cover of book

Traditional Truth, Poetry, Sacrament: For My Mother, on Her 70th Birthday
by Josef Pieper
translated by Dan Farrelly
St. Augustine's Press, 2019
Cloth: 978-1-58731-887-0 | Paper: 978-1-58731-888-7


Pieper collects his contributions to radio programs and to a number of journals and periodicals. The book also includes a selection of notes and comments. The contributions fall into two main groups: the period which encompasses the immediate pre-war period as well as the war period itself, and the post-war period up to 1953.The reader becomes witness, first, to Pieper’s problems with the National Socialist regime and, second, to his problems with the ensuing challenges to religious life as it is exposed to increasing secularization.

As with his later works, Pieper draws on traditional wisdom which, for him, dates back to Plato and Aristotle, and in these contributions we also see his early preoccupation with the wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas. The normal boundaries between philosophy and theology are here not clearly drawn. Pieper is preoccupied with the mystery of our world and its importance as a source of symbols signifying deeper levels of reality. He sees the sacraments as achieving their fundamental effect from divine intervention, but he also highlights the need for careful observance of the rituals, so that their meaning is not obscured. Proper execution of the sacrament should enable the faithful to enjoy the existential fruits of their participation in the ritual.  

This work manifests the organic cohesion of Pieper’s thinking, and it reflects his profound awareness of the role to be played not so much by the professional (academic) philosopher as by the existential Philosophizer.

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