On Productivity

In an interview, Meinold Krauss asked Karl Rahner how he was able to achieve his vast bibliography. Rahner responded:

You see, I’ve always gone to bed early and gotten up relatively early. I’ve had few hobbies. I was neither a mountain climber nor a photographer, nor did I lead an intense social life. So if you spend your days in a certain eremetical way of life, then you don’t need to get up very early or work late at night, and if God gives you the opportunity, you can work calm and undisturbed, and very easily do the work that I did. This has not been so tragic.1

This is perhaps a more detailed look into a previous description Rahner had given regarding his work habits. In an interview with Patrick Granfield in October 1965, Rahner famously explained,

I have not written so much when you consider the works of Saint Thomas, Suarez, and others. I have no special method. I just sit down and write. Some days I write nothing.2


  1. Rahner, Karl. I Remember: An Autobiographical Interview with Meinold Krauss. New York: Crossroad, 1985, p. 61.
  2. Rahner, Karl. Karl Rahner in Dialogue: Conversations and Interviews, 1965-1982. Edited by Paul Imhof and Hubert Biallowons. Translated by Harvey D. Egan. New York: Crossroad, 1986, p. 11.
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