TAULER, towiler, Johann, German mys tic: b. Strasburg, about 1300; d. there, 16 June 1361. At 18 he renounced a fortune to enter the Dominican cloister, where he studied the scholastic theology, and returning to Strasburg came under the influence of Master Eckhart, whose vernacular sermons then attracted thronging audiences. He was the more im pelled to mystical and fervent piety by the vio lence of the war between Pope John XXII and the Emperor Louis the Bavarian, when the bishop of Strasburg forbade the clergy to open their churches. He became one of the so-called "friends of God," an unorganized brotherhood, including priests, nobles and burghers in all the large cities, who represented the height of mysticism, denied the special prerogative of the clergy except in the celebration of the sacra ments, and with anti-sacerdotal tendencies dwelt upon worship in the heart and life. He preached with wonderful success in Strasburg and in the neighboring towns, villages and con vents. Notwithstanding the papal interdict and amid the ravages of the black death (1348-49) he bestowed the consolations of religion on the forsaken people, preaching in German mingled with Latin. He published in German a treatise
on (Following the Lowly Life of Christ' ; ad dressed a remonstrance to the clergy against leaving the dying untended and unabsolved; and denounced ecclesiastical abuses while main taining the claims of the electors. His mys ticism, though it pronounced silence and suffer ing the most perfect work, was rather active than passive, taught explicitly the love of others, tended not to asceticism but to the amelioration of society, recommended the discharge of all ecclesiastical duties as a preparation for a higher stage of spiritual perfection and was opposed to the pantheistic tenets of Eckhart and the Beguins. The best of the early edi tions of his sermons are those of 1498, 1521-22, 1523 and 1543. The hymns and treatise on German theology which have been attributed to him are of doubtful authenticity. Consult Schmidt, 'Johannes Tallier von Strasburg' (1841); Winkworth, 'Life and Times of Tau ler, with 25 of his sermons translated from the German' (1857) ; Junot, (Los Amis de Dieu au XIVe Siècle) (1870).