Graven Images: Substitutes for True Morality
Dietrich von Hildebrand provides a uniquely in-depth and astute analysis of the many ways we substitute false idols (the “graven images”) for true Christian morality. This is not a simple book on the differences between good and evil; most people do not replace true morality with pure evil, but with some other “extramoral” good, like “respectability” or “honor.” Hildebrand guides us through these false alternatives, helping to show both what is good in them, but also where they fall short of the uniqueness of true Christian morality.
In our everyday experience, we are confronted with facts that pretend to be but are not true moral forms. Much of what we call morals are in reality substitutes for true morality. Precisely this fact makes it so difficult to perceive what true morality is in itself.Rocco Buttiglione | From the Foreword
Reviews & Commentary
From scholars, students, and readers
The reader of this work will be pleased to find himself seeing with a new light into a phenomenon that without question dominates our age.
Maria Fedorykain The Review of Metaphysics
Hildebrand offers a really helpful discussion of true morality and ‘extramoral’ goods. His account is both theoretically robust and practically rich.
Hildebrand highlights how the ethical imperative, written on the human conscience, is an inherently spiritual one, a manifestation of the ‘task that can never be concluded on earth’. Therefore, the moral sphere is anything but enclosed, prescriptive for its own sake, insular or dictatorial.
Rebekah Lambin New Blackfriars
You simply can’t read enough Hildebrand. If you think you have, read another volume again. There is simply so much truth to absorb, and he is so necessary for today.
Dan ShefflerAmazon Review
This promising volume investigates concepts which may provide guidelines along which people can function in society, but which may fall short of genuine morality, such as honor. Many novels show the holes in accepted bourgeois conventions – this work does so from a philosophical angle, with many vivid examples taken from Russian literature, especially Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. It will surely be thought-provoking, even as it may incite debate!
Illuminating on today’s contemporary world.
Taylor B.Amazon Review
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