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Eschmann, Ignatius T.


Dominican philosopher, theologian, and critic; b. Dusseldorf, Nov. 13, 1898; d. Toronto, April 11, 1968. After completing his studies at the Hohenzollern Gymnasium in Dusseldorf in 1916 he was ordered to the trenches as a machine gunner until the end of the First World War, when he was honorably discharged. He joined the Dominican Order and made profession on May 19, 1920. He was sent to Rome to study philosophy and theology at the Angelicum, where he was ordained to the priesthood on July 12, 1925, and where he obtained his doctorate and taught moral philosophy until 1936, gaining the reputation of being a good teacher and a very persuasive preacher. When pius xi's encyclical Mit brennender Sorge appeared on March 4, 1937, he promulgated its contents as cathedral preacher in Cologne, and found himself at odds with both the police and the German hierarchy. He was ultimately arrested by the civil police and incarcerated in Cologne until the fall of 1938, when he was released and made his way to Canada.

In Ottawa he collaborated with the Canadian Dominicans in preparing the piana edition of the Summa theologiae of St. thomas aquinas, his particular contribution being the sources provided by that edition (1941). Until the end of the war he was under constant surveillance by the Canadian police and suspected by the French Canadian Dominicans as an enemy alien. Invited to join the staff of Laval University, Quebec, he taught for only one year (193940), becoming embroiled in a controversy with Cardinal Villeneuve and Charles De Koninck. In 1942 he joined the philosophy department of St. Michael's College and the faculty of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto. He became a Canadian citizen in Dec. 1945 and devoted the rest of his life to teaching graduate students the riches of St. Thomas and a critical, historical approach to the study of moral philosophy. He pioneered many ideas which have since become part of Catholic scholarship.

Bibliography: l. k. shook, "Ignatius Eschmann, O.P., 18981968," Mediaeval Studies 30 (1968) vix. i. t. eschmann, The Ethics of Saint Thomas Aquinas: Two Courses, ed. e. a. synan (Toronto 1997).

[j. a. weisheipl]

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