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In the 13th century this German monk/priest created his own philosophy and theology. But I've heard that he taught this often to mostly females.

Now in the 13th century I don't think that women were encouraged to study a lot. So the question is, is this true and why did this happen?

Perhaps this question belongs to the theology or history stack, but perhaps here, too?

  • Meister Eckhart was an "academic" teacher as such, he does not lecture to women. But he was also a preacher, and in this way of course his speechs can be listened by women. In addition, he founded three convents for women in Saxony. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Jan 29 '17 at 7:49
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    See: Kurt Flasch, Meister Eckhart Philosopher of Christianity (2015), page 193: "Loris Sturlese has debunked the idea that the German sermons had a special connection to nunneries. There is no doubt that Eckhart preached to women in Dominican churches as well as in convents, some of which he named. But the sermons show no detectable linguistic or content-based connection with women or women’s issues in the fourteenth century." – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Jan 29 '17 at 7:54
  • I'd want to note that Eckhart did not create his own philosophy and theology. His world-view is orthodox in mysticism and lines up with Plotinus, Lao Tsu, the Buddha and all the rest. In this tradition women are not excluded but entirely equal. Christianity had lots of female teachers prior to the purge of gnostic practices, views and texts instituted by Constantine. – PeterJ May 15 at 16:11
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According to Mary Elizabeth Funke, during a period of Meister Eckhart's life (page 18-19)

Several convents of nuns and Beguinages were placed under his spiritual direction; to them as well as to the people, who flocked to the churches, he preached in the vernacular.

Spiritual direction need not be a form academic lecturing, but rather viewed as sermons: (page 35)

Meister Eckehart is best known by his sermons. He was one of the first to preach in the churches of the Dominican nuns, to which the laity had access and whither they flocked in great numbers, drawn as much by the personality of the preacher as by the content of his sermons.

So Meister Eckhart did preach sermons to Dominican nuns and lay religious women in beguinages. The reason why this happened was because he was assigned to provide them with spiritual direction.


Funke, M. E. (1916). Meister Eckehart. National Capital Press, Incorporated.

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