Man Reaches The Peak Of His Knowledge of God When He Realizes That He Does Not Know Him


Some irony from scholastic theologians, and perhaps for today's "Systematic Theologians" out there...
 

"Seven years had passed since Eckhart's previous professorship in Paris. Although he had continued to work on his Opus Tripartitum during that time, progress had been slow amid all his travel and administrative work on behalf of the order. Eckhart's second regent professorship in Paris offered him the time and resources to make significant progress on the Opus. Ironically, it was at just this point that his ambitious intellectual pursuit of God appears to have hit a deeply troubling impasse – namely the outer limits of human reason. It was a paradox that Aquinas too had discovered during the composition of his own Summa: 'Man reaches the peak of his knowledge of God when he realizes that he does not know Him, understanding that the divine reality surpasses all human conception of it.' Shortly before his own death, in fact, the Angelic Doctor had experienced a deeper understanding of the divine that 'made everything I had written seem as straw.' For Aquinas and Eckhart, all human perceptions, however logical, remained limited by the derivative and subsequently partial nature of our own understanding...

Over the past several years, the master had become increasingly intrigued by an alternate way of knowing God – the intuitive or 'mystical' approach embraced by his spiritual father, Augustine. According to Eckhart, Augustine had grasped that theologians were always trying to balance the understanding of God offered 'through a glass darkly' by reason with other wisdom obtained more directly by nonrational experience of the divine. Now Eckhart decided that knowing God intuitively from within was no longer merely a complementary method to knowing God from without through rational inquiry, but was in many important ways superior to it. The master never completely abandoned his philosophical work, but he increasingly acknowledged its inadequacies, particularly in reaching his own ultimate goal of achieving direct experience of the divine."


– Joel F. Harrington, Dangerous Mystic