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Heinrich Suso

Suso, Heinrich (hĪnˈrĭkh zōˈzō) [key], c.1295–1366, German mystic, a Dominican friar, also known as Henry Suso. While studying at Cologne he came under the influence of Meister Eckhart, whose writings he defended against charges of heresy. He became a popular preacher and was associated with Johannes Tauler. At first harshly ascetic, he gradually emphasized detachment rather than mortification as central in the Christian discipline. His mysticism was expressed in terms of the contemporary literary romantic cult of the minnesingers. This gave him the epithet Sweet Suso. His writings include Das Büchlein der ewigen Weisheit [the little book of eternal wisdom], an autobiography and a guide to beginners in the spiritual life; Das Minnebüchlein [the little book of love]; a scholarly defense of Eckhart and an attack on the Beghards and Brethren of the Free Spirit; and miscellaneous sermons. He was beatified in 1831. His autobiography is not of certain authenticity; it purports to be made from notes taken from his oral accounts and then edited by him.

See T. F. Knox, The Life of Blessed Heinrich Suso by Himself (1913); J. M. Clark, The Great German Mystics (1949, repr. 1970).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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