Hildebrand Project reading groups provide an excellent gateway into the life and work of Dietrich von Hildebrand. Exploring his thought as a philosopher, theologian, and spiritual master, our reading groups offer something for readers of any familiarity.
These philosophical reading groups are discussion-focused and necessitate close reading of the selected books by all participants. Over the course of 3–4 weeks (one hour, once per week), you will be led by one of our scholars into deep, lively explorations of the chosen text. These events are free to attend, but space is limited to 20 participants per group. For this reason, active attendance is requested. To keep the intimacy of the course intact and to encourage your continued engagement, recordings of the sessions are not made available for any reason.
We hope that you will join our upcoming reading groups, seen below. To learn more about each of Hildebrand’s texts, please visit our Hildebrand Press site and download sample chapters today.
Reading Group Types
We are pleased to offer three different reading group types to the Hildebrand Project community:
1. Lecture-Based Groups
Our newest reading group type, these groups are for people with any level of familiarity with the work of personalists like Hildebrand, Edith Stein, and Karol Wojtyla. In these groups, the material is presented by a scholar through a series of reflective lectures, with time for Q&A following.
2. Discussion-Based Groups
The most common of our reading groups, for people with some degree of philosophical education. Whether you’re very familiar with the work of Christian personalists or are slowly introducing yourself, these discussion-based groups are perfect to have meaningful conversations on the material.
3. Advanced Groups
These advanced groups are invitation-only, for high-level inquiry into Christian personalism. The invitation is based on education, proven engagement at our events, or the recommendation of a scholar.
Upcoming Reading Groups
Hildebrand Project Reading Groups are free to attend but space is limited to 20 participants. Please make sure you are available at the given time slot and able to commit to the weekly reading assignments (20-45 pages) before registering.
Reading Group Leaders
John F. Crosby
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
Personalism, John Henry Newman, John Paul II, Dietrich von Hildebrand
Prof. Crosby was himself a student of Dietrich Hildebrand. Besides writing major studies on the thought of John Henry Newman, Max Scheler, and Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II, and making his own contributions to personalist philosophy, Prof. Crosby has devoted his long and distinguished academic career—first at the University of Dallas, then at the International Academy of Philosophy, and currently at Franciscan University of Steubenville—to introducing his students to the intellectual legacy of Hildebrand, and also to making Hildebrand better known in scholarly circles. Prof. Crosby was the translator of the English edition of Hildebrand’s philosophical masterpiece, The Nature of Love, and he also serves as the General Editor of all our present and future translations of Hildebrand’s works.
Professor Seifert received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Salzburg in 1969 and, under Professor Robert Spaemann, his habilitation from the University of Munich (Privatdozent) in 1975. He studied chiefly under Balduin Schwarz, the most distinguished German former student of Dietrich von Hildebrand, at the University of Salzburg, and under Gabriel Marcel in Paris. Already as a child (from age 3 on) he knew Hildebrand personally, because Seifert’s mother had been a student of Hildebrand in Munich and both of his parents were Hildebrand’s friends. He is the author of many books, and Europe’s leading student and teacher of Hildebrand’s philosophy.
Catherine Yanko is currently a doctoral candidate at the Catholic University of America where she studies Moral Theology/Ethics.
I am grateful for the opportunity this grant has provided me with to devote time to writing a scholarly article that compares the personalists Edith Stein, Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II, and Dietrich von Hildebrand on their descriptions of self-realization or self-actualization. As personalists, each of these thinkers describes human fulfillment with a particular emphasis to the particularness of subjectivity. What brings about this kind of fulfillment and the place of God and His grace differs for each thinker. I intend for this article and research time to also contribute to my dissertation.
Javier Carreño studied Philosophy and English at the University of Dallas, and Philosophy at Leuven (Belgium), where he earned a doctoral degree in 2010. He has written mainly on the imagination and aesthetics – taking Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology as point d’appui. He also maintains an interest in the philosophy of religion, especially the role of affectivity as a preamble to faith.
