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346 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY ness and intellectual acumen. It is difficult to see how another edition could offer us more information about the manuscripts or a more readable text and critical apparatus, and we can be confident that no edition will improve significantly on this one in the absence of new manuscript evidence. The labors of the editors have clearly been immense. They have resulted in a definitive edition of the Sic et Non in the final form--as far as we can tell--given to it by Abailard. They have also produced a document that portrays the development--probably over two decades or more--~f an important work and of a thinker who was among the more controversial of the Middle Ages. JOHN F. CALLAHAN Dumbarton Oaks, Harvard University C. F. Kelley. Meister Eckhart on Divine Knowledge. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1977. Pp. xv + 285. $18.50. Kelley's book is the most comprehensive introduction to the thought of Meister Eckhart presently in English. By contrast to recent studies of Eckhart by R. Schiirmann and J. Caputo mspired by Heidegger, Kelley's study places the Meister's thought over against contemporary notions of either mysticism or philosophy. Kelley resists that we are to understand Eckhart's ideas on their own terms and within the framework Eckhart himself employed. The outcome is both original and admirable, for Kelley has total mastery of Eckhart's Latin and German writings and has gracefully integrated his own translations of many crucial passages into his exposition. His book would help make Eckhart available to any interested and thoughtful beginner, yet its powerful thesis must be reckoned with by every scholar and specialist. Kelley repeats again and again that we must assume the standpoint from which Eckhart was teaching and preaching to do justice to his doctrine. This standpoint is none other than that of the mind of God, the intellection identical with the transcendent Godhead in itself, beyond all manifestation and distinction, all qualifications and determinate conditions. Whatever the occasion or particular starting point, Eckhart's bold project is to provide an insight into God as "divine knowledge ." We are to understand the Meister as speaking "princlpially"--from the standpoint of divine knowing. Kelley designs the introduction and first section of the book to help contemporary readers prepare for the main teaching of Eckhart explained in the longer second part. First Eckhart is situated in the medieval Christian tradition and linked very closely to Thomas Aquinas. Kelley stresses throughout that Eckhart may well be read as extending some of Aquinas's obiter dicta about the divine reality in itself--for instance, the comment in the Summa Theologiae that "whatever is in God is [identically] God." (Kelley also draws on a latter-day Thomist, Bernard Lonergan, to find some contemporary language about intellectual knowledge.) In this first part Kelley is anxious to distinguish Eckhart's authentic teaching from earher interpretations and misconceptions and to retrieve his ideas from the usual ways of labeling Eckhart, whether as mystic or philosopher or theologian. To emphasize the conception of God as unrestricted knowing and knowability, Kelley points out how Eckhart moves from our experience of the unrestricted desire to know to God's reality as total knowability. The human person and every other creature "ceaselessly strive toward assimilation to and ultimately identity in knowledge with the Divine Self" (p. 75). Instead of thinking from ourselves and our experience toward God, Eckhart wants us (with God's grace) to think from our identity with God toward all else that manifests the divine. It may be that Kelley is too eager to dismiss earlier interpretations as well as misconceptions of Eckhart's ideas. He is particularly critical, even caustic, regarding the obstacles he believes contemporary intellectual viewpoints and habits of thought pose to getting Eckhart straight. Since his remarks hardly make a full argument, they remain unconvincing and mar an otherwise splendid BOOK REVIEWS 347 book. One may hope that Eckhart would find contemporary readers and thinkers more sensitive than Kelley does. "The doctrine" is presented in the six chapters which comprise Part 2. In fact each chapter amounts to a meditative and illuminating variation on the single...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 346-347
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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