9 December 2014

Professor Peter Geach

There is to be an Anniversary Requiem in the Traditional Roman Rite for the late Professor Peter Geach. It will be at S Bede's, Clapham Park, at noon on Saturday December 20.

Many readers will be aware that Geach was a philosopher of distinction; he converted to Catholicism in the early 1940s while reading Greats at Oxford ... and married a no less distinguished philosopher, Elizabeth Anscombe, who also converted while reading Greats. The Geaches formed a last link with one of the principal philosophers of the twentieth century, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and helped to ensure that he had a priest at his bedside and received a Catholic burial. Quorum omnium animabus propitietur Deus.

Fuit Oxonia. Non sumus quales eramus ...

In reply to a query on the thread ... the young Geach did indeed proclaim King Robert I & IV, in 1937, standing on the steps of the Martyrs' Memorial, wearing his scholar's gown and doffing his academic cap. He was not arrested. Not even by a stray passing bulldog. Newspapers as far afield as Texas and the Malay Straits as well as in England covered the event. It would be very jolly to know whom the fifty-odd gathering of undergraduates included.

2 comments:

_ said...

Does anyone know if there is any truth to the story that a young Peter Geach - who is alleged to have lifelong Jacobite sympathies - "famously proclaimed King Rupert on Magdalen Bridge in 1936, and was duly arrested" (SOURCE).

Luke Gormally said...

My late father-in-law, Professor Peter Geach, was received into the Church in 1938, in his final year at Balliol. My late mother-in-law, Professor Elizabeth Anscombe, was received into the Church that same year, towards the close of her first year at St Hugh's. Each received instruction from Fr Richard Kehoe OP, though they did not meet until after their reception into the Church; the meeting occurred on the occasion of the Corpus Christi procession at the then Servite Priory at Begbroke.
For an interesting account of Peter Geach's time at Balliol see the obituary by Sir Anthony Kenny in the current Balliol College Record.
Luke Gormally.