Meister Eckhart and Jan Van Ruusbroec: A Comparison

Meister Eckhart and Jan Van Ruusbroec: A Comparison

van Nieuwenhove, Rik (Trinity College, Dublin)

Medieval Philosophy and Theology 7 (1998)


Jan Van Ruusbroec (1293–1381), the most important spiritual writer of the Low Countries, is often associated (with or without some qualifications) with the tradition of the Rhineland Mystics, of which Meister Eckhart (c. 1260–1327) is the most prominent exponent. To date however, an in-depth study of the influence of Meister Eckhart’s main doctrinal positions on Ruusbroec’s thought has not been published.2 In this paper I want to compare their central ideas concerning the relation between God and his creation (in particular man). More specifically, I hope to make clear that the vocabulary they occasionally share (Birth of the Son in the soul, the spark of the soul, the ground of the soul, the soul as Image, and so on) actually veils two very different theologies.

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