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Tue, Oct 08


Four bi-monthly sessions online via Zoom.

Dangerous Mystic

Meister Eckhart's Life and Path

Dangerous Mystic
Dangerous Mystic

Time & Location

Oct 08, 2024, 7:30 PM

Four bi-monthly sessions online via Zoom.

About the event

On the second and fourth Tuesdays each month beginning October 8 at 7:30 pm, we will explore the life, the spirituality, and the legacy of the "Master of Mystics", Meister Eckhart (1260-1327). Despite being declared a heretic by the papacy, Eckhart is well known as the foremost mystical philosopher and theologian in the West.

We will read about and discuss the book, Dangerous Mystic: Meister Eckhart's Path to the God Within, by Joel F. Harrington. 

  1. Oct 8: Letting Go of the World
  2. Oct 22: Letting Go of God
  3. Nov 12: Letting Go of the Self
  4. Nov 26: Holding On to Religion

About the Book

"Life and times of the 14th century German spiritual leader Meister Eckhart, whose theory of a personal path to the divine inspired thinkers from Jean Paul Sartre to Thomas Merton, and most recently, Eckhart Tolle

"Meister Eckhart was a medieval Christian mystic whose wisdom powerfully appeals to seekers seven centuries after his death. In the modern era, Eckhart's writings have struck a chord with thinkers as diverse as Heidegger, Merton, Sartre, John Paul II, and the current Dalai Lama. He is the inspiration for the bestselling New Age author Eckhart Tolle's pen name, and his fourteenth-century quotes have become an online sensation. Today a variety of Christians, as well as many Zen Buddhists, Sufi Muslims, Jewish Cabbalists, and various spiritual seekers, all claim Eckhart as their own. Meister Eckhart preached a personal, internal path to God at a time when the Church could not have been more hierarchical and ritualistic. Then and now, Eckhart’s revolutionary method of direct access to ultimate reality offers a profoundly subjective approach that is at once intuitive and pragmatic, philosophical yet non-rational, and, above all, universally accessible. This “dangerous mystic’s” teachings challenge the very nature of religion, yet the man himself never directly challenged the Church.


"Eckhart was one of the most learned theologians of his day, but he was also a man of the world who had worked as an administrator for his religious order and taught for years at the University of Paris. His personal path from conventional friar to professor to lay preacher culminated in a spiritual philosophy that combined the teachings of an array of pagan and Christian writers, as well as Muslim and Jewish philosophers.  His revolutionary decision to take his approach to the common people garnered him many enthusiastic followers as well as powerful enemies.  After Eckhart’s death and papal censure, many religious women and clerical supporters, known as the Friends of God, kept his legacy alive through the centuries, albeit underground until the master’s dramatic rediscovery by modern Protestants and Catholics.


"Dangerous Mystic grounds Meister Eckhart in a world that is simultaneously familiar and alien. In the midst of this medieval society, a few decades before the Black Death, Eckhart boldly preached to captivated crowds a timeless method, a “wayless way,” of directly experiencing the divine."

About the Author

Joel F. Harrington has published seven books on the religious and social history of pre-modern Germany. His most recent work is Dangerous Mystic, an account of the life and times of Meister Eckhart. Previous publications include The Faithful Executioner, which has been translated into fourteen languages, and The Unwanted Child, winner of the Roland H. Bainton prize in History. He is currently Centennial Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, where he teaches classes ranging from the Historical Jesus to Religion and Magic in Early Modern Europe. He lives in Nashville.

About Our Small Groups

Our discussions are sparked by questions. They will be both personal and academic, involve personal experience as well as understanding, heart as well as head.

In all our small groups, we use Socratic dialogue to unravel hidden meanings and new understandings. We will share personal insights and experiences. Always, our discussions will be respectful, opening our minds and hearts to each other and perennial truths at the heart of the world's spiritual traditions.

We will meet on Zoom at 7:30 pm for about an hour and 15 minutes.  You will also be added to a discussion group on our website,, to discuss topics between sessions.


  • Groups are open to new members up until the first session.
  • Registration is by donation on a sliding scale.
  • The groups are limited to 15 people.
  • We must have a minimum of five people to run a group.
  • Friends of the Oratory may join groups for free if they register when signed into their accounts on this website.
Membership Offer
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