Since 2011, Dr. Carreño has taught for Franciscan University of Steubenville’s study abroad program located in lower Austria, where he is an associate professor of philosophy, and also serve as academic chairman. His teaching comprises both “core” courses in the perennial tradition as well as specialized courses in Literature and Theology.
“Husserl and Dufrenne on the Temporalization of Image Space” Anuario Filosófico vol. 51/2, pp. 301-323
“Religious Experience and Photography: The Phenomenology of Photography as Revelatory of the Religious Play of Imagination.” De Gruyter Open Theology vol. 3, pp. 224-234.
“Seeing Temporality in Still Images: A Phenomenological View.” In Humanities Across the Borders: More Interdisciplinary Issues, ed. E. Hornackova Klapicova and E. Smetanova (Madrid: Ediciones Xorki) pp. 317-329.
Derek S. Jefferys
Derek S. Jeffreys is a professor of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. He did both his B.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. He has written books on St. John Paul II, ethics and torture and ethics and solitary confinement. His most recent book is America’s Jails: The Search for Human Dignity in An Age of Mass Incarceration. Jeffreys teaches courses on love, Thomas Aquinas, ethics, ethics and punishment, evil, Dante, Buddhism, and other topics. For more than a decade he has been involved in jail and prison education, giving volunteer religion and philosophy lectures to inmates in Wisconsin’s jails and prisons. He is married and proud father of twin boys.
University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
Personalism, Personalism and Violence, Personalism and Incarceration
Jeffreys, Derek S. Defending Human Dignity: John Paul II and Political Realism . Grand, Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2004.
Jeffreys, Derek S. Spirituality and the Ethics of Torture. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
Jeffreys, Derek S. Spirituality in Dark Places: The Ethics of Solitary Confinement. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
Jeffreys, Derek S. America’s Jails: The Search for Human Dignity in an Age of Mass Incarceration. New York, NY: New York University Press, 2018.
Jeffreys, Derek S. “Personalists are not Kantians: Robert Kraynak and the Value of the Person,” Journal of Markets and Morality 7, no. 2 (October 2004): 507-516.
Jeffreys, Derek S. “Ignoring Thomistic Metaphysics: A Reply to Robert Kraynak,” Journal of Markets and Morality 7, no. 2 (October 2004): 527-531.
Jeffreys, Derek S. “Cruel but not Unusual: Derek Jeffreys on Solitary Confinement,” Commonweal, June 13, 2014: 20-23.
Jeffreys, Derek S. C-Span Book Interview on Spirituality in Dark Places: The Ethics of Solitary Confinement, September 23, 2014.
Dr. Maria Fedoryka lectures and publishes in both academic and popular fora in the field of the philosophy of love, examining issues spanning from the centrality of love in the being of God, to its role at the center of creation, to its meaning for marriage, family, and sexuality. Having been captivated by the writings of Dietrich von Hildebrand as a teenager and deeply drawn to his phenomenological and personalist philosophy, she pursued her studies under Josef Seifert and John Crosby at the International Academy of Philosophy. Among her scholarly writings are an analysis of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s philosophy of marital intimacy and procreation titled Finis superabundant Operis: Refining an Ancient Cause for Understanding the Spousal Act in the ACPQ, and “‘God is Love’”: Personal Plurality as the Completion of Aristotle’s Notion of Substance and Love as the Absolute Ground of the Divine Being” in the Proceedings of the ACPA. Among her popular publications are the booklet The Special Gift of Women for God, the Family and the World published by the Catholic Truth Society in England. She is currently working on an article comparing Hildebrand’s and Aquinas’s philosophy of affectivity, as well as an article on Hildebrand’s theory of motivation as the key to understanding deliberate moral wrongdoing.
