|Autumn 1986 Vol. 38 Supplement|
Life in Abundance, 1
From its earliest days the Dominican Order has placed great emphasis on study and the
intellectual development of its members. In the earliest Constitutions, those of 1228,
the particular significance of study is clearly emphasized. (1) The Dominican Order was
in fact the first not only to recognize study as an essential and even a pre-eminent
means, but also the first to regulate it through precise and wise legislation. This strong
emphasis on study arose from the very objective of the Order, from its apostolic
mission. In contrast to the older orders which sought the sanctification of individuals
and society through monastic isolation, St. Dominic conceived the ideal of his order as
the care of souls, particularly the care of souls in the newly urbanized society, beset
with the new problems of urban life — since the twelfth-century cities and towns had
become centers of activity. Moreover, there had been an awakening of interest in
profounder and more intellectual problems, due especially to contact with Eastern
culture which had resulted from the Crusades and from trade with the Orient. But the
cities were also centers of interest for the heretics. From the Byzantine East came the
dualistic error of the Cathari (Albigensians). The city of Lyons became the
center of a religious movement known as Waldensianism, which probably began with
good intentions, but which eventually came into sharp conflict with the Church because
of its hatred for the hierarchy. These two heresies gave St. Dominic the stimulus to
found his order. Dominic wanted to lead those who had gone astray back to the true
Church; in establishing his order of priests he wanted to labor first and foremost for the
salvation of souls. This goal was to be attained through preaching and teaching, which
presuppose thorough study. Consequently, St. Dominic sent his brethren to the
universities, and there also he sought his first disciples. In this way the Order of
Preachers became associated with the intellectual movements of the period.
Precisely here, at the beginning of the thirteenth century, the Order encountered a
unique and difficult situation. The opposition between theology and secular learning
which had prevailed since the eleventh century had not yet disappeared. A reserved and
more or less critical attitude toward secular learning appears in the first legislation of
the Dominican Order concerning study in 1228: “They shall not study the books of
pagans and philosophers, although they may occasionally spend an hour leafing through
such works. They shall not engage in the study of secular learning, nor in the so-called
liberal arts, unless the General of the Order or a general chapter of the Order make
exception for some.” (2) Thus, study was to be confined to theology as it had always
been taught by the Fathers, especially by St. Augustine.
These provisions, viewed in their historical context, were primarily pedagogical
measures taken by the Order against the new learning, which more and more inundated
the Christian West from Sicily and Spain in the writings of Constantine the African,
Avicenna, Averroes, Moses Maimonides, Algazel, and especially Aristotle. Prior to this
time the West knew Aristotle only through his writings on logic, transmitted largely by
Boethius. With the beginning of the thirteenth century the West became increasingly
acquainted with the “new” Aristotle (through his writings on the natural sciences,
ethics, and metaphysics), not always, to be sure, in a pure form, for his works were
often distorted and corrupted by translators, that is, by the interpretations and
commentaries of Arabs and Jews. These perversions incurred ecclesiastical censure
until Aristotle was disengaged and restored to his authentic position. This purification,
in the strict sense of the term, was first effected by Albert the Great and Thomas
Aquinas, who secured for Aristotle the position of a recognized authority, thereby
gaining recognition for philosophy and for the profane sciences corresponding to that
of theology. By means of these two great scholars of the Dominican Order medieval
thought for the most part was given an Aristotelian orientation.
THOMISM VERSUS NEO-PLATONISM
Upon the writings of the Fathers and Aristotle, interpreted in a Christian sense, St.
Thomas Aquinas built his own intellectual structure. This was only gradually accepted,
even within the Dominican Order. Even though many general and provincial chapters
decreed that the doctrine of St. Thomas should be the accepted teaching in studia of
the Order, (3) there were still supporters of the older tradition which went back to
Plato and to St. Augustine. The older tradition had become much too familiar.
