Man and Wooman Author:Dietrich von Hildebrand The old expression not being able to see the woods for the trees was literally true about the subject of sex and purity when Dietrich von Hildebrand began publishing in this country a generation ago. He lamented that it was a pity that so much of the Christian writing on the subject of sex has dealt with it exclusively from the moral point of v... more »iew, rather than attempting to probe its nature and to understand it for what it is.
And for a generation Dr. von Hildebrand has concerned himself with pointing up the true value of things. He is constantly preoccupied with the theme of "value", pointing out that certain realities are good or bad, important or expendable in themselves. There is a certain "oughtness" to much of life that overrides any thought of usefulness or uselessness. He demands that we conduct ourselves properly when encountering any such "value" - reflection of God in the world - no matter what the personal consequences. He is the foe of all relativism and subjectivism - whether in morals, art, or any other phase of life.
In Man and Woman, Dr. Von Hildebrand synthesizes his thinking of a lifetime on the subject, and updates much that he had written previously. The five chapters in this new book are, in fact, mostly taken from addresses that he has given during the past few years.
In "The True Meaning of Sex" he repudiates the Freudian metaphysic along with the belief that something is true only if it can be put to test in laboratory alone to see whether it will stand the tests of validity, authenticity and reality. And he balances the exaggerated prudery of the Victorian against the crossness of the modern to find the proper value in modesty. "Only if we strive always to plumb the depths, and in this way attain to Christ and ultimate reality, can we ever hope to learn how to love truly," says the author in "The Role of Human Love." "Only as we continue to consider the one we love and his love for us as unmerited gifts - and this in deep gratitude, never taking them for granted - can we attain to true love."
"Friendship Between the Sexes" is a marvelous chapter in which the author deals with a subject often neglected - "the divinely willed significance of man and woman towards one another outside of the married state." And he concludes: "The complementary role of man and woman is not limited to marriage - rather it enables a more complete communion among all mankind. The word of God at the creation of Eve has general applications: "It is not good for man to be alone; let us make him a helper like unto himself."
"Love and Marriage" is a brilliant chapter followed by "Marriage and Overpopulation." In the latter chapter the author raises the question of the threatened interference of the state in the private lives of its citizens.« less