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In a time when Christianity is often taken for a collection of repressive rules and archaic strictures, Dan Farelley’s new translation of Josef Pieper’s The Christian Idea of Man is refreshing and timely.

Pieper’s essay reads as a meditation or homily on Meister Eckhart’s simple imperative: “People should not think so much about what they ought to do,
they should think about what they ought to be.”

In this slim volume, Pieper tries to give us eyes for the rich
Christian vision of man found in St. Thomas, written in his famously terse
prose, an austere style close Nazi censorship forced him to develop:

“ . . . ethics is about the right conception of man. Naturally  it is also concerned with doing, duties, commandments, and sins. But its primary object, which is the foundation of everything else is: man’s proper existence, the image of the good person. The answer to the question about the Christian exemplar for man can be given in a single sentence. It can be expressed exhaustively in a single word: Christ.”

Anyone seeking a helpful introduction to the philosophical reflections of Pieper’s Christian virtue-ethics would do well to pick up a copy.

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