Augustine, pseudo-Denis, and later the Arabs, together with their ideas, which partly
concealed neo-Platonic elements, had become so fully incorporated in theology that,
even at the height of Scholasticism, the neo-Platonic tradition is conspicuous alongside
the pure Aristotelian doctrine. Toward the end of the thirteenth and the beginning of
the fourteenth century this neo-Platonism is particularly evident among the German
Dominicans. St. Thomas himself is not entirely free of neo-Platonic elements. (4) But
above all one notices that the neo-Platonic influence
“originates with Albert the Great, who in his comprehensive selection of material, in his
scientific integration and adaptation, also included a wealth of neo-Platonic teaching in
his writings. However, two points ought not to be overlooked: first, that Albert
definitely rejects neo-Platonic doctrines, and second, that now, quite independent of
Albert, the leaning toward neo-Platonism is found in connection with mathematical-physical studies, especially in the optical works of the Silesian Witelo and in the
anonymous treatise, De intelligentiis (On the nature of the intellect ), which appeared during the first half of the thirteenth century.” (5)
Considering the exalted position Albert occupied in medieval thought, and particularly
in the Dominican Order, it is understandable that his doctrine and views were not
devoid of influence. Above all he had a lasting influence in Germany where he
established neo-Platonism in German Dominican Scholasticism, thereby exercising a
determining influence on German mysticism of the fourteenth century, which reached
its highest development in the Order of Preachers. German neo-Platonism, originating
in Albert’s teaching, was first developed in the theological Summa of his favorite
disciple, Ulrich Engelbert of Strassburg, who was provincial of the German province
from 1272 to 1277. Ulrich’s teaching concerning God is closely allied to Albert’s
unpublished commentary on The Divine Names of pseudo-Denis. Similarly, we find
great sympathy for neo-Platonism in the philosophical and scientific writings of the
provincial and Master of Theology, Dietrich of Freiberg in Saxony (º after 1310), even
though he clearly disagreed with some of Albert’s doctrines. Although Thomistic
philosophy had broken with neo-Platonism, Dietrich embraced it with all its
implications. Krebs (6) considers that one of Dietrich’s principal contributions was to
show that a Christian neo-Platonism is possible, that is, one which is reconcilable with
pure monotheism, including the concept of creation ex nihilo, and compatible with the
Church’s teaching on grace. This position is most significant, because it was put forth at
a time when the danger of pantheism and the denial of the supernatural goal of man
were becoming very real. Among the Thomists influenced by neo-Platonism was
Meister Eckhart (º 1327), whose works stood very high in German Dominican
theology. Likewise Tauler (º 1361) was not entirely free of neo-Platonic ideas. The
Dominican, Berthold of Moosburg, who is mentioned as lecturer in the Regensburg
convent in 1327, raised a literary Monument to tills neo-Platonic current of the
fourteenth century in his huge commentary on the Elementatio theologica of Proclus.
A dependence on Meister Eckhart and Berthold of Moosburg can clearly be seen in
Nicholas of Cusa. At Cologne the most important representative of the Albertine
school at the university, Heimerich of Kampen (º 1460), was influenced by neo-Platonism.
While neo-Platonic tendencies were in the fore in German Dominican theology
up to the beginning of the Order’s reform toward the end of the fourteenth century,
there were several Dominicans at the beginning of this century who were mainly
oriented toward Thomism. To this Thomistic current of thought belong John Picardi of
Lichtenberg, provincial of the German province of the Order from 1308 to 1310, Henry
of Lübeck, who was provincial from 1325 to 1336, the mystics John of Sterngassen,
lecturer at Strassburg and at Cologne (º 1314), his brother Gerhard of Sterngassen,
who is mentioned as a preacher in Cologne at the beginning of the fourteenth century,
and a contemporary, Nicholas of Strassburg, lecturer in the higher faculty at Cologne.
It has now been established from manuscripts discovered by Grabmann,(7) that a
definite Thomistic current of thought is to be found in the Latin writings of the two
Sterrigassens and of Nicholas of Strassburg, and that in these three mystics there is no
trace of neo-Platonism. In metaphysics Nicholas of Strassburg depends heavily on St.
Thomas, while in his extensive investigations of the natural sciences, he follows the
doctrine of St. Albert. As for John of Sterrigassen, it is not improbable that he was an
immediate disciple of St. Thomas. Finally, the most beloved of the German mystics of
the fourteenth century, Blessed Henry Suso (º 1366), was also a faithful adherent of
Thomistic teaching; for him St. Thomas was “the foremost teacher among all teachers.”
Thus, two currents of theological thought can be discerned among the German
Dominicans of the late thirteenth and the early fourteenth century, two currents which
occasionally intermingle: the neo-Platonic current which began with St. Albert the
Great and led through Ulrich Engelbert of Strassburg and Dietrich of Freiburg to
Meister Eckhart, and the Thomistic current which gathered greater force after the
fourteenth century. Both of these two currents, Thomism and neo-Platonism, must be
taken into account in order to understand “German mysticism” in the Dominican Order.
