No Comment, Quotation — December 25, 2010, 8:46 am

The Legend of Meister Eckhart’s Daughter

14m_read

A daughter came to the Dominican cloister and asked for Meister Eckhart. The gatekeeper said, “Who should I say is asking after him?” She said, “I don’t know.” He said, “Why don’t you know?” She said, “Because I am neither a maiden, nor a woman, nor a man, nor a lady, nor a widow, nor a virgin, nor a lord, nor a servant girl, nor a servant.” The gatekeeper went to Meister Eckhart and said, “Come out and behold the most amazing creature whom I have ever heard; let me accompany you. Stick your head out and say: ‘Who calls for me?’” He did so, and she spoke to him just as she had spoken to the gatekeeper. He said, “Dear child, your words are truthful and striking. But explain to me just what you mean by them?” She said, “If I were a maiden, then I would still be in the state of original innocence; if I were a woman, then I would bear the eternal Word in my soul without cessation; if I were a man, then I would avail myself of all my physical strength to withstand all sin; if I were a lady, then I would remain true to my dear, beloved husband; if I were a widow, then I would be filed with longing for my sole beloved; if I were a virgin, then I would stand in reverent devotion; if I were a lord, then I would possess power over all godly virtues; if I were a servant girl, then I would keep an attitude of humility before God and all creatures; if I were a servant, then I would work hard and serve my lord with all my will and without any backtalk. But I am none of these things; I am a different kind of thing, and so I come to you.” The master went away and said to his brothers, “I have heard the purest human being I have ever encountered, or so it seems to me.”

The Legend of Meister Eckhart’s Daughter (Von einer guten swester ein gutz gesprech daz sie tet zu meister Eckhart, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Codex Monacensis Cgm750.12-80v-81v, ca. 1350)(S.H. transl.)

Listen to the chorale In dulci jubilo in an arrangement by Michael Praetorius, from Polyhymnia Caduceatrix et Panegyrica (1619). The song text was composed by Meister Eckhart’s disciple, Heinrich Seuse (also known in English as Henry Suso), around 1330:

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

From the June 2014 issue

The Guantánamo “Suicides,” Revisited

A missing document suggests a possible CIA cover-up

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

January 2015

Come With Us If You Want to Live

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Body Politic

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Problem of Pain Management

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Game On

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Love Crimes

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
The Body Politic·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“‘He wrote all these love poems, but he was a son of a bitch,’ said a reporter from a wire service.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Article
Love Crimes·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If a man rapes a woman, she might be forced to marry him, because in Afghanistan sex before marriage is dishonorable.”
Photographs © Andrew Quilty/Oculi/Agence VU
Article
Game On·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union had posed a truly existential threat.”
Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Come With Us If You Want to Live·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I was startled that all these negative ideologies could be condensed so easily into a positive worldview.”
Illustration by Darrel Rees
Article
Christmas in Prison·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Just so you motherfuckers know, I’ll be spending Christmas with my family, eating a good meal, and you’ll all be here, right where you belong.”
Photographer unknown. Artwork courtesy Alyse Emdur

Acres of hemp grown by “patriotic‚” U.S. farmers in 1942 at the behest of the U.S. government:

36,000

A study suggested that the health effects of exposure to nuclear radiation at Chernobyl were no worse than ill health resulting from smoking and normal urban air pollution.

Greenpeace apologized after activists accidentally defaced the site of Peru’s 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines when they unfurled cloth letters reading “time for change” near the ancient sand drawings. “We fully understand,” the group wrote in a statement, “that this looks bad.”

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

In Praise of Idleness

By

I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.

Subscribe Today