Ave Maria University
Philosophy of Love
“A Comparison of Aquinas on the Passions and Affectiones and Hildebrand on ‘Genuinely Spiritual Affectivity’”. Paper delivered at Colloquium on the Heart sponsored by the Hildebrand Legacy Project. University of Dallas, February 2020
“Is Moral Evil Only Privation? Another Look”. Paper delivered at The True, the Good, and the Beautiful – and the Encounter with Evil Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Annual Convention. Montreal, Quebec, September 2019
Forthcoming: “Does Gender Matter for Marriage? The Centrality of Masculinity and Femininity to Marriage as Mutual Self-Gift in the Theology of the Body” in Dutch Communio, proceedings of the 5th International Theology of the Body Symposium, Kerkrade: 2019
Book review for Review of Metaphysics of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s Graven Images
“‘God is Love’: Personal Plurality as the Completion of Aristotle’s Notion of Substance and Love as the Absolute Ground of the Divine Being” in Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 2019
“Human Sexuality: The Battle for the Human Soul” in Mary and the Crisis in the Church, ed. Roger Nutt. Sapientia Press: 2019
“Von Hildebrand, Love and Contraception”, in Humana Vitae, 50 Years Later: Embracing God’s Vision for Marriage, Love, and Life, ed. Theresa Notare. CUA Press: 2019
“Only Union Plus Love Equals Fruitfulness: A Personalist Reflects on the Teaching of Humanae Vitae” in Why Humanae Vitae is Still Right, ed. Janet Smith. Ignatius Press: 2018
“Finis Superabundant Operis: Refining an Ancient Cause for Explaining the Conjugal Act” in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 90, no. 3, 2016, 477-498
The Special Vocation of Women: for God the family and the World, Catholic Truth Society Publications, United Kingdom: 2010
Mario Delucchi is a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of Dallas, where he teaches ethics and metaphysics. He likes to cast his net across philosophical paradigms, seeking ways to overcome impasses between schools and traditions (without compromising eternal verities and values.) Nevertheless, his penchant for exploring concrete human themes through the phenomenological method draws him especially to phenomenological, existentialist, and personalist thought. Here, Dietrich von Hildebrand has been a long-time companion. Mario strives to resist rigid partitions between disciplines in order to emphasize the mutually reinforcing relationship between metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics, for the sake of that ancient trinity: the true, good, and beautiful. He also never ceases to find fulfillment in teaching, and midwifing the philosophical insights of undergraduates has proven to be a constant source of inspiration. A convert in two senses, he was introduced many years ago to Catholicism, through the sublime beauty of its music and architecture, by a close friend and mentor who also taught him how to see and think phenomenologically. For Mario, faith, reason, and a sense for the beautiful thrive together, ever since they awoke together many years ago. He currently resides with his wife Lauren in Bedford Texas.
University of Dallas
Doctoral Candidate and Philosophy Professor
Personalism (broadly construed), phenomenology (especially the Munich school), existentialist thought, philosophical aesthetics, Maurice Blondel, Robert Spaemann, Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas.
Dr. Wolter graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy, Theology, and History from Franciscan University of Steubenville. She pursued her M.A. in Philosophy, as well as her STB, M.A., and STL in Theology at the Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven (KUL), Belgium, where she also received her Ph.D. in Philosophy. An Austrian-American national, she returned to Austria upon receiving her present appointment at Franciscan University of Steubenville at its Study Abroad Program in Gaming, Austria, in 2007.
Franciscan University, Austria Program
Instructor of Philosophy
Phenomenology, Modern and Renaissance Philosophy, Axiology, Personalism, and Ethics.
Martin Cajthaml is a full professor and the Head of the Department of Philosophy and Patrology at the Sts Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology of Palacky University Olomouc, Czech Republic, and an Associated Scholar of the Hildebrand Project. His most recent major publication is The Moral Philosophy of Dietrich von Hildebrand (Washington: CUA Press, 2019).
I will research the D. von Hildebrand Nachlass (bequest) at the Bavarian State Library in Munich, Germany. The aim of my 3-5 days research stay will be to study selected typescripts from the bequest with the view of preparing their critical edition for the Hildebrand Press.
