the Trinity, ‘all being is from form’. The mathematician, however, separates the forms and shapes which are indeed inherent of matter, by way of disciplined consideration, the scientist of physics, i.e. of nature, makes inquiries into the causes of quality, motion, and quantity, the moral philosopher or theologian more subtly looks closely into the ideas of things which are in the divine mind, before they come forth into bodies, according to which mode they exist there from eternity in an intelligible manner.
◊3◊ And of the divine things, sometimes it is argued according to the highest authorities, at other times, by means of examples searched for outside [these], but at other times the divine substance itself without subjected matter is contemplated. Saint Augustine made use of authorities when he first wants to lead us to the trinity of persons with their unity of essence and introduces it from Genesis: Let us make man according to our image and likeness [Gen. 1:26], and through the plural form of the verb understanding the trinity and by means of the singular of the noun declaring the unity of substance. The example is also used by Plato in the Timaeus, when speaking about the highest principle of all things, he says, ‘it is thus impossible to say anything about God, just as it is difficult to find him, and so one flees to the similitude of things, examples and amongst all created things only to that one which one finds most similar [to God]’. And John the Evangelist, when he dares to speak of the uncreated word, calls it light [John 1:4], because light is the first and universal species of corporeal forms, as well as the principle of life in bodies. And thus the word of God, the Father, is ‘the substance of’ all ‘that exists’, and ‘principle and cause of all substance and life’, according to Dionysus' On the Divine Names.
◊4◊ And thus on [his] way the theologian reaches a twofold knowledge; one is through a mirror and in darkness [1Cor. 12:13], the other is through a mirror and in light. The first happens in three ways, namely by taking away, by eminence and by causality. Taking away proceeds in the following manner: no body is God, nothing intelligibly created is God. And as a recognicable thing is being shown by way of sense or intellect, God, indeed, cannot be recognised by way of sense or intellect, because he is incorporeal and has not a known form like us, but [he can only be recognised] solely through the removal of the other form, which as if by selecting it was separated and by separating it was selected, which Boethius introduces in his book On the Two Natures: ‘God and matter cannot be grasped wholly and perfectly by the intellect, but they may be grasped by another way of privation of other things’. Therefore, Dionysius says that our affirmations about God are incompletely made or said, whereas negations are true. By eminence, he [God] becomes known, when in a single way something that is more noble and more eminent is attributed to God, according to which Augustine says in Confessions X: ‘Who makes things beautiful, is more beautiful; things strong, is stronger, and who made things good, is better. Learn therefore, human being to know the creator from the creatures, do not cling to things which have been made, loosing the one through whom it has been made’. By cause, he [God] becomes known when we resolve all that is moveable to the one immovable; all that is varied to the one invariable, all that is corporeal to the simple one, and all multiplicity to the first one, who, indeed, is ‘the principle and cause of all’ those which are. The one, indeed, in the generating of all prior to the multiple things, and he is simple by natural priority before anything composed according to the Philosopher [Aristotle] in On Heaven and Earth.
◊5◊ Secondly, how [God] becomes known on the way through a mirror and in light, when, for example, the divine light, through its own effect, shines on something special beyond the powers to know and beyond the mean of cognition, elevating the intellect itself to that what it can naturally not achieve. ‘Truly the feeble sight of the human mind is not remedied in so excellent a light, unless it is first cleansed more purely through the justice of faith’, according to Augustine in the book On the Trinity. And in book VII [10:16] of the Confessions he says: ‘Eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity, you are my God, to you I sigh both day and night [Ps. 1:2]. When I first knew you, you raised me up [see Ps. 26:10]’. See, in which way he says that he was raised up, so that he saw the being that he say, ‘yet I was naked, when I saw, but you cast aside the infirmity of my sight, shining heavily into me, and I trembled with love and fear; and I found myself to be far off from you, in a land of dissimilitude’.
◊6◊ And this cognition operates towards three things: First, towards the annunciation of hidden or future things; second, towards things that have to be done for benefit, third towards the foretasting of divine sweetness. The first is the prophetic way; the second happens in graced habits until they carry fruits; the third takes place in the ecstasy of the mind, and this means in the fruits. The second and third were perfectly present in him [Augustine], because it is spoken about the third one according to that which exists in the practical intellect. This cognition by science or wisdom, like tasting wisdom, sometimes comes into a person in a heavy affect. See how that vessel of gold is commended by the preciousness of its material, i.e. its usefulness for knowledge. And according to this such kind and breath of science did not happen in the material of vice, but of virtue. Therefore, it is said in book XIII of the Confessions: ‘Give yourself to me, my God, give yourself back to me’, for I do not love the places of honour at table [Matth. 23:6] nor salutation in the square [Matth. 6:2], nor to be called ‘Rabbi’ by human beings [Matth. 23:7], but ‘I love you, and if that is not enough, make me able to love you more. How much is my love still lacking? I can never know, so give to my life your bounty and shelter me in the shadow of your presence. Only this I know, my life is worthless to me, not only the things outside myself, but things within myself, and [this] is my poverty, all the treasures I have which are not God.’
