This Summer Seminar is organised by The Hildebrand Project in Steubenville
13th Annual Summer Seminar
June 26-30, 2023
Franciscan University of Steubenville
In this seminar we will explore gratitude as a fundamental moral disposition without which no one can really be happy.
We are made for gratitude because we are creatures, owing gratitude to our creator for our very existence. We either accept ourselves, our own created being, in gratitude or we reject it in resentment both of ourselves and of reality.
Gratitude precludes proclamations to absolute autonomy and rejects the Promethean aspiration to complete self-creation, to become ourselves like gods.
Influential philosophical errors both old and new are marked particularly by their hostility toward gratitude. Marx’s charge to remake the world. Nietzsche’s will to power. The modernist’s self-made man. Transhumanist fantasies for worldly immortality.
Our culture today is fraught by questions about gratitude. How do we receive in gratitude the goods of our own traditions despite their evils, of which we are increasingly aware? Can we cultivate gratitude in a social-media world of envy, isolation, and self-assertion? Why should we be grateful in the midst of great suffering?
In this seminar, we will attempt to answer these questions and to offer gratitude as an antidote to other challenges, such as feelings of loneliness, resentment, envy, and the self-hatred that oppresses so many today. We will show how gratitude guards against despair, and resists the nihilist attitude that fails to see the value of anything.
Ultimately, we will propose gratitude as an essential condition of human happiness and human flourishing. In so doing, we will explore the relations between gratitude and contemplation, stewardship, and material creation; between gratitude and wonder, creativity, and invention; between gratitude and beauty, hope, and joy; and between gratitude, self-love, and the love of God.
We will draw on ideas in Sts. Augustine and Aquinas, Søren Kierkegaard, Romano Guardini, Joseph Pieper, Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II, Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand, Gabriel Marcel, Max Scheler, Roger Scruton, Russell Kirk, and many others. We will also draw on artistic expressions of gratitude, notably in poetry (e.g., Gerard Manley Hopkins) and music (e.g. Schubert).
More Information & Apply Online
Please visit our website for more information about the summer seminar, including daily topics, faculty, and scholarship opportunities.
If you have attended one of our summer seminars in the past, you know how special these events are, and we hope to see you again.
If this is your first time considering applying, we hope that you will. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.