"Being precedes Truth, and ... Truth precedes the Good."
The Four Cardinal Virtues
"Modern religious teaching have little or nothing to say about the place of prudence in life or in the hierarchy of virtues."
The Four Cardinal Virtues
"The truth is the good of our knowing mind, upon which the mind fixes itself by nature; it is not granted to the mind to choose or not choose that good (truth!) on the basis, again, of knowledge. The finite mind does not comprehend itself so profoundly, and does not have such power over itself, that it follows its own light."
The Four Cardinal Virtues
"The eye of perfected friendship with God is aware of deeper dimensions of reality, to which the eyes of the average man and the average Christian are not yet opened."
The Four Cardinal Virtues
"Justice is a habit (habitus), whereby a man renders to each one his due with constant and perpetual will."
The Four Cardinal Virtues
(ˈpiːpɐ; May 4, 1904 – November 6, 1997) was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...
philosopher, at the forefront of the Neo-Thomistic wave in twentieth century Catholic philosophy. Among his most notable works are The Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance
; 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
The Problem of Pain is a 1940 book by C. S. Lewis, in which he seeks to provide an intellectual Christian response to questions about suffering...
, into German.
Life and career
Pieper studied philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...
at the universities of Berlin and Münster. After working as a sociologist and freelance writer, he became ordinary professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...
of philosophical anthropology
Philosophical anthropology is a discipline dealing with questions of metaphysics and phenomenology of the human person, and interpersonal relationships. It is the attempt to unify disparate ways of understanding behaviour of humans as both creatures of their social environments and creators of...
at the University of Münster
The University of Münster is a public university located in the city of Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. The WWU is part of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, a society of Germany's leading research universities...
, 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
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...
of Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...
and in the teachings of Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...
. 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
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...
. 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
The International Balzan Prize Foundation awards four annual monetary prizes to people or organisations who have made outstanding achievements in the fields of humanities, natural sciences, culture, as well as for endeavours for peace and the brotherhood of man.-Rewards and assets:Each year the...
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.
Select publications in English
- Leisure, the Basis of Culture. Translated by Alexander Dru. With an introduction by T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...
. London:Faber and Faber
Faber and Faber Limited, often abbreviated to Faber, is an independent publishing house in the UK, notable in particular for publishing a great deal of poetry and for its former editor T. S. Eliot. Faber has a rich tradition of publishing a wide range of fiction, non fiction, drama, film and music...
, 1952. (Originally Muße und Kult. München:Kösel-Verlag, 1948). New translation by Gerald Malsbary. South Bend:St. Augustine's Press, 1998. ISBN 1890318353.
- Leisure, the Basis of Culture and The Philosophical Act. Translated by Alexander Dru. With an introduction by James V. Schall, SJ. San Francisco:Ignatius Press, 2009. 143pp. ISBN 9781586172565
- The End of Time: a meditation on the philosophy of history. Translated by Michael Bullock. New York:Pantheon Books
Pantheon Books is an American imprint with editorial independence that is part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.The current editor-in-chief at Pantheon Books is Dan Frank.-Overview:...
, 1954. (Originally Uber das Ende der Zeit). Reprinted New York:Octagon Books, 1982. ISBN 0374964475. Reprinted San Francisco:Ignatius Press
Ignatius Press, named for Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, is a Catholic publishing house based in San Francisco, California, USA. It was founded in 1978 by Father Joseph Fessio SJ, a Jesuit priest and former pupil of Pope Benedict XVI...
, 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:St. Augustine's Press, 1998. ISBN 1890318310.
- The Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance. Notre Dame, Ind., 1966. ISBN 9780268001032. Translations originally 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: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: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:St. Augustine's Press, 1999. ISBN 1890318337
- Death and Immortality. Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York:Herder & Herder
Verlag Herder is a publishing company started by the Herders, a German family. The company focuses primarily on Catholic topics of ecclesiology, Christian mysticism, women's studies, and the development of younger Catholic theologians.-Bartholomäus Herder:...
; London:Burns & Oates
Burns & Oates is a British Roman Catholic publishing house which now exists as an imprint of Continuum. It was founded by James Burns in 1835, originally as a bookseller...
, 1969. (Originally Tod und Unsterblichkeit. Munich:Kösel-Verlag, 1968.). Reissued South Bend: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.)
- In Search of the Sacred: Contributions to An Answer, San Francisco:Ignatius Press, 1991. ISBN 9780898703016
- Josef Pieper: An Anthology, San Francisco:Ignatius Press, 1989. A translation of Josef Pieper: Lesebuch; 2nd ed., Munich:Kösel-Verlag, 1984. First edition 1981. ISBN 9780898702262