However, one must remember that “German Mysticism” did not arise from entirely new
roots. Rather, the ultimate source was the universal Christian mysticism of earlier
centuries. Only in this way can mysticism be seen as an element Of the devout life. Only
in this light can we appreciate the particular characteristics of “German mysticism”
among the Dominicans of the fourteenth century. We shall now consider the flowering
and the decline of German Dominican mysticism.
MYSTICISM AS A PART OF DEVOTION
The word “mysticism” is derived from the Greek verb µ (myein), meaning to close
oneself off, to shut the eyes, or quite generally a closing off of all the senses. From the
word itself one would understand a “mystic” to be a person who frees himself from all
external impressions, one who severs all channels to the outside world, one who turns
away from all perceptions of sense, in order to submerge himself completely in the
infinity of God and to hold therein intimate conversation with him.
The function and aim of all mysticism is the union of the soul with God. Mysticism
turns around the central theme of “God and the soul”; it is concerned with the
possession of God within the very depths of the soul. According to Krebs it is “the
realization or experience of the soul’s union with God through grace, in which, through
the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially the gifts of understanding and wisdom, the
knowledge of divine truths is deepened and clarified to the point of simple intuition or
contemplation of the truth, the love of God and man is wondrously increased and
inflamed, often inflamed to very heroic purposes, and joy in God is intensified to a
foretaste of eternal happiness.” (9) Common to all the mystics is a passionate pursuit of
God. Speculative mysticism is intent on studying the union of the soul with God, while
practical mysticism tries to attain this union. Sacred Scripture forms the foundation of
mysticism, the Fathers of the Church, especially St. Augustine and pseudo-Denis, give
it support, while practical information is to be found in the autobiographical
descriptions of those who have experienced this union.
THE THREE STAGES
Starting with the fact that our earthly life is a pilgrimage, a journey from a foreign land
to our homeland, the program of the mystical life was seen to lie in renunciation of all
earthly goods (Luke 14:33), in universal denial of self, bearing the cross patiently and
following Christ (Matt. 16:24), in order to arrive at that final goal where God is seen
face to face, just as he is (I Cor 13:12; 1 John 3:2). In keeping with many of the Church
Fathers, this pilgrimage toward our true home was divided into three stages, which
were generally described as the purgative, the illuminative, and the unitive ways
according to the classification of pseudo-Denis. By the purgative way is understood the
active and passive detachment from all worldly things, the illuminative way is
contemplation through the grace of wisdom, and the unitive way is none other than the
volitional and intellectual union with God in the soul’s innermost depths. Briefly and
with classic perfection Suso describes the mystical way in the well-known phrase: “A
recollected person must be unformed of the creature (purgative way), become informed
with Christ (illuminative way), and transformed into God (unitive way).” (10) In
another passage Suso says: “You should desire nothing else except that God should
remove all impediments from your path, and that he should unite you to himself at all
times without impediment.” (11)The way in which Eckhart summarizes the process and
goal of the mystical life is likewise characteristic: “If God is to enter, the creature must
get out.” (12) Quotations such as these could be multiplied indefinitely. Repeatedly the
mystics present the challenge, namely, of wrenching the heart free of all inordinate
attachment to the world, self-denial and tranquility in the face of all earthly things, that
the soul may be free and open to God.
In their description of the three stages the mystics appealed especially to the will. But
they did not stop with a mere description of mysticism as a manner of living; they went
further and tried to establish the scientific foundations of mystical experience. Thus, we
find in their writings a number of speculative discussions. Particularly prominent in
these scientific studies were a clear concept of God, the doctrines of redemption, grace,
and the notion of soul, as well as a detailed explanation of cognitional processes —
teachings which had become the common property of theologians through
Scholasticism with its theology constructed upon Aristotelian philosophy. In the
forefront of all mystical speculation we find the indwelling of the Godhead in a favored
soul. Perfect union is found in heaven through the beatific vision, but even now in the
present state of life man is called to strive for the highest possible union with God
through knowledge and love.
The mystic is convinced that God enters the innermost recesses of the soul and acts
therein. (13) The real life task which the mystic sets for himself is the winning of God.
