A Summary of Faith, Hope, and Love by Josef Pieper
About the Author
Josef Pieper first came to the attention of American readers when T.S. Eliot wrote the preface to the English translation of Pieper’s Leisure the Basis of Culture. In addition to this work, Pieper has composed numerous short books while on the faculty of the University of Munster. By using St. Thomas as a basis, Pieper addresses philosophical topics dear to all readers by using language not as removed from modern language as St. Thomas. Pieper simplifies difficult philosophical thought into practical wisdom. This simplification of the complicated to the practical is seen in this work on Faith, Hope, and Love.
In his work entitled Faith, Hope, & Love, Josef Pieper established a philosophical foundation for the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love. This is a culmination of three different works written at separate times on the theological virtues. In regards to faith, he expounds on the necessary means of belief in order to makes faith in the highest being possible. In regards to hope, he shows how man is a pilgrim on earth and by his nature seeks something beyond his nature. In love, man finds a reflection of the love shown by God to man in numerous different ways in the world but they should ultimately lead man back to God. The philosophical basis for supernatural virtues is shown, but so is their necessity, in God.
“He who wishes to learn must believe” – Aristotle
Pieper lays his foundation for a natural concept of faith. He first speaks on belief in which his concept of belief is solidified. In his first definition of belief, Pieper says, “Belief means that we think a statement true and consider the stated matter real, objectively existent.” In order to believe something, however, man must first possess some knowledge of the subject matter of belief. The believer is distinguished from the knower in that the believer believes in the subject without complete knowledge of the subject. The believer regards the subject in a different manner, as true and real without the experience of the knower. Thomas Aquinas articulates this same idea as follows, “Belief cannot refer to something that one sees . ...