14th Annual Summer Seminar- Hildebrand Project

The Challenge of Community

14th Annual Summer Seminar
July 15-19, 2024
Franciscan University of Steubenville

Seminar Description

Why are people connected with each other as never before, even as they suffer from crushing loneliness? Why do people have a deep need to be sheltered inside a community but feel condemned to remain outside of all deeper solidarity with others? Or if they do belong to a community, why is it that they can put down roots in it only by taking other communities as enemies? Why do people find it so easy and natural to approach others with mistrust, and have a great difficulty approaching them with trust?

The great Christian personalists have something to say about these contradictions; we find in their works much wisdom about the brokenness of our life with others.

Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote a major philosophical treatise, The Metaphysics of Community, in response to the earlier crisis about the nature of the person and community in National Socialism and Communism. His personalism leads to a strong affirmation of the selfhood and solitude of the individual person, but also to an equally strong affirmation of the deep orientation of persons to interpersonal relationships and community. We also find in Karol Wojtyla, Max Scheler, Edith Stein, Romano Guardini, Henri de Lubac, and other personalists rich and nuanced accounts of the communal nature of the person, accounts that speak to us in our need.

Format

The seminar will be a mix of lectures, panels, conversations, and small group discussions.

Each morning will open with a keynote lecture on a core topic, followed by panel discussions exploring particular themes. After a break for mass (optional) and lunch, the afternoons will be devoted to In Conversation sessions that will address questions and challenges, followed by small group discussions facilitated by seminar faculty.

Hildebrand Project events are intellectual and convivial. Participants are sent a list of reading materials upon acceptance, which should be completed before the start of the seminar. The days are devoted to seminar sessions, while the evenings are free—and often filled with wine, music, and conversation.

Applying for the Seminar

The seminar is open to anyone who wishes to explore the nature and significance of the self, community, and society, including especially:

  • Undergraduate and graduate students
  • University and high school professors 
  • Artists, writers, musicians, and architects 
  • Teachers, educators, and administrators 
  • Lawyers, government officials, and community organizers
  • Seminarians and clergy 

The application process is based on interest but subject to space limitations.

The application and nomination window ends on March 1, 2024. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with acceptances announced on the 15th of each month.

You may apply online below. The application contains two short essays (300 words max), and you will add your answers there:

(1) How do you expect the Hildebrand Seminar to affect your life and work when you return home?
(2) Read this excerpt from the essay “Individual and Community” (from My Battle Against Hitler) and comment on the relationship between anti-personalism and individualistic liberalism.

We encourage faculty to nominate students to attend. Nominations will serve in lieu of letters of recommendation. 

If you have any questions about the event, please reach out to Cecilia Cervantes at [email protected].

https://hildebrandproject.org/event/the-challenge-of-community-seminar/



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