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Erich Przywara, S.J.

Erich Przywara, S.J.

His Theology and His World

Thomas F. O’Meara, O.P.
Foreword by Michael A. Fahey, S.J.

“O’Meara masterfully situates Pryzwara in relation to the traditional and contemporary theological, philosophical, ecclesial, cultural, and social contexts within which he wrote.” —William P. Loewe, professor of religious studies, Catholic University of America

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 his 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 companion. 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 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 of person, liturgy, and church.

ISBN: 978-0-268-02763-6
272 pages
Publication Year: 2002

Thomas F. O’Meara, O.P., is professor emeritus of theology at the University of Notre Dame and author of the book, Thomas Aquinas, Theologian also published by the University of Notre Dame Press.

“This fine volume . . . takes us through the life of a tremendous, albeit overlooked, influence on much of twentieth-century thought. Erich Przywara was an astute observer of culture, a musician, philosopher, theologian and priest, and he has long deserved such a fine tribute as O’Meara has here provided.” — American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

“Thomas O’Meara’s portrait of Erich Przywara’s (1889-1972) contribution to Catholic thought in Germany between the two world wars fills a significant lacuna in the English-speaking world . . . Meara gives a well-drawn, complex, and fascinating sketch of an analyst of the moment.” — The Thomist

“This fine volume . . . takes us through the life of a tremendous, albeit overlooked, influence on much of twentieth-century thought. Erich Przywara was an astute observer of culture, a musician, philosopher, theologian and priest, and he has long deserved such a fine tribute as O’Meara has here provided.” — American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

“O’Meara clearly and effectively communicates the value of Przywara’s contributions, opening the way for further studies. This scholarly book effectively captures Przywara’s essence; highly recommended for theology and philosophy collections.” — Library Journal

“This study is important, then, for any account of the intellectual antecedents of both Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar, the two chief Germanophone Catholic writers of the last fifty years and surely the most influential theological figures in modern Catholicism generally. [A] useful resource for serious students of both the man and his ‘world.’” — Journal of Ecclesiastical History

“O’Meara . . . presents the life and achievement of the German Jesuit clearly and methodically. O’Meara’s helpful book goes beyond these truths to make a case for his subject as a genuine precursor of the Second Vatican Council.” — Religious Studies Review

“O’Meara’s study of the German Jesuit Erich Przywara (1889-1972) compels one to conclude that he must be counted as a major influence on the development of Catholic theology between the First and Second Vatican Councils." — Theological Studies

“Students of twentieth-century German theology have been aware of Przywara’s creative development of the Neo-Scholastic notion of analogia entis (the analogy of being). However, until O’Meara’s book, his wide-ranging interests and his place in German Catholic life have remained largely unknown, in part because little of his voluminous work (sixty books, over six hundred articles) has been translated. Thus this excellent work fills a gap for both theologians and historians. . . . [T]his is an important work—the first in English that informs us about the historical setting of Przywara and critiques not only Przywara’s main philosophical and theological works, but also his secondary works and secondary interests that demonstrate Przywara’s broad scope that includes poetry, music, spiritualities, and popular cultural movements.” — The Catholic Historical Review

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Thomas Aquinas, Theologian

Thomas F. O’Meara, O.P.

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Mary on the Eve of the Second Vatican Council


Edited by John C. Cavadini and Danielle M. Peters

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Work of Love

A Theological Reconstruction of the Communion of Saints

Leonard J. DeLorenzo

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Theo-Poetics

Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Risk of Art and Being

Anne M. Carpenter
Foreword by Peter J. Casarella

Erich Przywara, S.J.

His Theology and His World

Thomas F. O’Meara, O.P.
Foreword by Michael A. Fahey, S.J.

 Erich Przywara, S.J.: His Theology and His World
Cloth Edition
Paper Edition

“O’Meara masterfully situates Pryzwara in relation to the traditional and contemporary theological, philosophical, ecclesial, cultural, and social contexts within which he wrote.” —William P. Loewe, professor of religious studies, Catholic University of America

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 his 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 companion. 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 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 of person, liturgy, and church.

ISBN: 978-0-268-02763-6

272 pages

“This fine volume . . . takes us through the life of a tremendous, albeit overlooked, influence on much of twentieth-century thought. Erich Przywara was an astute observer of culture, a musician, philosopher, theologian and priest, and he has long deserved such a fine tribute as O’Meara has here provided.” — American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

“Thomas O’Meara’s portrait of Erich Przywara’s (1889-1972) contribution to Catholic thought in Germany between the two world wars fills a significant lacuna in the English-speaking world . . . Meara gives a well-drawn, complex, and fascinating sketch of an analyst of the moment.” — The Thomist

“This fine volume . . . takes us through the life of a tremendous, albeit overlooked, influence on much of twentieth-century thought. Erich Przywara was an astute observer of culture, a musician, philosopher, theologian and priest, and he has long deserved such a fine tribute as O’Meara has here provided.” — American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

“O’Meara clearly and effectively communicates the value of Przywara’s contributions, opening the way for further studies. This scholarly book effectively captures Przywara’s essence; highly recommended for theology and philosophy collections.” — Library Journal

“This study is important, then, for any account of the intellectual antecedents of both Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar, the two chief Germanophone Catholic writers of the last fifty years and surely the most influential theological figures in modern Catholicism generally. [A] useful resource for serious students of both the man and his ‘world.’” — Journal of Ecclesiastical History

“O’Meara . . . presents the life and achievement of the German Jesuit clearly and methodically. O’Meara’s helpful book goes beyond these truths to make a case for his subject as a genuine precursor of the Second Vatican Council.” — Religious Studies Review

“O’Meara’s study of the German Jesuit Erich Przywara (1889-1972) compels one to conclude that he must be counted as a major influence on the development of Catholic theology between the First and Second Vatican Councils." — Theological Studies

“Students of twentieth-century German theology have been aware of Przywara’s creative development of the Neo-Scholastic notion of analogia entis (the analogy of being). However, until O’Meara’s book, his wide-ranging interests and his place in German Catholic life have remained largely unknown, in part because little of his voluminous work (sixty books, over six hundred articles) has been translated. Thus this excellent work fills a gap for both theologians and historians. . . . [T]his is an important work—the first in English that informs us about the historical setting of Przywara and critiques not only Przywara’s main philosophical and theological works, but also his secondary works and secondary interests that demonstrate Przywara’s broad scope that includes poetry, music, spiritualities, and popular cultural movements.” — The Catholic Historical Review

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