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Pegis, Anton Charles


Philosopher, educator, editor; b. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Aug. 24, 1905; d. Toronto, Canada, May 13, 1978. He received a B.A. in 1928 and an M.A in 1929 from Marquette University. In 1929 Pegis entered the Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto, where he studied under Etienne Gilson and Gerald Phelan, and in 1931 received the Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Toronto. He lectured at Marquette from 1931 to 1937 and at Fordham University from 1937 until 1944, when he returned to the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto as professor of the history of philosophy. He also taught as professor in the graduate department of philosophy at the University of Toronto.

Pegis served as president of the Pontifical Institute from 1946 to 1952 and subsequently became editorial director of the Catholic textbook division of Doubleday and Company in New York. He remained a fellow of the institute, returning to Toronto to teach full time from 1961 until his retirement in 1974. In his last years he supervised the new Graduate Center of Thomistic Studies at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas, and lectured there on the philosophies of St. Thomas, Husserl, and Heidegger. Pegis was elected president of the American Catholic Philosophical Association in 1946 and in 1975 received its Aquinas Medal.

Pegis readily accepted the notion of Christian philosophy proposed by Pope Leo XIII in aeterni patris. He defended the rationality of philosophy and thought that Christian revelation, far from destroying that rationality, strengthened and deepened it. Though Pegis's research and writing in the history of philosophy and his own philosophical reflections touched upon many topics, his focus was the Augustinian themes of God and the soul.

To Pegis, the philosophy of St. Thomas appeared as the finest example of Christian philosophy. He saw Thomism as first and foremost a theology, one that employed philosophy as its handmaiden. The modern Thomist, he insisted, accepts the task of creating an autonomous philosophy true to the philosophical principles of Aquinas in a dialogue with contemporary philosophers and scientists that is open to the light of Christian revelation.

See Also: thomism.

Bibliography: Essays in Honour of Anton Charles Pegis, ed. j. r. o'donnell (Toronto 1974) 916. a. c. pegis, St. Thomas and the Problem of the Soul in the 13th Century (Toronto 1934); St. Thomas and the Greeks (Milwaukee 1939); Basic Writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, tr., 2 v. (New York 1945); Introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas, tr. (New York 1948); The Wisdom of Catholicism, ed. (New York 1949); St. Thomas Aquinas: On the Truth of the Catholic Faith, Book One: God, tr. (Garden City, NY 1955); A Gilson Reader, ed. (Garden City, NY 1957); Christian Philosophy and Intellectual Freedom (Milwaukee 1960); At the Origins of the Thomistic Notion of Man (New York 1963); The Middle Ages and Philosophy (Chicago 1963); St. Thomas and Philosophy (Milwaukee 1964).

[a. a. maurer]

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