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v2.1 Reference

Destined for Liberty

The Human Person in the Philosophy of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II

In this compelling new work, Jaroslaw Kupczak, O.P., presents a complete introduction to John Paul II's theory of the human person. Both enlightening and accessible, the book traces the development of Karol Wojtyla's theology from his earlier and lesser-known writings—The Habilitation Thesis and Lublin Lectures—to his more popular writings—Love and Responsibility and The Acting Person. The author finds that Wojtyla is a remarkably consistent thinker. Unlike many of his contemporaries, his thought has never undergone any intellectual revolution or change. His earlier writings thus make possible a fuller appreciation of the more popular texts and Papal encyclicals.

Throughout the entire book, the author patiently guides the reader through the complexity of Wojtyla's thought. Kupczak presents analytical commentary of Wojtyla's key philosophical texts, most of which are still not available in English. Given his access to the original Polish texts, he provides a missing link between the moral teaching of John Paul II and the early stages of his intellectual career.

Kupczak carefully examines the main sources of Wojtyla's moral theory: the mystical theology of St. John of the Cross, the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, and modern phenomenology, especially that of Max Scheler. Among the key anthropological concepts presented and analyzed are: ethical values and human freedom, the relation between freedom and truth, the conscience and consciousness, the human body, and the process of human cognition.


Jaroslaw Kupczak, O.P., is rector and professor of theology at the Dominican House of Studies in Cracow, Poland. He has written numerous articles popularizing the philosophy and theology of Karol Wojtyla.


"A comprehensive study of the origins of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II's philosophical anthropology. . . . This work as a whole is a marvelously detailed philosophical handbook of history and terminology that cuts a scenic path through the seminal thought of Pope John Paul II. It is particularly valuable to the English/non-Polish-speaking world, as most of the early works of this formidable figure are only available in Polish. Kupczak's philosophical mastery and painstaking scholarship combine to make this book an invaluable resource. . . . In Wojtyla, and Kupczak's illumination of him, we have an intelligent and articulate exposition of what will be perhaps the most successful response to the mid-century crisis of the understanding of the human person. . . . This work represents the first comprehensive philosophical treatment of Karol Wojtyla's early work that is focused on freedom and efficient causality for the English-speaking world with special attention to the continuity between early philosophical benchmarks and later papal encyclicals. Since one of Kupczak's overarching themes is the intellectual consistency of his subject, Wojtyla's earliest intellectual formation and rapid maturity are thus thrust into the forefront. . . . For all those interested in the genius of John Paul II, Jaroslaw Kupczak is a name to watch for, in Polish, English, or any other language in which he chooses to write."—Jean C. Butler, The Thomist

"The single most accessible exposition of what Karol Wojtyla means by phenomenology and how he came to form his views on related questions. . . ."—Michael Novak, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research

The Catholic University of America Press

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