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Katie van Schaijik

Von Hildebrand conference in Rome

Jun. 6, 2010, at 4:08pm

I will have more to say in coming days about the conference, and some reflections inspired by our experiences in Italy and France. Meanwhile, Zenit has an article. Here is a short piece of it [bolding is mine.]

Leading Church philosophers shared a wide range of views, from the philosophical differences between Thomists and Hildebrandians to insights into spousal and romantic love. One of the most impressive speakers was Metropolitan John Zizioulas of Pergamon, Greece. An Orthodox theologian, well respected in both churches, he also heads the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Without prior knowledge of Von Hildebrand, he read “The Nature of Love” for the conference and found it to be one of the most significant books he’d ever read. In his address, he compared the book to Greek Patristic thought, examining commonalities, but mostly differences, between the two. Yet he praised many aspects of Von Hildebrand’s thought, such as his emphasis that “love alone” brings the human being into full awareness of his personal existence, that love involves “a transcendence of the human being from his self-centredness toward the other,” the importance of “beauty for love and personhood” (recalling Dostoyevsky’s words that “beauty shall save the world”), and Von Hildebrand’s emphasis on the “role of the heart in the experience of love.”


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