◊7◊ Second, Saint Augustine is commended for the characteristics of this which is said to be adorned with whatever most precious stone. The characteristics in itself is an exhibition of virtue in action, and virtue is well-called free form, because something is through form, according to Boethius in On the Trinity. And it is well said to be through virtue, because just as men are improperly said to be dead, so the evil person is improperly said to be. Being, namely, is ‘what retains order and preserves nature’ according to Boethius in book III of the Consolation. And virtue is order according to Augustine, indeed the order of love, for the one who has virtue keeps order and,  preserves nature. ‘Nothing that [truly] serves nature can be contrary to God’, according to Boethius in the same place.
◊8◊ Wisdom, therefore, of Saint Augustine was for him the matter of virtue, namely monastic, political, and theological virtue. Monastic virtue directs and perfects human being in itself because its work is the submission of the flesh. The act of monastic virtue is <this: its fruit is> spiritual delight from the splendid exercise of good works; of political virtue, it is the obtaining the friendship with fellow-citizens; and from the entire preservation of the spirit the act of theological virtue is obtained as spiritual effect from the grace of God. Its fruit is that one, from where [one reads] at Gal. 5[:22]: The fruit of the spirit are love, joy. Of that joy Jes. Sir. 30[:16 writes]: There is no greater riches than bodily health, and there is no delight greater than a joyous heart. On that joy Augustine says in book X of the Confessions: ‘There is a joy not granted to the impious, but only to those who abide by grace in you’, Lord, ‘and you, yourself, are this joy. The blessed life is this, to rejoice unto you, in you, and with you. This is life and no other’.
◊9◊ Political virtue is the splendid exercise of good works, and it perfects human being and directs one in the community of citizens. These are the works of political virtue: it exhibits its deeds for friends in God and for enemies, insofar as God is in them, as [it is said]: If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat; if thirsty, give him something to drink [Rom. 12:20]. The fruit which follows from this is not just love of the citizen, but even the vindicating love of our enemies. Therefore, [one reads at] Rom. 12[:20]: In doing this you will heap red hot coals upon your head. And ad Rom. 12[:20]: Your head is the mind of the soul, upon which coals are heaped when through the anticipation of kindness they are compelled to give back.
◊10◊ Theological virtue perfects a human being in relation to God, because it is a entire preservation of the spirit from the subjection of the flesh. The fruit of it is the effect of spiritual grace for the perfection of justice.
◊11◊ But because we are not able to know God other than through His effects, we must therefore distinguish seven manners of grace having come into the vessel so adorned. It comes first in the manner of a cooling snow, and so it leaves its effect on the soul, namely cooling the heat of fleshly desires. Second, it comes through the manner of dense dew, and so it leaves its effect on the soul, namely the intensifying of desires for eternal things. Third, it comes through the manner of an inebriating wine, and so it leaves its effect on the soul, namely in the forgetfulness of all mutable things. Fourth, it comes through the manner of ointment that penetrates to what it is applied, and so it leaves its effect in the soul, namely the illumination of and the burning for God. Fifth, it comes through the manner of a purging fire, and so it leaves its effect in the soul, namely that perfect purification. Sixth, it comes through the manner of light, uniting itself with what is subjected to it, and so it leaves its effect in the soul, namely one's transformation into the image of God (Gen. 1:26). Seventh, it comes through the manner of the spirit blowing vehemently, and so it leaves its effect in the soul, namely giving up one's natural life. Behold, in this way Saint Augustine was enriched, and so he is called a chosen vessel for his character.
◊12◊ Third, Saint Augustine is praised for the magnitude of that which he pondered, [for it] is called “solid.” Magnitude in weight is intensity in relation to love, about which he himself has said: “As much as I love you, Good Jesus, your love is like a spring, whereas I am parched. You have loved me without limits. Indeed, I know my deeds. I lay my whole being before you, because nothing more is possible. I will drink, if you but command. I know only this, I shall not be satisfied until I am made completely [yours] in love” which he deigns to offer us, God who lives. Amen.
This sermon has been recounted from the mouth of Meister Eckhart of Hochheim, on the Feast of Saint Augustine, at Paris.


[1] This translation takes note of (although often deviating from) the translation provided by M. Demkovich, OP; P. Hyde, and J.D. Rooney, and edited by M. Demkovich, OP, available at