Beth A. Rath
Beth. A. Rath is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Borromeo Seminary in Cleveland, OH. Her first formal experience with philosophy was as a teenager. She heard a lecture on Descartes, and from there she was intrigued by the sorts of questions philosophers ask. Beth went on to study philosophy and theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she first encountered the work of St. Thomas Aquinas and personalism. There she heard a lecture by Alice von Hildebrand that changed the trajectory of her life and inspired her to pursue graduate studies in philosophy. She completed her doctorate in philosophy at Saint Louis University, with an emphasis on the nature of the human person, moral philosophy, and themes at the intersection of philosophy and theology. At Borromeo, Beth teaches a wide variety of philosophy courses to both seminarians and lay students, and she co-teaches Tolle Lege, a Catholic ‘nerd camp’ for high school seniors in the Diocese of Cleveland.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Philosophical Anthropology, Philosophy of Religion, Ethics,
and the work of Thomas Aquinas (Thomism)
Manuscript in Progress: Philosophy in Seminary Formation. Institute for Priestly Formation. Forthcoming in 2021 or 2022.
“Are There Any True Moral Enhancements: Aristotelian and Thomistic Perspectives.” European Journal for Philosophy of Religion (accepted, should be forthcoming in 2021).
“Emotions and the Moral Life in Aquinas and Hildebrand.” Paper delivered at the Hildebrand Project Summer Seminar. July 2020.
“On the Impossibility of Engineering Moral Virtue.” Oxford University, Ian Ramsey Centre. Transhumanism, Posthumanism, and Supernaturalism Conference. July 2018.
“Christ’s Faith, Doubt, and the Cry of Dereliction.” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 81 (2017): 161-169.
Rebekah Ann Lamb
Dr Lamb recently joined the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews as a Lecturer in Theology and the Arts, teaching many of the courses run out of the School’s Institute of Theology, Imagination and the Arts. Prior to her move to the ancient kingdom of Fife, she was an inaugural Gilson Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of St. Michael’s College, within the University of Toronto. She also lectured at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College in Barry’s Bay (Ontario).
She has recently published on Christina Rossetti, George MacDonald, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Victorian Anglo-Catholicism. She is currently completing a book, under contract with McGill-Queen’s University Press, on the theological and aesthetic implications of boredom, with special emphasis on the Victorian period and the early twentieth century. She is currently co-editing a special issue with Religion and Literature on John Henry Cardinal Newman, to commemorate his recent canonisation, and is a collaborator on the Tree of Tales Exhibition on Tolkien, a partnership between the University of St Andrews and the Rimini Meeting.
Dr Lamb teaches on a wide range of subjects, from The Book of Genesis to Black Mirror, and recently co-designed and co-taught a new course on The Imagination in Theology and Science at the University of St. Andrews. She teaches graduate courses on Practical Criticism, Christian Doctrine and the Arts, and Theology and the Arts, with emphasis on Dietrich von Hildebrand, among others.
She has taught and lectured on both sides of the Atlantic, in the States, Canada, Rome, England, and Scotland. She recently appeared on BBC One’s Reflections at the Quay, contributed to the Narnia Lenten Lecture Series at the McGrath Institute for Church Life (University of Notre Dame), and frequently writes for public-facing journals such as Convivium: Faith in Our Common Life, The Catholic Herald, Transpositions, and The Scottish Catholic Observer, among others.
University of St. Andrews, School of Divinity
Lecturer in Theology, Imagination and the Arts
Religion and Literature; Aesthetics; Victorian and Modernist Studies; Christian Personalism; Practical Criticism
Review of Morality and Situation Ethics and Graven Images: Substitutes for True Morality for New Blackfriars. Forthcoming, 2020.
‘The Personhood of the Liturgy’. Review essay on Liturgy and Personality for Convivium: Faith in Our Common Life. 1 August 2016.
‘Literature and the Question of Magnanimity: Hildebrand and O’Connor Revisited.’ Article, in progress.
