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Kleutgen, Joseph


Philosopher and theologian; b. Dortmund, April 9, 1811; d. Kaltern (Tyrol), Jan. 13, 1883. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1834, taking the name Peters to avoid conflict with the Prussian government. From 1837 until 1843 he taught ethics at the University of Freiburg. Many consider Kleutgen responsible for the restoration of the use of the scholastic method in German Catholic philosophical and theological circles. His Die Theologie der Vorzeit (3 v. Münster 185360) and Die Philosophie der Vorzeit (2 v. Münster 186063) are representative works. While inveighing against the errors of G. hermes, A. gÜnther, and J. frohschammer, and repudiating the philosophies of I. kant, G. W. F. hegel, and F. schelling, these studies set forth Catholic principles of philosophy and theology in the traditional scholastic form, especially as interpreted and employed by F. suÄrez. During vatican council i Kleutgen served as theologian for the bishop of Paderborn and took part in the formulation of the dogmatic constitution De fide catholica. In 1878 Leo XIII named him prefect of studies and professor of dogmatic theology at the Gregorian University in Rome. It is said that Kleutgen was instrumental in the composition of the first draft of the famous encyclical on the doctrine of St. Thomas, aeterni patris, issued by Leo XIII in 1879. He was able to complete only the first of his projected eight-volume work entitled Institutiones theologicae, namely, De ipso Deo (Regensburg 1881).

[c. r. meyer]

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