Monday, September 23, 2013

John Tauler (1300 - 1351)

John Tauler considered one of the primary German mystics along with Meister Ekhart and Henry Suso was born about the year 1300 in Strasbourg, entered the Dominican order (probably at the age of about fifteen) and was educated at the Dominican convent in that city.  Ekhart, who greatly influenced Tauler, was active in Strasbourg c1313-26, though it is unclear what relationship they may have had.

 Around 1330 Tauler began his preaching career in Strasbourg. The city contained eight convents of Dominican nuns and perhaps seventy smaller beguine communities. It seems likely that (as with Meister Ekhart, and Henry Suso), much of his preaching was directed to holy women. Most of Tauler's nearly eighty sermons seem to reflect a convent situation, although this may partly reflect the setting in which such sermons were most likely to be written down and preserved.

 Tauler worked with the Friends of God, and it was with them that he taught his belief that the state of the soul was affected more by a personal relationship with God than by external practices.

 Tauler traveled  extensively in the last two and a half decades of his life. He made several trips to Cologne. A number of his sermons were clearly delivered there, as indicated by their survival in the Cologne dialect of Middle High German.

Tauler left no formal treatises, either in Latin or the vernacular. Rather, he leaves around eighty sermons. His sermons began to be collected in his own lifetime - three fourteenth-century manuscripts date from around the time of Tauler's return to Strasbourg after his exile in Base. His sermons,  were considered among the noblest in the German language -- not as emotional as Suso's nor as speculative as Eckhart's, but rather intensely practical, touching on all sides the deeper problems of the moral and spiritual life.

 He was one of several notable Christian universalists in the Middle Ages, along with Amalric of Bena  John of Rusybrook, and Juilan of Norwich. He taught that "All beings exist through the same birth as the Son, and therefore shall they all come again to their original, that is, God the Father."

According to tradition, Tauler died on 16 June 1361 in Strasbourg. He was buried in the Dominican church in Strasbourg with an incised gravestone that still survives

compiled from several sources

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