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The Self-Emptying SubjectKenosis and Immanence, Medieval to Modern$
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Alex Dubilet

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823279463

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823279463.001.0001

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Meister Eckhart’s Kenotic Lexicon and the Critique of Finitude

Meister Eckhart’s Kenotic Lexicon and the Critique of Finitude

(p.23) Chapter 1 Meister Eckhart’s Kenotic Lexicon and the Critique of Finitude
The Self-Emptying Subject

Alex Dubilet

Fordham University Press

This chapter argues for the centrality of the lexicon of self-emptying to Meister Eckhart’s sermons. Unlike more traditional Christian theologians like Augustine of Hippo or Bernard of Clairvaux, Eckhart elaborates self-emptying not as a moment that opens up the soul for an experience of a transcendent God or a beatific vision of the celestial after-life, but as a movement that collapses the very conceptual schema of external relations between creature and creator. In challenging the perspective of creature finitude, Eckhart radically mutates the tradition of negative theology, divorcing it from its imbrication with hierarchy and transcendence. Eckhart’s kenotic vocabulary acts as the theoretical pivot that frees his listeners from the subjugating effects of interpellative transcendence in order to reveal a dispossessed and ungrounded life “without a why.”

Keywords:   dispossession, Meister Eckhart, negative theology, poverty, self-emptying

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