There are two ways in which this is possible: God could come to the soul suddenly and
immediately, or the soul could reach out to God. In the former case God reveals his
presence through a special gift of grace; in the latter, the soul has to remove all
personal impediments in order to discover God dwelling within him. Both ways were
trodden by the great Dominican mystics.(14) With brilliant colors the mystics describe
the workings of divine love, and paint a picture of those mysterious states wherein the
human soul, filled with supernatural life far beyond the ordinary experiences of divine
bounty, experiences God immediately within itself and attains such an intimate union
with him that the image of God in the soul reaches its highest perfection. The soul
abandons itself uniquely to the contemplation of God, without reflection and eventually
even without representative images. “The description of this highest act of imageless
contemplation in the blinding cloud of the divine essence, together with the
unconditional union of the divine and human wills, is the central thought of Mysticism.”
(15) In this imageless vision the soul forgets the essential difference between God and
itself, even though this difference continues to be real. The accent is no longer on the
difference and antithesis between Creator and creature; it is a union with the Creator.
In no sense, however, is this a pantheistic fusion of natures; the experience of the soul’s
union with God by means of grace is not a disappearance in God; rather it is a nuptial
union through love and grace. In this experience created nature is never completely
passive in the sense of a quietistic absence of activity, not even when it has the feeling
of passivity; intellectual consciousness and moral responsibility remain, and the soul
continues to be active under the influence of grace. Thus Eckhart remarks: “Since a
man dedicated to the contemplative life can no longer restrain himself because of the
very fullness he experiences, he must overflow and engage himself in the active life.”
When mystics come to speak of this experience, they make free use of poetic analogies
and seem disinclined to attempt any rationalistic explanation of this process. It is not
only that these experiences are mysterious and ineffable to them, but also that the very
recollection of these events is nebulous and unclear. (17) If they persist in their attempt
to penetrate and explain these mysteries, they run the risk of becoming heretical. In
explaining intellectual contemplation one could end up in real pantheism by
constructing extremely daring systems which would eliminate the distinction between
God and the soul. And if the union of wills is emphasized, then one must guard against
two other extremes: first of all rigorism, into which the fanatical Fraticelli fell by
exaggerating the renunciation of self-will in externals, and secondly, the falsely
understood freedom of the heretical Beghards and the “Brothers and Sisters of the Free
Spirit,” who permitted a soul once united to God to indulge in anything, believing that
nothing could ever separate that soul from God; the perfect man, according to them.
could be so transformed into God that no sin could harm him.
The essence of mysticism in no way lies in ecstasy, visions, and the like; these could
just as well be absent. They are only particular, proximate manifestations accompanying
mysticism. To be sure, they may be associated with mysticism, and they were in fact
present in not a few of the great mystics, but they are not essentially connected with
mystical experience, rather they belong to the fringes of devotion.
To define Christian mysticism as “the Christian teaching on ecstasy,” (18) is to give a
dangerous, one-sided, not to say false definition, one which is possible only where the
fact of revelation is not known and stated. It is to fail to see, beyond the insignificant
Gnostic and neo-Platonic elements and expressions in mysticism, the radical uniqueness
of Christian mysticism, namely, that in Christian mysticism it is not the divine or a being
of divine origin which is manifested, but rather God . . . who reveals himself
unmistakably without words or images in the mystical union. Furthermore, it is to
overlook the fact that in the last analysis Christian mysticism, or rather, the
self-manifestation of God and the actual experience of this, in which mysticism simply
and essentially consists, is not only man’s “venture,” but it is first and foremost, if one
may so express it, God’s “venture,” for as the first mover, of himself, by his own free
will, he makes himself known, and man responds. This is true even if the invitation and
the response, the subject and the object, intertwine in the consciousness and experience
of the mystic in the union. (19)
In mysticism it is ultimately a question of winning God, of embracing him in the very
depths of the soul. This highest happiness is available to every man, for all are ordered
to the mystical life. (20) However, the grace of mystical experience is in fact something
extraordinary; it is evidenced only in exceptional in stances. This rarity is not due to a
stifling of the call on God’ part, nor to a faltering of his willingness to lead all men to
the fullness of perfection. Together with sanctifying grace and the gifts of the Holy
Spirit, God gives to all men of good will this special preparedness for mystical
experience. He who wills this preparedness also gives the accomplishment and intends
the completion. The actual rarity of the mystical gift lies solely in the niggardliness,
indifference, and laziness of the majority, who are content with the bare minimum.
