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Erich Przywara, S.J.

His Theology and His World

Thomas F. O'Meara, O.P.

Publication Year: 2009

Erich Przywara, S.J. (1889–1972), is one of the important Catholic intellectuals of the twentieth century. Yet, in the English-speaking world Przywara remains largely unknown. Few of his sixty books or six hundred articles have been translated. In this engaging new book, Thomas O’Meara offers a comprehensive study of the German Jesuit Erich Przywara and his philosophical theology. Przywara’s scholarly contributions were remarkable. He was one of three theologians who introduced the writings of John Henry Cardinal Newman into Germany. From Przywara’s position at the Jesuit journal in Munich, Stimmen der Zeit, he offered an open and broad Catholic perspective on the cultural, philosophical, and theological currents of his time. As one of the first Catholic intellectuals to employ the phenomenologies of Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler, he was also responsible for giving an influential, more theological interpretation of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola. Przywara was also deeply engaged in the ideas and authors of his times. He was the first Catholic dialogue partner of Karl Barth and Paul Tillich. Edmund Husserl was counted among Przywara’s friends, and Edith Stein was a close personal and intellectual friend. Through his interactions with important figures of his age and his writings, ranging from speculative systems to liturgical hymns, Przywara was of marked importance in furthering a varied dialogue between German Catholicism and modern culture. Following a foreword by Michael A. Fahey, S.J., O’Meara presents a chapter on Pryzwara’s life and a chronology of his writings. O’Meara then discusses Pryzwara’s philosophical theology, his lecture-courses at German universities on Augustine and Aquinas, his philosophy of religion, and his influence on important intellectual contemporaries. O’Meara concludes with an in-depth analysis of Pryzwara’s theology—focusing particularly on his Catholic views on person, liturgy, and church.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xii

English-speaking readers will be especially grateful to Professor Thomas F. O’Meara, O.P., for providing not only a comprehensive theological commentary on the diverse writings of Erich Przywara, S. J. (1889–1972) but also fascinating biographical details about this major German Catholic theologian. ...

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pp. xiii-xv

“One must not forget Father Erich Przywara. For the Catholics of Germany in the twenties, thirties, and forties he was one of the keenest minds. He had a great influence on all of us when we were young.” So Karl Rahner recalled his fellow Jesuit in 1965.1 Few taking up this book, however, have heard of Erich Przywara. ...

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Chapter 1. Erich Przywara: His Age and His World

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pp. 1-32

Erich Przywara was a German Jesuit whose ideas and writings influenced Catholic intellectuals and church movements in the twentieth century. A thinker, a writer, a contemplative of the unseen, from 1920 to 1960 he carried on a wide-ranging conversation with the creators and issues of modern philosophy and culture, mainly in Germany and Austria. ...

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Chapter 2. The Challenge to Be a Catholic

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pp. 33-64

How would Catholicism exist as the twentieth century progressed? Could it flourish amid the cultural changes occurring as the century moved forward after World War I? Erich Przywara pondered those issues throughout his life. ...

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Chapter 3. Philosophies of Religion in the Service of Theology

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pp. 65-98

For his lectures at German universities in the 1920s Erich Przywara summoned forth diverse sources—patristic thinkers and German phenomenologists—to offer directions for Catholic theology. His first books worked at drawing these sources into a system, a philosophy of religion. ...

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Chapter 4. A Theologian’s Contemporaries

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pp. 99-148

The time after World War I was philosophically rich, culturally innovative, and politically unstable. Erich Przywara lived amid those worlds: far from being a withdrawn cleric or a confrontative Catholic apologete, he sought out not only in books but in people ideas in philosophy and theology, directions in art, and the renewal of Protestantism and Judaism. ...

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Chapter 5. The Christian in the Church

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pp. 149-180

With these pages, a final chapter, we move from a consideration of Erich Przywara’s contemporaries to his theological ideas. If his theology frequently touched people he knew and arranged philosophers and theologians of the past, it nevertheless explores three Christian realities, ...

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pp. 181-188

Son of an immigrant, a seminarian educated in exile, an ascetic Jesuit, a disciple of abstract thinkers, frail and yet owning an impressive mind and voice, Erich Przywara was engaged during the period from World War I to the Third Reich in a dialogue with church and culture, philosophy and Christian revelation. ...


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pp. 189-244

Bibliographic Resources

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pp. 245-248

Index of Names

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pp. 249-254

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780268088613
E-ISBN-10: 0268088616
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268037314
Print-ISBN-10: 0268037310

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2009