chapter  14
10 Pages

‘Famosus est et satis publicum’: Factionalism and the Limits of Doctrine in the Case Against Meister Eckhart

The trial of Meister Eckhart (c.1260-c.1328) is one of the most striking chapters in the history of the inquisition in Germany. This has led scholars to attempt to throw more light on the subject, particularly Jürgen Miethke, who in 1997 expressed a wish to ‘dedramatize’ (‘entdramatisieren’) our understanding of the events. The accused’s colourful personality and the circumstances of the trial have not encouraged scholars to adopt an ‘objective’ approach.2 However, in this chapter I will show how the political situation in Germany from 1325 to 1326 had a decisive influence in the accusations against Eckhart and that, in particular, the accusations were mainly to do with the role played by Eckhart within the Dominican order and that theological issues, where they existed, were instrumentalized to political ends.