Gomperz, Theodor

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GOMPERZ, THEODOR (1832–1912), Austrian classical philologist and historian of ancient philosophy. He was born in Bruenn, Moravia. From 1873 to 1901 Gomperz was professor of classical philology at the University of Vienna, and in 1882 was elected to the Academy of Sciences. His Griechische Denker, 3 vols. (1896–1909), is a monumental work which sets Greek philosophy, from its beginnings until after Aristotle, within the context of a history of science and of the general development of ancient civilization. This work has been translated into many languages and is considered one of the basic works in its field. The author's empiricist-positivist bias is evident throughout. Gomperz, also active in public affairs and politics, served as a Liberal member of the Austrian upper house. In Jewish affairs, he took an extreme assimilationist stand and was violently opposed to Herzl and Zionism. His biography, letters, and notes were published by his son Heinrich as Briefe und Aufzeichnungen (1936). heinrich (1873–1942) was also a philosopher. He was baptized and was a professor in Vienna until 1934 when he was compelled to retire because of his refusal to join Dolfuss' Fatherland Front. In 1938 he emigrated to the U.S. In addition to the biography of his father, he published a new edition of his father's Griechische Denker (1922–31). He published a comprehensive study of Greek philosophy, Die Lebensauffassung der griechischen Philosophen und das Ideal der inneren Freiheit (1904), and Philosophical Studies (1953, edited by D.S. Robinson), which is a psychoanalytical study of Parmenides and Socrates.


theodor gomperz:

Neue Deutsche Biographie, 6 (1964); Oesterreichisches Biographisches Lexikon. heinrich gomperz: Topitsch, in: Wiener Zeitschrift fuer Philosophie, Psychologie und Paedagogik, 5 (1954–55), 1–6; W. Ziegenfuss (ed.), Philosophen-Lexikon, 1 (1949). add. bibliography: R.A. Kann, Theodor Gomperz – Ein Gelehrtenleben in der Franz-Josefs-Zeit (1974); A. Weinberg, Theodor Gomperz and John Stuart Mill (1963).

[Otto Immanuel Spear]

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