Sunday, September 9, 2007

Dietrich von Hildebrand - Published Works

Transformation in Christ: On the Christian Attitude
Ignatius Press; New Ed edition (August 2001)

Recognized as a modern spiritual classic and perhaps Dietrich von Hildebrand's greatest work, this sublime and practical study gives a penetrating analysis of the true path to holiness for those who love Christ. The first requisite is the person's desire for change, and with that fundamental attitude in mind, von Hildebrand devotes a chapter to each of the successive spiritual attitudes necessary for those who strive for Christian perfection. The Beatitudes are treated with beauty and depth in an uncompromising challenge to every serious Christian to put into practice these teachings of Christ.
The Heart: An Analysis of Human and Divine Affectivity
Edited by John Henry Crosby; Preface by John Haldane; Introduction by John F. Crosby; Edmund Husserl on Dietrich von Hildebrand.
St. Augustines Press; New Ed edition (April 20, 2007)

This new edition of The Heart (out of print for nearly 30 years) is the flagship volume in a series of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s works to be published by St. Augustine’s Press in collaboration with the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project. Founded in 2004, the Legacy Project ( exists in the first place to translate the many German writings of von Hildebrand into English.

While many revere von Hildebrand as a religious author, few realize that he was a philosopher of great stature and importance. Those who knew von Hildebrand as philosopher held him in the highest esteem. Louis Bouyer, for example, once said that “von Hildebrand was the most important Catholic philosopher in Europe between the two world wars.” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger expressed even greater esteem when he said: “I am personally convinced that, when, at some time in the future, the intellectual history of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century is written, the name of Dietrich von Hildebrand will be most prominent among the figures of our time.”

The Heart is an accessible yet important philosophical contribution to the understanding of the human person. In this work von Hildebrand is concerned with rehabilitating the affective life of the human person. He thinks that for too long philosophers have held it in suspicion and thought of it as embedded in the body and hence as being much inferior to intellect and will. In reality, he argues, the heart, the center of affectivity, has many different levels, including an eminently personal level; at this level affectivity is just as important a form of personal life as intellect and will. Von Hildebrand develops the idea that properly personal affectivity, far than tending away from an objective relation to being, is in fact one major way in which we transcend ourselves and give being its due. Von Hildebrand also developed the important idea that the heart “in many respects is more the real self of the person than his intellect or will.”

At the same time, the author shows full realism about the possible deformities of affective life; he offers rich analyses of what he calls affective atrophy and affective hypertrophy. The second half of The Heart offers a remarkable analysis of the affectivity of the God-Man.