Rupert Lay

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Rupert Lay (born June 14, 1929 in Drolshagen , Olpe district) is a German philosopher , Catholic theologian , psychotherapist and management consultant who a. also dealt with ethics and communication .


Rupert Lay was born in the Sauerland in 1929 . His father Josef was a savings bank director, his mother Antonie a housewife. Lay passed the matriculation examination in 1952 and joined the Jesuit order in 1952 .

From the winter semester 1954 to the summer semester 1957 he studied philosophy (Lic. Phil. 1957) and psychology at the Jesuit University in Pullach . From the winter semester 1957 to the summer semester 1961 he studied Catholic theology and theoretical physics at the Philosophical-Theological University of Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt am Main . He finished his theology studies in 1961 with a licentiate in Catholic theology. In 1960 Lay was ordained a priest .

From the winter semester of 1961 onwards, he studied theoretical physics , psychology and philosophy at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn and studied business administration at the University of Hagen .

1966 Lay was working to doctrine of the transcendentals at Petrus Aureolus O.FM doctorate .

Since 1967 Lay was professor for the theory of science, natural philosophy and philosophy of language at the Jesuit College for Philosophy and Theology in Frankfurt am Main (Sankt Georgen University).

In 1967 Rupert Lay also opened a psychotherapeutic practice. Since the 1970s, he has been increasingly involved as a leader of management seminars, who was available to talk to numerous personalities from business and politics. His customers include federal ministers and CEOs of large corporations. Since 1988 Lay has also worked as a management consultant and member of the supervisory board of companies.

Since 1959 Lay has published more than 40 books, 200 articles in magazines, encyclopedias, festschriften, etc., and has held seminars around the world.

In 1996, after the book Nachkirchliches Christianentum (Post-Church Christianity) was published, his teaching permit was withdrawn and interviews were banned. His book The End of the Modern Age was banned from being published. His whereabouts in the Jesuit order was uncertain in 1996. However, Lay is still a member of the Jesuit order to this day.

In 1981 Lay received the Cross of Merit of the Eugen Moog Foundation.

From 1995 to 2003 he published the LayReport together with Norbert Copray . In 2000 he became chairman of the board of trustees of the "Fairness Foundation", which was established in the same year and of which Lay took up honorary chairmanship in 2004.

In 2004 Lay received the "German Fairness Prize" and was appointed honorary chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fairness Foundation.

Church criticism

Lay became known to the German public primarily because of his u. a. criticism of the Catholic Church based on Friedrich Nietzsche . He accuses him of devoting himself primarily to maintaining his own power. As with all institutions, concern about their preservation takes on a moment of its own. However, Lay emphasizes that he continues to feel connected to his church.



As a constructivist , Lay assumes that non-trivial dogmas can not claim any truth. He therefore rejects conventional Catholic theology, in particular Trinitarianism and the doctrine of original sin .

The philosopher Lay claims to use scientific methods to tackle questions that theologians simply present as facts. Instead of God he speaks of the "divine" in order to distance himself from the theological language, which he accuses of intellectual dishonesty. He also makes it clear that it is a "God construct", since he cannot claim any incontestable truth.

Lay's idea of ​​the divine has panentheistic traits, for example in heretics, dogmas, and prohibitions of thinking that the world is “godly”, and further that the “divine” is shown in love. Lay refers u. a. on mystic , muslim and pietistic writings.


Lay believes that the majority of Christians have always shared the Arian view because it comes closest to historical truth. Jesus Christ is his human teacher, Christianity consists exclusively in following Christ.


According to Lay, the Jesuan teaching can be summarized in the principle of biophilia (literally: love of life), which is also the core of Lay's ethics:

"Act in such a way that you increase and develop the personal (social, emotional, musical, moral, religious) life in yourself and others rather than reduce and shorten it."

- ethics for managers


Criticism among Lay's followers aroused his view that Jesus had consciously set himself apart from the Judaism of his time. Lay derives this from a contrast between Jewish “legal piety” and Jesus' teaching, which is viewed as doubtful in the light of today's historical-critical life-Jesus research .


