German Version

September 28th 1972 - Przywara Erich
† in Murnau

Przywara came from Kattowitz (Upper Silesia). There he was born on October 12th 1889. In 1908 he became Jesuit. Since the Society of Jesus was forbidden in Germany (Kulturkampf), noviciate and education led him to Exaten and Valkenburg in the Netherlands. Here he began his arguments with different philosophical and theological authors and directions, from the patristic over the scholastic up to modern philosophers and theologians.

This immense mental horizon made Przywara a brilliant and sharp-witted observer of his time. He benefited by that as editor of the 'Stimmen der Zeit', where he worked from 1922 up to the prohibition of the magazine in 1941 by the Nazi Regime. By his numerous essays, lectures, and courses Przywara gave important and influential impulses for the Catholic world, which was in a radical change at that time. But he was known far beyond church boundaries. At the international congress of philosophers in Prague in 1934 he had the main lecture on 'Religion and Philosophy'. Close attention and solemn silence filled the hall.

In the years of the war Przywara took pastoral care of university women, and gave under most difficult conditions further lectures and sermons - not only in Munich, Berlin and Vienna. After the war a serious illness cast a shadow over his activities. From 1951 on he lived secluded in the country. He died in Murnau on September 28th 1972.

His life's work comprises more than 800 publications, of which more than fifty are monographs. His chief work appeared already in 1932 under the title 'Analogia entis'. Despite his bizarre language he was invited in the whole world to lectures - so to South America, Asia, Scandinavia. Also the poet's word was not denied to him, as his songs testify. Some of them were set to music by Father Kreitmeier.

Przywara paved the way for the ecumenical meeting. Already in 1928/29 he met in Davos professor Paul Tillich († in 1965 in Chicago). His prominent partner however was the reformist Swiss theologian Karl Barth († in 1968 in Basel).

As philosopher Przywara was specialist for phenomenology and existential philosophy. Edmund Husserl, Max Scheler, and Martin Heidegger were closely bound up with him. Here has to be mentioned also his dialogue with the Jewish religion philosopher Martin Buber († 1965 in Jerusalem). Hugo Rahner, Peter Lippert, Urs von Balthasar, Gertrud von Le Fort, Reinhold Schneider and Hermann Bahr were associated with him in mental solidarity.

Last topic of all his thinking was the 'always greater God' ('Deus semper maior'). His view of Christ was more and more accentuated by the cross. His thoughts provoked - that was intended by him - like his impulses. The human being is tremendously close to God, but God must not be drawn down by it upon the same level to a familiar 'you-to-you'. Man remains respectful and adoring before God's omnipotent greatness and its incomprehensible will. Although man knows itself saved, it remains worried by sin and always anew referred to God's mercy.


[back to Otto Syre's SJ-Calendar]

Link to 'Public Con-Spiracy for the Poor'