The Voice in the Stone
Overview - The Voice in the Stone is about Meister Eckhart (1260-1328), one of the most controversial figures in the history of religion. Scholars, theologians, and devotees familiar with his work see him as one of the most brilliant and important of all Christian thinkers. Read more...
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More About The Voice in the Stone by David Irving
The Voice in the Stone is about Meister Eckhart (1260-1328), one of the most controversial figures in the history of religion. Scholars, theologians, and devotees familiar with his work see him as one of the most brilliant and important of all Christian thinkers. Famous in his own lifetime as a teacher and spiritual leader, he was popular with women mystics, especially the Beguines, an organization of primarily widowed women. One of his highest priorities was to teach the ignorant and uneducated so that they could learn the art of living and dying. In this pursuit he aroused considerable enmity from the clergy of the day to whom Latin was the only appropriate language for giving sermons and who saw no reason for trying to lift the peasants out of their rut of poverty. In the year 1326 Meister Eckhart was wrongly charged with heresy by the Archbishop of Cologne, Heinrich von Virneburg, for leading the common people astray. The Meister died during his trial and several of his writings were condemned as heretical and removed from the church canon a year later. He was not alive to protest and his writings and his good name were disgraced. Seven hundred years later, the church has finally agreed with their critics that Meister Eckhart was a good and orthodox theologian, though it still has not lifted the ban on his work or acknowledged the injustice that was done to him. Because so few personal facts about Meister Eckhart have survived, the author portrays his life by using the Meister's own writings for much of his spoken dialogue and through his interactions with different characters as they engage in a series of adventures in 14th century Europe. These include a harrowing escape from an inquisition arrest, the rescue of a man falling from a scaffold, an enlightenment experience in a wilderness area, and frequent brushes with danger in a society obsessed by the fear of heresy. The book conveys a realistic sense of what life may have been like in the time of Meister Eckhart through accurate illustrations of Medieval life and events including a backward glance at the battle at Beziers in France in the early 13th century. There Pope Innocent III pitted his forces against the Cathars, a fundamentalist religious sect, resulting in the slaughter of 20,000 people, men, women, and children. The novel includes a short factual biography of Meister Eckhart's life.