In Defense of Purity
Publisher: Hildebrand Press
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
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A probing meditation on the nature, value, and beauty of purity, In Defense of Purity is not a book of sexual ethics, nor a "how-to" guide to purity--but for readers with open minds and hearts, the book promises to be transformative.
When Dietrich von Hildebrand converted to Catholicism in 1914, he was surprised to find that, despite an abundance of books on the dangers of impurity, there were practically none on the positive values of purity. "So," writes Alice von Hildebrand, widow of Dietrich, in a new foreword to the book: "this is what he set out to do in In Defense of Purity: to explore purity as a positive reality and only in light of its beauty to describe its contrary."
First published in 1927, In Defense of Purity anticipates many of the most pressing social issues of our day. Hildebrand's vision of the human person offers an antidote to a contemporary attitude that treats the body as a mere object and fails to appreciate its integral unity with the person.
In Defense of Purity has influenced thinkers like Karol Wojtyla/Pope John Paul II, whose own Love and Responsibility and Theology of the Body share and build upon many of Dietrich von Hildebrand's insights. This new edition stands to influence a new generation of readers, looking for enduring answers to the perennial questions about human life and love.
In Defense of Purity cuts through the current debates to offer a fundamental view of the very essence and meaning of purity. Hildebrand's insights on love, marriage, virginity, and sexuality offer fresh wisdom to people in any stage of life, from first dates, to religious vows, to golden anniversaries.
How presumptuous it is to try to treat of such a subject . . . when great books (like Dietrich von Hildebrand's In Defense of Purity) have been written on the subject. - Dorothy Day
In Defense of Purity is one of Dietrich von Hildebrand's smaller works, yet for this very reason it became a jewel in the hands of this master of thought and word. - Leo Scheffczyk
The movement originating with von Hildebrand . . . contains elements that are destined to enrich Catholic thought. - Bernard Lonergan
In Defense of Purity, in the original German and in French and Italian translations have had great influence on the Catholic literature of marriage. - Kirkus Review
Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889-1977), born in Florence, was the son of renowned German sculptor Adolf von Hildebrand. A leading student of the philosophers Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler, he took up the "great questions" - about truth, freedom, conscience, community, love, beauty - with a freshness that allowed him to break new ground, especially in ethics, but also in epistemology, social philosophy, and aesthetics. His conversion to Catholicism in 1914 was the decisive turning point of his life and the impetus for important religious works. His opposition to Hitler and Nazism was so outspoken that he was forced to flee Germany in 1933, and later across Europe, finally settling in New York City in 1940, where he taught at Fordham University until 1960. He was the author of dozens of books, both in German and English. He was a major forerunner of Vatican II through his seminal writings on marriage, on Christian philosophy, and on the evil of anti-Semitism.