Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This dissertation deals with the work of a man who was destined to play a leading role in the philosophical movement known as Neo-Scholasticism. His name is perhaps not so familiar and inspiring as that of Cardinal Mercier, but his sphere of influence is sufficiently extensive, especially in his native land, to warrant my attempt at a comprehensive presentation and interpretation of his works.

It may come as a surprise that this thesis should be written in America rather than in Germany where Clemens Baeumker had a great number of students and friends. Yet the ex­planation is not difficult to find. Letters which I received from those who kept in close contact with Professor Baeumker during his life are enthusiastic about his permanent contribu­tions to the cause of the Catholic revival in philosophy which followed the issuing of the encyclical Aeterni Patris in 1879. All my correspondents assert, however, that the times have become very unfavorable for the full appreciation of scholars such as Baeumker was. They welcome, therefore, my plan to give a biographical, historical and critical account of this pioneer and champion of Christian philosophy. In a spirit of gratitude to Catholic America they wish me success in my enterprise. Indeed, I must confess that without their generous su1port I should never have ventured to attempt this dissertation.

First, biographical material had to be gathered, most of it coming from private sources hitherto unavailable Then I had to engage in an historical investigation of Baeumker's major and minor works. In doing so it was necessary for me to give English translations which would render as faithfully as possible both the antiquarian nature of the text and Baeumker's heavy style. Here lies, I admit, my greatest weakness Baeumker is above all a master of research in ancient and medieval philoso­phy. Method and content in these broad fields require the combined knowledge and skill of the philologist, the historian and the philosopher. Since I cannot lay claim to such multiple expertness, I must beg my examiners to have patience with me whenever my English proves faulty, particularly as I am a new­ comer to the language as well as to the country.

This dissertation aims at depicting and evaluating the achievements of Baeumker as he traced new paths for the progress of Neo-Scholasticism. It is true that he did so chiefly by means of compendious historical treatises which often lead us along the hidden by-ways of medieval thought. His purpose, however, is clear; he wished to show the vast number and the actuality of its problems. Baeumker was never content with mere archaeological explorations but always intent upon demonstrating the organic relationship of the past and the present. Thus he revealed himself also as a systematic thinker who never lost sight of main issues.

We certainly are indebted to Professor Grabmann for stress­ing the systematic aspect of his predecessor's work, an aspect to which several critics here and abroad have raised objections I shall make it a special point to state explicitly that the historian and the systematizer belong together in Baeumker as well as in Gilson or Maritain. This is not done to join an is­sue but simply to make a relevant comparison in the spirit of true scholarship.



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