John Paul II’s Gamble with ‘the Meaning of Life’

Studia Gilsoniana 10 (3):491-515 (2021)
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One of John Paul II’s remarkable innovations was his embrace of the question of “the meaning of life.” The question of “the meaning of life” was never asked before the 19th century, and it was slow to be integrated into Catholic discourse. When the question of life’s meaning emerged, it effectively replaced a prior question, about the purpose or te-los of life, with a very different set of theoretical assumptions. From the traditional per-spective, the question of life’s meaning is highly suspicious, and even Pope John Paul II’s unparalleled embrace of the question confirms that he framed his personalism in terms of the older question of life’s purpose or telos.

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Joshua P. Hochschild
Mount St. Mary's University


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