Josef Pieper

Josef Pieper

Infobox Philosopher
region = Western Philosophy
era = 20th-century philosophy
color = #B0C4DE
name = Josef Pieper (pronounced Pee-per)
birth = birth date|1904|05|04 Rheine-Elte, Germany
death = death date|1997|11|09
school_tradition = Christian philosophy
main_interests = Philosophy of religion
influences = Saint Augustine·Saint Thomas Aquinas·Plato
influenced =

Josef Pieper (May 4, 1904- November 6, 1997) was a German Catholic philosopher, at the forefront of the Neo-Thomistic wave in twentieth century Catholic philosophy. Among his most notable works are "The Four Cardinal Virtues," "Leisure, the Basis of Culture," "The Philosophical Act," and "Guide to Thomas Aquinas" (published in England as "Introduction to Thomas Aquinas"). He translated C.S. Lewis, "The Problem of Pain", into German.

Life and career

Pieper studied philosophy, law and sociology at the universities of Berlin and Münster. After working as a sociologist and freelance writer, he became ordinary professor of philosophical anthropology at the University of Münster, and taught there from 1950 to 1976. As professor emeritus he continued to provide lectures until 1996.


His views are rooted primarily in the Scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas and in the teachings of Plato. In 60 years of creative work as a philosopher and writer, Pieper explicated the wisdom tradition of the West in clear language, and identified its enduring relevance.

A recent champion of Pieper's philosophy in the English-speaking world is James V. Schall, S.J., Professor of Political Philosophy at Georgetown University. His many books contain innumerable references to Pieper, particularly in his "Another Sort of Learning" and "The Life of the Mind".


In 1981 Pieper received the Balzan Prize in Philosophy; in 1987 he was awarded the State Prize of the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen. In 1990, he received the Ehrenring of the Görres-Gesellschaft.

elect publications in English

* "Leisure, the Basis of Culture". Translated by Alexander Dru. With an introduction by T. S. Eliot. London: Faber and Faber, 1952. (Originally "Musse und Kult". München: Kösel-Verlag, 1948). New translation by Gerald Malsbary. South Bend, Ind.: St. Augustine's Press, 1998. ISBN 1890318353.
* "The End of Time: a meditation on the philosophy of history". Translated by Michael Bullock. New York : Pantheon Books, 1954. (Originally "Uber das Ende der Zeit"). Reprinted New York: Octagon Books, 1982. ISBN 0374964475. Reprinted San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999. ISBN 0898707269.
* "Happiness and Contemplation". Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York : Pantheon, 1958. Reprinted, with an introduction by Ralph McInerny. South Bend, Ind.: St. Augustine's Press, 1998. ISBN 1890318310.
* "The Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance". Notre Dame, Ind., 1966. Translations originaly published separately, "Fortitude and Temperance" translated by Daniel F. Coogan (1954); "Justice" translated by Lawrence E. Lynch (1955); and "Prudence" translated by Richard and Clara Winston (1959).
* "Scholasticism: Personalities and Problems of Medieval Philosophy". Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York: Pantheon Press, 1960. Reissued South Bend, Ind.: St. Augustine's Press, 2001. ISBN 1587317508.
* "Guide to Thomas Aquinas". Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York: Pantheon Books, 1962. (Originally "Hinführung zu Thomas von Aquin".) Publication in England as "Introduction to Thomas Aquinas". London: Faber and Faber, 1962. Reissued San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1991. ISBN 0898703190
* "Enthusiasm and Divine Madness". Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York : Harcourt, Brace & World, 1964. (Originally "Begeisterung und Göttlicher Wahnsinn"). Reissued South Bend, Ind.: St. Augustine's Press, 2000. ISBN 189031823X
* "In Tune with the World: a Theory of Festivity". Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1965. (Originally "Zustimmung zur Welt"). Reissued South Bend, Ind. : St. Augustine's Press, 1999. ISBN 1890318337
* "Death and Immortality". Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York: Herder & Herder; London: Burns & Oates, 1969. [Reviewed by Christopher Derrick in the "TLS" Jan. 22, 1970, together with "Hope and History".] (Originally "Tod und Unsterblichkeit". Munich: Kösel-Verlag, 1968.). Reissued South Bend, Indiana: St. Augustine's Press, 2000. ISBN 1890318183
* "Hope and History". Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York: Herder & Herder; London: Burns & Oates, 1969. ISBN 0223976997.
* "On Hope". Translated by Mary Frances McCarthy. (Originally "Über die Hoffnung"). San Francisco : Ignatius Press, 1986. ISBN 0898700671.
* "What is a Feast?" Pascal Lectures on Christianity and the University. Waterloo: North Waterloo Academic Press, 1987. ISBN 0921075049.
* "No One Could Have Known: an autobiography: the early years 1904-1945". Translated by Graham Harrison. (Originally "Noch wusste es Niemand"). San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987. ISBN 0898701317.
* "In Defense of Philosophy: Classical wisdom stands up to modern challenges". Translated by Lothar Krauth. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992. ISBN 0898703972 (Originally "Verteidigungsrede für die Philosophie". Munich: Kösel-Verlag, 1966.)


"This text contains elements translated from the German Wikipedia article."

External links

* [ Biography]
*Obituary in "First Things": [ Gilbert Meilaender, "A Philosopher of Virtue"] , Apr. 1998

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