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Performance of Language: Space and Time in Meister Eckhart and Modism

Panel Chair: Markus Vinzent | Monday, August 24, 3:30-5:30 p.m. | Venue

Looking specifically at the discourse crossings of Meister Eckhart, Thomas of Erfurt and the wider movement known as Modism, the panel will ask how the elements that converge in the fertile environment of the period of history in which Eckhart lived still informs the way we read texts today. Becoming aware of our contemporary presuppositions and methodologies, the panel will consider medieval religious discourse that challenges categorical notions of space and time as structural moments of grammar. Accessing the meaning of space and time in late medieval religious thinking will provide a new way of viewing forms of cultural and religious changes that arose out of discourse constellations, social proximity (as in the Universities of Erfurt and Paris), social mobility, and media distribution between such centres. The panel will bring together philosophy, theology, migration and cultural theories, and contemporary art to dynamically assess these questions.

Oliver Davies

Creativity, Meister Eckhart, Representation and Language

Explores the limitations of language, poetry and art in representing or interpreting concepts associated with Meister Eckhart’s ‘mystical theology’, and how such limitations can give way – in the material and by means of such limits – to something beyond itself.

Shuhong Zheng

The ‘Now’ that Goes Beyond Eternity

What Eckhart means by ‘now’ is no longer confined to the concept of time, but indicates the presence of God. By differentiating being from becoming, creation from formation, Eckhart radically removes the concept of time from the philosophical and theological speculation of God, thereby allocates temporality in the realm of becoming and formation once for all. Hence creation is to be considered in the sense of conferring existence on nonexistence in the ‘now’. The conceptualisation of ‘now’ in Eckhart overcomes the polarity between the ephemeral and the eternal, the changing and the everlasting, breaks through the boundary of eternity, and brings us back to this world. Differing from Heidegger and Derrida, Eckhart’s ontological thought is unfolded in a scholastic framework and formulated in both religious and philosophical language, which enables ‘being’ to be revealed in the ‘now’—a concept which is more intriguing than what philosophers mean by ‘time’.

Taery Kim

Performing Time and Eckhart

The concept of time in Meister Eckhart regards time as the precondition of eternity. This is expounded by concepts fullness of time and now, or now of eternity (‘vüllede der zît’, ‘nû’, ‘nû der êwicheit’, in Latin ‘nunc’, ‘nunc aeternitatis’), with which Eckhart describes that the move from the division and multiplicity of time to the simplicity and unity of eternity occurs in the ground of the soul in human nature, in time. Eckhart’s eternity, therefore, is eternity in time. This concept transforms into praxis through several artworks that show that the function of time is necessarily an embodied experience in which the individual lives within eternity in every instance of time. The Hours and Forgettance I are art installation and performance works, which stage life as a performance in time-as-body, Time.


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Open Sessions

Thematic Outline

University Map (pdf, 192 KB)