Nevertheless, genuine mystical experience is not absent from the Church, and history
points to glorious periods of outstanding mystical gifts. One such flowering of
mysticism is to be found in the later Middle Ages.
Mysticism has always been fostered in the Dominican Order This follows from the very
ideal of the Order, which, in contrast to the older orders, embraces two essential
aspects: apostolic activity and mystical immersion in God. St. Dominic was fully aware
that a fruitful apostolate is possible only when it is rooted in contemplation. Apostolic
labor for the salvation of souls was to flow from the fullness of contemplation. In their
striving to draw nearer to God, the Friar Preachers at the outset took as their
inspiration and model the great mystics of all ages: St. Augustine, St. Bernard of
Clairvaux, Rupert of Deutz, and the Victorines. With the revival of Aristotelianism and
the accompanying growth of Scholasticism, there occurred a deepening of speculative
mysticism while at the same time some of the previously accepted principle of
speculative mysticism were called into question. The conservative theological element
in the Dominican Order at first held out against the “new doctrine” of their confrère
Thomas Aquinas Yet it was he, in fact, who laid the scientific foundations of mysticism,
safeguarding it from errors and exaggerations. Wherein previously an unnaturally
rigorous asceticism had prevailed through the doctrine of the plurality of substantial
forms, St Thomas with his doctrine of the unicity of the substantial form in man (the
human soul) now laid the foundation for a prudent moderated ethics. (21) Whereas
previously the doctrine of innate ideas and the immediate intuition of self had prevailed
in psychology — doctrines which accounted for our first spontaneous knowledge of
God — St. Thomas showed that man’s natural process of knowledge depends entirely
on sense images, but that these can be wanting in exceptional supernatural activities of
the intellect. (22) Thus St. Thomas distinguished mystical illumination from natural
knowledge and emphasized more sharply its supernatural character. Whereas
previously primacy had been given to the will, St. Thomas now recognized the primacy
of the intellect, without, however, denying the primary role of love in this life. His
teaching on love, on knowledge derived from love, on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, on
the secret movements of grace, on visions and ecstasies, his prayers, and the Office
composed for the Feast of Corpus Christi, all reveal St. Thomas to have been a true
Mystic, not only speculatively, but also practically. (23)
The Dominican Order has always remained faithful to the teaching of its most learned
men, and it has always regarded the practical manifestations of mysticism with
sympathy, not disdain. The great men and women mystics of the Order bear sufficient
witness to this. Nevertheless, it is still true, as noted earlier, that in the thirteenth and
fourteenth centuries the neo-Platonic element was strongly in evidence along with the
Thomistic, particularly in Germany; indeed the Platonic view exerted a decided
influence on the development of mysticism within the German Dominican provinces, a
development which reached its highest peak in the fourteenth century.
1 H. Felder, Geschichte der wissenschaftlichen Studien im Franziskanerorden bis um
die Mitte des 13. Jahrhundert (Freiburg i. Br.: 1904), p. 76: See also E. Filthaut,
Roland von Cremona und die Anfänge der Sc olastik im Predigerorden (Vechta:
1936), the Introduction entitled “The Intellectual Ideal of the Early Friars Preachers.”
2 H. Denifle (ed.), Archiv für Literatur- und Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters Archiv
(Berlin: 1885), 1, 223. See M. Grabmann, Die Kulturphilosophie des hl. Thomas v.
Aquin (Augsburg: 1925), p. 115 ff. and the notes on p. 205 f.
3 The general chapter at Milan, 1278, bound the Dominicans to the teaching of St.
Thomas and appointed inquisitors who were to punish non-Thomists, expel them from
their province, and strip them of every office. (Monumenta Ord. FF. Praed. Historica,
ed. B. M. Reichert [Rome: 1898] III, 199). Similar ordinations were enacted by the
general chapters of 1279, 1286, 1309, 1313, 1329, 1342, 1344, and others — proof that
such ordinations were not always carefully observed, and that the anti-Thomist
tendency within the Order of Preachers was not insignificant.
