In the 13th century, when the Nicomachean Ethics was translated into Latin, the Aristotelian virtue of magnanimity seemed incompatible with the Christian virtue of humility. Thomas Aquinas proposed a conciliatory understanding of the two virtues. In this study I try to show that the German Dominican Meister Eckhart overturned the Thomistic solution: humility opens to divine grace, «per modum removentis prohibens», by contrasting itself with pride. This means, according to Eckhart, that humility contradicts man’s illusion of existing as an autonomous individual. Distancing himself from the Aristotelian ideal of the moderation of desires and adopting the Stoic ideal of annihilation of the passions, Eckhart implicitly denies the value of magnanimity: by radically dispelling the illusion of individual self-sufficiency, humility, the supreme virtue, leads man to discover his natural dependence on God.

Per modum removentis prohibens. The Thomistic Doctrine of Humility according to Meister Eckhart

Nadia Bray
2021-01-01

Abstract

In the 13th century, when the Nicomachean Ethics was translated into Latin, the Aristotelian virtue of magnanimity seemed incompatible with the Christian virtue of humility. Thomas Aquinas proposed a conciliatory understanding of the two virtues. In this study I try to show that the German Dominican Meister Eckhart overturned the Thomistic solution: humility opens to divine grace, «per modum removentis prohibens», by contrasting itself with pride. This means, according to Eckhart, that humility contradicts man’s illusion of existing as an autonomous individual. Distancing himself from the Aristotelian ideal of the moderation of desires and adopting the Stoic ideal of annihilation of the passions, Eckhart implicitly denies the value of magnanimity: by radically dispelling the illusion of individual self-sufficiency, humility, the supreme virtue, leads man to discover his natural dependence on God.
978-88-9290-121-6
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11587/460241
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