(Gottesfreunde). Group of 14th c. Rhenish and Swiss mystics who drew this name probably from such passages as Ex 33:11; Is 41:8; Jn 15:1415; Ja 2:23 to express freedom from servitude through Christ and elevation to true friendship with God. Most had no organization, but some extremes formed separate societies. Teachers included J. Eckhart,* Henry* of Nördlingen, H. Suso,* J. Tauler.* Rulman* Merswin, their chief author, refers to an unidentified and probably fictitious Great Friend, who, after sudden conversion among worldly pleasures, allegedly withdrew to a mountain in Austria. C. and M. Ebner* were prominent in the movement.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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