4 “Even in the most consistent representative of the Aristotelian tradition, Thomas
Aquinas, there are found neo-Platonic elements of no little importance, and notably,
these appear in his later writings in ever increasing frequency.” Ueberweg-Geyer,
Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie: Die patristische und scholastische
Philosophie, 12th ed. (Basel: 1951), 6, 551.
5 H. Meyer, Die Weltanschauung des Mittelalters, Vol. III of Geschichte der
abendländ. Weltanschauung (Würzburg: 1948), p. 296.
6 E. Krebs, “Meister Dietrich. Sein Leben, seine Werke, seine Wissenschaft,” in
Beitnige z. Gesch. d. Phil. d. M-A., V/5, (Münster: 1906), p. 151.
7 M. Grabmann, Neuaufgefundene lateinische Werke deutscher Mystiker, Sitz. der
Bay. Akad. der Wissenschaften, 1921, 3 abh. (Munich: 1922).
8 H. Suso, Horologium sapientiae, ed. J. Strange (Cologne: 1861), p. 151.
9 E. Krebs, Grundfragen der kirchlichen Mystik (Freiburg i. Br.: 1921), p. 36.
10 H. Suso, Leben, c. 49, in Deutsche Schriften, ed. K. Bihlmeyer (Stuttgart: 1907),
11 H. Suso, Predigt III, ed. Bihlmeyer, 523, 29.
12 Eckhart, Predigt II, ed. F. Pfeiffer, Deutsche Mystiker des 14. Jahrh., Vol. II
(Leipzig: 1857), 12, 9.
13 Cf. St. Thomas, Summa theol., Ia, q. 43, a. 5 ad 2: “Thus Augustine expressly says
that ‘the Son is sent, when he is known and perceived by anyone’; the word ‘perception,’
however, signifies a certain experimental knowledge.” In this connection it should be
noted that the doctrine of the divine missions is the foundation and justification of
14 Cf. St. Thomas, ibid., IIIa, q. 8, a. 8 ad 1: “For ‘only the Trinity enters into the
mind,’ as it is said in the book De ecclesiasticis dogmatibus.” IIIa, q. 64, a. 1: “. . . only
God enters the soul.”
15 Cf. G. Siedel, Theologia Deutsch. Mit einer Einleitung in die Lehre von der
Vergöttung in der dominikanischen Mystik (Gotha: 1929), p. 28 ff.
16 E. Krebs, Meister Dietrich, p. 132 f.
17 “Although we retain much of this in our memory and see it as through a veil or in a
cloud, yet we are not sufficiently able to understand or recall either the mode or the
quality of that vision.” Richard of St. Victor, Benjamin maior, IV, chap. 23; PL, 196,
167. The poetic-symbolic description of this state is very illuminating in Richard of St.
Victor (ibid., PL, 196, 166 ff.); this is quoted by E. Krebs, Meister Dietrich, p. 133,
18 W. Muschg, Die Mystik in der Schweiz, (Frauenfeld-Leipzig: 1935), p. 22.
19 H. Kunisch, Anzeiger f. deutsches Altertum, 56 (1937), 166.
20 To this extent F. Heiler (Die Bedeutung der Mystik für die Weltreligionen,
1919) sees in mysticism a primitive form of the religious instinct.– GarrigouLagrange
(Christian Perfection and Contemplation, St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co., 1942, p.
337 ff.) distinguishes a twofold calling, one general and remote, the other immediate
and personal. The first is given with sanctifying grace, the second is dependent on
personal cooperation with grace.
21 Summa theol., Ia, q. 76, a. 4 and a. 7; Summa contra gentiles, II, c. 71.
22 Summa theol., Ia, q. 84 ff.; IIa-IIae, q. 175, aa. 1, 4, and 5.
23 Cf. J. Bernhart, Die philosophische Mystik des Mittelalters von ihren antiken
Ursprüngen bis zur Renaissance (Munich: 1922), p. 150; A. Mager, Mystik als Lehre
und Leben (Innsbruck: 1934), p. 325 ff. “In his theological Summa,Thomas Aquinas
included a theory of contemplation, mystical experience and many other insights of
mystical value; he was, as Thomas of Vallgornera, O.P., expressed it in the title of his
Mystica Theologia D. Thomae, ‘the prince of both scholastic and mystical theology,’
and he became the ultimate philosophical and theological authority especially for the
Spanish mystics of the sixteenth and seventeenth century.” M. Grabmann, Mittelalt.
Geistesl., I, 476 f.