Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Alice von Hildebrand critiques Christopher West & credits my research

[UPDATE, 8/25/10: If you are looking for my master's thesis, a critique of Christopher West's presentation of the theology of the body, it is now available as a free download from Catholic News Agency. See CNA's news story, or download the thesis directly as a PDF file.]

Dr. Alice von Hildebrand today published a essay critiquing Christopher West's presentation and style of catechesis against that of her late husband: "Dietrich von Hildebrand, Catholic Philosopher, and Christopher West, Modern Enthusiast: Two Very Different Approaches to Love, Marriage and Sex." She explains her motivations for writing the piece in an interview with Catholic News Agency.

Her courage, charity, and love of truth are a great inspiration to me, and I was honored to be among those whom she consulted while researching her essay. She writes in her acknowledgments at the end of the piece: "Dawn Eden also deserves notable mention: her in-depth knowledge of the work of Christopher West has been crucial to me. Through her scholarship, I made the acquaintance of several texts I had not read. I owe her a special thanks."

The scholarship to which Dr. von Hildebrand refers is my master's thesis, "Towards a 'Climate of Chastity': Bringing Catechesis on the Theology of the Body into the Hermeneutic of Continuity." My thesis defense, which encapsulates the major points of the 81-page paper, is available online.

If you would like to read the thesis itself, it is available as an eBook (PDF file) free of charge for priests, deacons, seminarians, and lay catechists who work in an official capacity for the Church (e.g. for a parish, diocese, or religious order). Those who qualify for a free copy are invited to write to request one to be sent by e-mail.

Others who would like to read my thesis are asked to donate $10 or more to a fund I have created to finance my studies towards a doctorate in sacred theology. Click here to donate, and I will e-mail it to you.

If you would like to read additional commentary on the theology of the body and Christopher West's interpretation of it, I highly recommend the writings of Father Angelo Mary Geiger F.I., who was likewise acknowledged by Dr. von Hildebrand in her essay.

Also available online are my recent Headline Bistro articles drawing upon my thesis to counter popular misinterpretations of the TOB: "Things the Holy Father Never Taught Me" and "Things the Holy Father Never Taught Me, Part 2."