c. 1290-1361

 Bishop blesses (and encloses) an anchoress

TAULER, John (d. 1361), German Dominican spiritual teacher. Little is known of his life. Born prob. near the end of the 13th cent., he entered the Order of Preachers in Strasbourg and possibly studied in Cologne. He may have known Eckhart and Henry Suso personally; he was certainly influenced by Eckhart and the Neoplatonism current among the German Dominican disciples of St Albertus Magnus. When Strasbourg was placed under an interdict he moved to Basle (1339–42); he also visited Medingen (1339 and 1347), Cologne (1339 and 1346), and prob. Paris (1350). He died in Strasbourg. He was famous as a preacher and director of nuns, and his popularity caused many spurious works to be ascribed to him; apart from the sermons and one letter, the authenticity of all the other works is now rejected. The canon of his sermons is still not entirely established.

His spirituality is notable for its balance between[:]

[1] inwardness[:]

[a] detachment,

[b] the birth of God in the soul,

[c] and living in the ‘ground’ of the soul and

[2] the external practice of the virtues and of pious exercises.

[3] His notion of ‘suffering’ (leiden) holds together the imitation of Christ Crucified by patient endurance and a more radical stance of receptiveness towards God’s acting upon the soul.

He had a lasting influence on later German piety, both Catholic and Protestant, and, esp. after the Latin translation by L. Surius (1548), he was frequently cited also by Spanish spiritual writers, though the reference is sometimes to spurious works.

PDF of Mittelhochdeutsch Text;    D
OC of Mittelhochdeutsch Text

Editio princeps of his sermons, Leipzig, 1498. First crit. edn. by F. Vetter (Deutsche Texte des Mittelalters, 11; 1910); also ed. from two important Vienna MSS (2744 and 2739) by A. L. Corin (Bibliothèque de la Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres de l’Université de Liége, 33 and 42; 1924–9). Modern Ger. version by G. Hofmann (Freiburg i.B., 1961). Eng. tr. by W. Elliott (Washington, DC, 1910); of selected passages by E. Strakosch (London, 1958), and by E. Colledge and M. Jane [Ciantar], OP (St Louis and London, 1961). Fr. tr. by E. Hugueny, C. Théry, and A. L. Corin (1930; ed. J.-P. Jossua, with note on ‘Jean Tauler et Maître Eckhart’ by E. H. Weber, OP, 1991). C. Schmidt, Johannes Tauler von Strassburg: Beitrag zur Geschichte der Mystik und des religiösen Lebens im vierzehnten Jahrhundert (Hamburg, 1841). H. S. Denifle, OP, Taulers Bekehrung kritisch untersucht (Quellen und Forschungen zur Sprach- und Culturgeschichte der germanischen Völker, 36; 1879). K. Grunewald, Studien zu Johannes Taulers Frömmigkeit (Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte des Mittelalters und Renaissance, 44; 1930). E. Filthaut, OP (ed.), Johannes Tauler: Ein deutscher Mystiker. Gedenkschrift zum 600. Todestag. (with substantial bibl.; Essen, 1961). I. Weilner, Johannes Taulers Bekehrungsweg: Die Erfahrungsgrundlagen seiner Mystik (Regensburg, 1961). J. A. Hernández, Studien zum religiösethischen Wortschatz der deutschen Mystik: Die Bezeichnung und der Begriff des Eigentums bei Meister Eckhart und Johannes Tauler (Philologische Studien und Quellen, 105; 1984); L. Gnädinger, Johannes Tauler: Lebenswelt und mystische Lehre (Munich [1993]). R. Kieckhefer, ‘The role of Christ in Tauler’s spirituality’, Downside Review, 96 (1978), pp. 176–91; id., ‘John Tauler’, in P. Szarmach (ed.), Introduction to the Medieval Mystics of Europe (Albany, NY, 1984), pp. 259–72. K. Ruh, Geschichte der abendländischen Mystik, 3 [1996], pp. 476–526. Kaeppeli, 3 (1980), pp. 20 f., 4 (1993), p. 172. L. Gnädinger in Dict. Sp. 15 (1991), cols. 57–79, s.v.


Kaeppeli T. Kaeppeli, OP, and E. Panella, OP, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum Medii Aevi (4 vols., Rome, 1970–93).


On Discernment: V [mhD] 40; H [mod] 43

Pseudo-Tauler: Super aspidem et basiliscum ; First Lent - anti-quietist

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