Peachey, Paul 1918-

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PEACHEY, Paul 1918-


Born October 10, 1918, in Elk Lick, PA; son of Shem (a farmer and minister) and Saloma (Bender) Peachey; married Ellen Shenk, June 10, 1945; children: Barbara Peachey Piekarski, Janet, Carl, George, James. Ethnicity: "Swiss/German." Education: Attended Eastern Mennonite College, 1945, University of Pennsylvania, 1945, University of Basel, 1948, University of Frankfurt, 1949, and Sorbonne, University of Paris, 1952; University of Zurich, Dr. Phil., 1954. Politics: Independent. Religion: Mennonite. Hobbies and other interests: Music, gardening, reading, travel.


Home—1285 Shank Dr., No. 212, Harrisonburg, VA 22802. E-mail—[email protected].


Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, PA, worked in Europe and Asia, 1945-60; Church Peace Mission, Washington, DC, executive secretary, 1961-67; Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, associate professor of sociology, 1967-87; Rolling Ridge Study Retreat Community, Harpers Ferry, WV, study director, 1981-91. Eastern Mennonite University, assistant professor, 1953-57; Washington Center for Metropolitan Studies, fellow, 1967-69. War-Nation-Church Study Group, Washington, DC, secretary, 1967-87; organizer of a research project in Vienna, Austria, 1975-83; Institute for Peace and Understanding, member and past chair. Citizens Planning Council for the Fort Lincoln New Town, member, 1968-69; Friendship Citizens Association, chair, 1979-81; Washington Hospital Center, member of institutional review board, 1985-88; FORUM for the Common Good, past member.


American Sociological Society, Society for Christian Ethics.


(Senior editor) The Place of the Person in Social Life, Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (Washington, DC), 1991.

Leaving and Clinging: The Human Significance of the Conjugal Union, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 2001.

Contributor to books. Contributor to academic journals.


Editing his memoirs; a project on cosmology/soteriology.


Paul Peachey told CA: "Writing has been part and extension of a vocation in research and teaching in sociology and ethics. In later life my writing impulse has been strengthened by a growing sense of inter-generational accountability in life learning.

"I live and work as a Christian, a commitment which to me means both affirmation and sublation of our 'earthly' existence. I am indebted to the research and writing of countless others, both secular and religious, recognizing the potential for idolatry in all schemes and theories, including my own. Christian faith has to do with 'God in search of man,' as Rabbi Heschel wrote, thus with the teleology that the sciences eschew. Much of my work lies at the interface between the processes of nature and the life of faith; hence, also in the interplay of character with contingency in the life process.

"My writing process is hardly orderly. By the nature of the case—or just my makeup—my writing tends to be convoluted, though I wish it were otherwise. After struggling with an issue and immersing myself in the pertinent data and/or literature, I have to await an organizing inspiration whose emergence I cannot directly precipitate.

"My most recent work, Leaving and Clinging: The Human Significance of the Conjugal Union, emerged over many years. The problems of community in modernization and urbanization engaged me for decades, in both natural and religious perspectives. Eventually I discovered the seminal significance in human affairs of the 'leaving and clinging' formula that is stated archetypally in book of Genesis. Consanguinity/tribalism is sublated in this recurring human process, thus at once completing the human individual and engendering society. Accordingly, the pro duction of human reality in its own right is the warranty for human repro duction, contrary to the primacy traditionally accorded to the latter."