Eugen Biser (1918 – 2014)
Prof. Dr. phil. Dr. theol. Dr. phil. h. c. Dr. theol. h. c. Eugen Biser was a Professor for Christian Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion at the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich and one of the leading theologians of our time.
He was born on 6 January 1918 in Oberbergen in the Kaiserstuhl region of Germany.
In 1938, he embarked upon studies of Catholic Theology at the University of Freiburg to study Catholic Theology. After his studies were interrupted by the Second World War and a serious injury, he received his degree in 1946. Following his ordination as a priest, he taught a full teachers' workload of religious studies while writing his doctoral theses in Theology (1956) and Philosophy (1961); these were followed by a post-doctoral thesis (Habilitation) in fundamental theology (1965), setting him on course for a career in academia.
Between 1965 and 1969, he taught at the Philosophical and Theological College in Passau and, from 1969 to 1974, at the University of Würzburg. At the same time, he acted as Interim Professor at the Universities of Marburg, Bochum and Saarbrücken.
In 1974, he was appointed to the Romano Guardini Chair at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich (LMU), a position he held until his retirement in 1986. Until 2007, he led the University of the 3rd Age Department, which he had founded at LMU. He held Sunday evening services at the University Church of St. Ludwig. His sermons were a source of inspiration to people of all age groups and walks of life.
Eugen Biser died on 25 March 2014 at the age of 96 (Obituary in German language).
Aside from his teaching, which his innumerable guest speaking engagements extended far beyond the university, Eugen Biser also produced an extraordinary body of work of high scholarship; it comprises more than 160 monographs and a vast number of essays reflecting his broad and interdisciplinary knowledge of the material. For all the diversity of the problems addressed, Eugen Biser's main interest always lay in understanding and interpreting the Christian message through and for the human individual.
A particular thrust of his work was to guiding Christianity back to its centre. His great sensitivity for current problems, both within the Church and the world, mark him out as a future-oriented and, in the best sense of the word, a modern thinker. His visionary and innovative power extends well beyond the Christian realm, augmenting its fundamental relevance to people and to society in general.
His memberships and honours
Eugen Biser was Honorary President of the Eugen Biser Foundation, a corresponding member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences, and Dean of Class VII (Religions of the World) of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts in Salzburg, Austria.
He was an Honorary Papal Prelate, a holder of Bavaria's Maximilian Order for Science and the Arts, of the Bavarian Order of Merit, Austria's Cross of Honour for Science and the Arts, the Catholic Academy of Bavaria's Romano Guardini Prize, the Gertrud von LeFort Prize, the Peter Wust Prize and held an honorary doctorate in theology from the University of Graz and an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the Ukrainian Free University.