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Mey, Gustav


Pastoral theologian; b. Neukirch, Württemberg, July 2, 1822; d. Schwörzkirch, June 22, 1877. After studying philosophy and theology at Tübingen, he was ordained in 1847. He took up pastoral work at Schwörzkirch (Oberschwaben) in 1858. His principal writing is Vollständigen Katechesen für die untere Klasse der katholische Volksschule (Freiburgim-Breisgau 1871, many later eds.).

Three achievements mark Mey as one of the most important and controversial catechists of the 19th century. (1) In his Katechesen he introduced organically structured teaching units, and this started the transition to catechetics involving separate lessons. His "learning pieces," as he called them, represent a synthesis of the "question-and-answer method" based upon "Biblical catechesis" as taken in the sense of B. Overberg, J. Hirscher, B. Galura, and A. Gruber. This is manifested also in his published works insofar as he follows Hirscher and the scholastic tradition. (2) Having an extensive appreciation for the liturgy, Mey deems active participation in the Mass to be the guiding concept for establishing the whole liturgy. (3) On the basis of a vivid insight into the meaning of the historical character of revelation, he saw it as the function of the kerygmatic teacher in the present to strive to present the basic events in the divine economy of salvation in a manner in which they can be grasped as real events. According to Mey, the catechist must take a general view of every Biblical fact and seek to see its meaning and place in the plan for communicating and developing the work of salvation. This, according to Mey, is the procedure whereby a definite doctrinal aim is achieved and the teaching itself becomes truly fruitful for the advance of faith and the life that comes from faith. The Mey-Pichler Method is so called because it is the Mey method as developed by W. Pichler.

Bibliography: l. lentner, et al., eds., Katechetisches Wörterbuch (Freiburg 1961). h. kreutzwald, Zur Geschichte des biblischen Unterrichts und zur Formgeschichte des biblischen Schulbuches (Freiburg 1957). w. haerten, Lexikon der Pädagogik, ed. h. rombach, 4 v. (3d ed. Freiburg 1962) 3:482.

[f. c. lehner]

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