Conference to explore work of Catholic philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand


This upcoming May at the University of Santa Croce in Rome, a conference will be held to celebrate the renowned 20th century philosopher, Dietrich von Hildebrand, and explore one of his seminal works that was published in English for the first time last year.

“Our conference,” said John Henry Crosby, founder of the Hildebrand Legacy Project, “seeks to explore the question, 'what is love?' By bringing together philosophers, theologians, psychologists, doctors, scientists, writers, and artists to unpack the original insights of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s most important philosophical work, The Nature of Love.”

“We want to think deeply about what love is, what it is not, and how we can all learn to live it more deeply,” Crosby said.

The Hildebrand Legacy Project was founded in 2004 by John Henry Crosby with the help of his father, Franciscan University professor John F. Crosby, Dr. Alice von Hildebrand and friend Anthony Gualandri as an initiative “to promote the thought and spirit of Dietrich Von Hildebrand by preserving his memory and disseminating his writings, especially in the English speaking world.”

As part of this effort, the project is holding a conference in Rome May 27-29, 2010 for the purpose of discussing Dietrich von Hildebrand's work, “The Nature of Love,” published in 2009 for the first time in English.

“Pope John Paul II famously wrote that 'Man cannot live without love,'” Crosby told CNA, going on to finish the quote, 'He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.'

“If our conference has a premise,” he continued, “then there could be no better summary of it than these words of John Paul. For this very reason, the question of the nature of love is unavoidable. Love may be the most central human reality, that without which we cannot live, yet it is also enormously vulnerable to false conceptions.”

Anthony Gualandri, co-founder of the Hildebrand Legacy Project, told CNA that they are anticipating 300-500 people in attendance.

Pope Benedict XVI has taken an active interest in the Hildebrand Legacy Project, not only holding audiences in the past with John Henry Crosby and Alice von Hildebrand, the late philosopher's wife, but also giving a $45,000 Papal Foundation grant to the organization. Crosby has previously said that the Holy Father considers Dietrich von Hildebrand a voice of reason in an age that has largely despaired of reason.

The conference will be broadcast May 27-29 via their website

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