German astronomer and Assyriologist, b. at Neuenkirchen near Rhine in Westphalia, 1 Dec., 1835; d. at Exaeten, Holland, 22 Aug., 1894. His parents died while he was very young, and he owed his early education to the fostering care of relations. After completing the usual gymnasium at Rheine and at Münster, he matriculated at the academy in Münster, where he devoted himself particularly to mathematics. In 1859 he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Münster and after his philosophical studies was appointed professor of mathematics and astronomy at Maria-Laach. He spent the years from 1867 to 1871 in the study of theology and was ordained priest in 1870. García Moreno, President of Ecuador, had petitioned the General of the Jesuits in the early seventies for members of the Society to form the faculty of the Polytechicum at Quito, which he had recently founded. A number of German Jesuits responded to the call, among them Epping, who set out in June, 1872, for Quito to become professor of mathematics. He quickly learned Spanish and was able to write a textbook of geometry in that language. He likewise took an active part in all the scientific work of the Fathers. The political disturbances which followed the assassination of Moreno (6 Aug., 1875) made it necessary for the Jesuits to return to Europe, and Epping arrived in Holland ion the fall of 1876. He spent the remaining years of his life at Blijenbeck, and later at Exaeten, as professor of astronomy and mathematics to younger members of his order, devoting his leisure to research and literary work.
Epping's first published volume, "Der Kreislauf im Kosmos", appeared in 1882. It was an exposition and critique of the Kant - Laplace nebular hypothesis and a refutation of the pantheistic and materialistic conclusions which had been drawn from it. His most important work, however, was begun in collaboration with Father Strassmaier who, in connection with his own studies in Assyriology, had induced him to undertake a mathematical investigation of the Babylonian astronomical observations and tables. After considerable labour the key was found. He discovered the table of differences for the new moon in one of the tablets, and identified Guttu with Mars, Sakku with Saturn, and Te-ut with Jupiter (Epping and Strassmaier in "Stimmen aus Maria-Laach", vol. 21, pp. 277-292). Eight years later he published "Astronomisches aus Babylon oder das Wissen der Chaldäer uuber den gisternten Himmel" (Freiburn im Br., 1889). This work was of much importance both from the standpoint of astronomy and chronology. It contains an exposition of the astronomy of the ancient Babylonians, worked out from their Ephemerides of the moon and the planets. This was supplemented by "Die bablyonische Berechnung des Neumondes" (Stimmen aus Maria-Laach, Vol. XXXIX, pp. 229-240). He was also the author of a number of articles in the "Zeitschrift für Assyriologie". Father Epping suffered much from ill-health during the last years of his life. He was none the less a man of untiring activity and combined geniality and a keen sense of humor with a deep and simple piety.
St Helen Holy Card
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online