Hrvoje holds a BA in Business and MA in Economics from the University of Zagreb. He also holds a second BA and MA in Philosophy, also from the same University. Currently he is pursuing the PhD in Philosophy at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, where he is preparing a dissertation on Dietrich von Hildebrand’s political philosophy. He is also working as Director of Partnerships for World Youth Alliance Foundation based in New York, an organization with more than 1 million members worldwide, committed to promote human dignity, solidarity and right to life in policy, education and culture. In the past he worked as a business consultant. He is an author of the book Amoris Laetitia: Faithfulness or Break? From Wojtyła to Pope Francis and co-author of The Textbook of Catholic Religious Education for the 2nd Grade of High School in Croatia. He published articles in peer-reviewed journals on political philosophy, bioethics and philosophy of the human person. He is happily married and has one child.
John Paul II Catholic University in Lublin
Political Philosophy, Ethics, Bioethics, Philosophy of the Human Person, Phenomenology
Džeba, Ivo, Mario Milovac, Hrvoje Vargić, and Šime Zupčić. Dođi i vidi 2, Udžbenik katoličkoga vjeronauka za 2. razred srednjih škola [Come and see 2, The Textbook of Catholic Religious Education for the 2nd Grade of High School]. Zagreb: Salesiana, 2019.
Hildebrand, Dietrich von, trans. Vargić, Hrvoje. Metafizika zajedince. Istraživanje o biti i vrijednosti zajednice [Metaphysik der Gemeinschaft, Untersuchungen über Wesen und Wert der Gemeinschaft. Regensburg: Verlag Josef Habbel, 1955.]
Pavlović, Anto, Vargić, Hrvoje. “Apsolut uvijek ostaje apsolutni misterij [The Absolute Always Remains an Absolute Mystery].” Obnovljeni Život 71, no. 1 (2016): 7–21.
Vargić, Hrvoje. “Affirmation of Different Forms of Individual Subjectivity in Karol Wojtyła and Dietrich von Hildebrand.” Quaestiones Disputatae 10, no. 2 (Spring 2020).
———. Amoris laetitia: Vjernost ili lom? Od Wojtyłe do pape Franje [Amoris Laetitia: Faithfulness or Break? From Wojtyła to Pope Francis]. Zagreb: Salesiana, 2019.
———. “Etičke dileme na kraju života i zaštita priziva savjesti liječnika [Ethical Dilemmas at the End of Life and Protection of Conscience Clauses of Medical Professionals]” (Bioetički principi u palijativnoj medicini, Strmec, Croatia, 2019).
———. “Ljudsko dostojanstvo i eutanazija [Human Dignity and Euthanasia]” (Godišnji kongres logoterapije 2019, Zagreb, Croatia, 2019).
———. “Od iskustva prema stvarima u sebi: Rasprava o metodi u filozofiji [From Experience to Things in Themselves: Discourse on the Method in Philosophy].” Rectorate of the University of Zagreb, 2017.
———. “Should Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Be Legal? Addressing Key Arguments and Analysing the Consequences of Legalization.” Disputatio Philosophica, 20, no. 1 (2018): 45–76.
Wolfe, Nadja, and Hrvoje Vargić. “White Paper on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide.” World Youth Alliance Publications, 2019.
Rachel Bulman has been married for over 14 years, and her husband is a permanent deacon. They have six children from 12 years to 20 months old, and the youngest children are a set of twins. Rachel is a national speaker and author. She served as editor for Word on Fire’s With All Her Mind: A Call to the Intellectual Life, a collection of essays exploring the intellectual life for women, and she wrote Becoming Wife: Saying Yes to More Than the Dress (Our Sunday Visitor, June 2023), a theological and philosophical reflection on spousality. She has written and hosted a television series for Catholic TV about Eucharistic miracles, and she appears with her family in the show Meet the Bulmans currently airing on the Word on Fire Institute’s YouTube channel. She has appeared on numerous podcasts and radio shows. Rachel serves on the advisory board of The GIVEN Institute, and in her spare time, she enjoys reading a good book, lifting weights, and perfecting her Old Fashioned cocktail recipe.