  • 1957 - Words from over there , Munich: Pfeiffer - 31 p.
  • 1958 - worlds - where from? A picture booklet about the origin of matter , Munich: Pfeiffer - 31 p.
  • 1958 - Life - Where From? A picture booklet about the origin of life , Munich: Pfeiffer
  • 1957 - Witnesses wanted , [To picture booklet for the youth] - Munich: Pfeiffer - 31 p.
  • 1959 - Our world. Shape and interpretation , Pfeiffer
  • 1964 - On the doctrine of transcendentalism of Petrus Aureoli , Bonn (diss.)
  • 1966 - The world of fabric , Pattloch Verlag, Munich 1966, (2 volumes)
    • Volume 1: Atom, Quantum, Relativity , 1965
    • Volume 2: Space, Time, Mass , 1966
  • 1969 - Life, Being and Becoming , Pattloch Verlag, Munich 1969
  • 1970 - The Christian in the world. An encyclopedia , In responsible. Zsarb. with German and french Authors with the advisory assistant of Johannes Hirschmann. - Aschaffenburg: Pattloch.
1969 Row 2, The World We Live In. Vol. 4. Life. Essence and Becoming / Rupert Lay. - 156 pp.
1970 Series 5, The Great Truths Vol. 6b. Human developments. T. 2: The development of form and behavior / Rupert Lay. - 203 pp.
  • 1970 - future without religion? Humanize the world? A Problem for Marxism and Christianity , Verlag Walter, Olten 1970
  • 1971/73 - Basics of a Complex Theory of Science , 2 volumes, Frankfurt / Main
  • 1974 - dialectics for managers. Methods of successful attack and defense , Munich
  • 1975 - Marxism for managers. Critique of a Utopia , Munich
  • 1976 - Meditation Techniques for Managers. Methods for personality development , Munich, ISBN 3-499-17242-9
  • 1977 - manipulation through language. Rhetoric, dialectics, forensics in industry, politics and administration , Munich
  • 1978 - Guide through the word , Munich
  • 1980 - crises and conflicts. Causes, process, overcoming , Munich
  • 1981 - On a philosophical analysis of economic crises and conflicts , Mainz
  • 1981 - Credo. Paths to Christianity in Modern Society , Munich
  • The new belief in creation , Olten.
  • 1982 - The heretics. From Roger Bacon to Teilhard , Gütersloh
  • 1983 - Ethics for Economy and Politics , Munich
  • Dialectic. The art of convincing , Arbeitsgemeinschaft Dt. Speech technology. - Düsseldorf: Staniewski. - 6 audio cassettes
  • 1985 - From the meaning of life , Munich
  • 1986 - The power of words. Language systematics for managers , Munich
  • 1986 - Between Economy and Christianity , Munich
  • 1989 - The Image of Man. Psychoanalysis for Practice , Frankfurt
  • 1988 - Philosophy for Managers , Düsseldorf
  • 1989 - Ethics for Managers , Düsseldorf
  • 1989 - Communication for Managers , Düsseldorf
  • 1990 - The Power of Morals , Düsseldorf
  • 1990 - Do managers need business ethics? About the success of ethical principles in modern companies Summary of a lecture on the occasion of the Mengler Fireside Chats, an evening event by Mengler KG on October 12, 1990 in the Schlosshotel Kronberg / Taunus, publisher: Mengler KG, Darmstadt. Darmstadt: Mengler
  • 1991 - I stop time , Hildesheim
  • 1992 - How to treat each other sensibly. The image of man in dialectics , Düsseldorf
  • 1992 - About the culture of the company , Düsseldorf
  • 1993 - The Power of Immorality , Econ Executive Verlag GmbH, Düsseldorf / Vienna / New York / Moscow 1993, ISBN 3-430-15937-7
  • 1993 - Conditions of Happiness , Bernward, Hildesheim. ISBN 3-87065-749-9
  • 1994 - How to make enemies , Düsseldorf
  • 1995 - Post-Church Christianity. The living Jesus and the dying church , Düsseldorf, ISBN 3-430-15939-3
  • 1996 - Heretics, dogmas, thought prohibitions. Being a Christian today , Düsseldorf, (Ed. Ulrike Preußinger-Meiser)
  • 1996 - The end of modern times. Being human in a world without gods , Düsseldorf, ISBN 3-430-15958-X
  • 1996 - Successful life. Finding yourself , Munich: Don Bosco Medien, ISBN 3-7698-1004-X
  • 1998 - wisdom for unwise. A plea for more biophilia against sliding into an inhuman world , Econ, ISBN 3-430-15957-1
  • 2000 - character is not a handicap. Personality as an opportunity , Berlin: Urania-Verl., ISBN 3-332-01084-0
  • 2001 - Leading by the Word: Motivation; Communication; Practical leadership dialectics , Ullstein paperback, ISBN 3-548-70088-8
  • 2006 - The new honesty. Values ​​for our future , Posé, Ulf (co-author), Frankfurt am Main: Campus-Verl., ISBN 3-593-37924-4
  • 2015 - The Second Enlightenment: An Introduction to Constructivism , Monsenstein and Vannerdat, ISBN 3-9590210-3-8
  • 2017 - About the love of life: ethics in constructivism as an expression of biophilia , tredition

Essays / Interviews / Miscelles:

  • 1981 - On a philosophical analysis of economic crises and conflicts , Mainz, (Lecture series of the Landesbank Rheinland-Pfalz, issue 11)
  • 1979 - Moral and ethical limits in companies , In: MW Wilkes / GW Wilkes (ed.), Handbuch der Unternehmensführung II, Gernsbach, pp. 1319–1330.
  • 1991 - ethics in medium-sized companies. In: Wirtschaftswoche (ed.), Securing the future through strategic corporate management, Düsseldorf, pp. 233–237.
  • 1994 - We can only survive humanly with an open morality , In: Universitas, vol. 49, issue 4, pages 388–395.
  • 1994 - Moral and Power of Executives , In: Dahlems, Rolf, Handbook of Executive Management, Beck, Munich, pages 629-640.


  • 1990 - Introduction to the philosophy of science (lecture notes) , Frankfurt
  • 1994 - The end of the modern age (lecture notes) , Frankfurt
  • 1993/95 - Introduction to the philosophy of language (lecture script) , Frankfurt


  • Bernhard Stegmüller: The importance of economic issues , (Diss.) Regensburg 1992, pp. 196–261.
  • Ronneburger Kreis (ed.): The heretic. Rupert Lay and the Failure of the Church. Search for meaning in a more complex world , Econ Verlag, Düsseldorf 1996, ISBN 3-430-15782-X .
  • Ronneburger Kreis: Dictionary of Ethics by Rupert Lay , Büdingen 2002, ISBN 3-932300-09-2 .
  • Eilika Emmerlich : Rupert Lay and the Managers - A Critical Theory and its Practice , (Dissertation), Ronneburger Kreis, Großkrotzenburg 2009, 453 S., ISBN 978-3-932300-19-6 .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ronneburger Kreis (ed.): The heretic Rupert Lay and the failure of the church. Searching for meaning in a complex world . Econ, Düsseldorf 1996, ISBN 3-430-15956-3 (page 2, “ Biographical ”).
  2. ^ Lay, Rupert: Ethics for Managers, Econ Verlag 1989, 21.