John Henry Crosby is a translator, writer, critic, and cultural entrepreneur.
Late in 2003, searching for a life’s work that could integrate the quest for truth, the existential need for beauty, and the service of a great good, and beginning to despair of ever finding such a mission, he called Alice von Hildebrand to propose that he spend one year translating her late husband’s Aesthetics. Would she help, he asked.
She did, and her blessing transformed his one-year plan into lifelong mission that soon attracted the collaboration of others. Thus, the life’s work he had sought found him. Established in February 2004, the Hildebrand Project’s mission to renew culture has grown to encompass publications, events, fellowships, and online resources that draw on the continuing vitality of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s thought and witness.
Under his leadership, the Hildebrand Project has become the world’s leading organization dedicated to Dietrich von Hildebrand’s legacy. The Project has been supported by many leading foundations and donors, including the Bradley Foundation, Chiaroscuro Foundation, Earhart Foundation, Fieldstead & Company, Henry Luce Foundation, Luddy Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Our Sunday Visitor Institute, Papal Foundation, and the Raskob Foundation.
He was the editor of a new edition of Dietrich von Hildebrand's The Heart (St. Augustine's Press, 2007). He joined John F. Crosby as co-translator of Hildebrand's major philosophical work, The Nature of Love (St. Augustine's Press, 2009). He edited Selected Papers in the Philosophy of Dietrich von Hildebrand (2012), the first major volume of essays on von Hildebrand in two decades. Most recently he is the primary compiler, editor, and translator of Hildebrand’s anti-Nazi papers, My Battle Against Hitler (Random House, 2014).
His work has been featured in both popular (e.g., The Daily Beast) and scholarly publications (Logos Journal). His numerous radio appearances have taken him from PRI's The Takeaway to the Hugh Hewitt Show. He was host of He Dared Speak the Truth, a 14-part television series on the life of Dietrich von Hildebrand, which aired on EWTN (2014).
Son of an Austrian mother and an American father, his mother tongue was German. Both his undergraduate studies in philosophy, history, and literature (2000) as well as his graduate studies in philosophy (2001) were pursued at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.
He was for many years a violinist. As a student of Daniel Heifetz, he was formed in the great violinistic traditions of Henryk Szeryng, David Oistrakh, and Ivan Galamian.
He serves as a trustee of The Personalist Project.
In 2010 he married Robin-Marie Bobak. Through their marriage—and all the more with the birth of their children Magdalene (2011), Robin (2013), and John Henry, Jr. (2015)—he has found (or, again, been found by) an integration of the good, true, and beautiful far greater than any he has ever known.
“Only the brave return to the source.” — a favorite line from a Hölderlin poem. For Christopher, the source was beauty. Philosophy has always captured his interest, but it was beauty that was his first love, that first broke his heart (and a broken heart the Lord will not refuse, Ps. 51). After many years in school studying philosophy at St. Edward’s University (where he discovered Catholicism) ancient languages at the University of Texas (where he converted from atheism to Catholicism), and the University of Dallas (where he was introduced to Christian Personalism) Christopher misread Aristotle’s Rhetoric and decided that he needed to do something “practical;” so he began working in teaching, marketing, and politics, striking out in new areas with innovative ideas drawn from classical sources (he has a restive habit of starting new projects and companies).
But his restless soul brought him back to philosophy. He had heard of Dietrich von Hildebrand while studying St. Edith Stein at the University of Dallas, and was eagerly awaiting the publication of Hildebrand’s Aesthetics, when one day his mentor at UD suggested that he apply for a Summer Fellowship with the Hildebrand Project. So he dropped everything and applied. Now, Christopher has always had the strange practice of including his favorite poets and composers on his resume, and for once, it worked (he always knew it would!): at the Hildebrand Project, he finally found a place where a love for beauty mattered—and thus he returned to the source.
At the end of his Summer Fellowship, he was so excited about the potential of the Hildebrand Project that he refused to leave, finding clever ways to insert himself into vital operations and creating entire program areas with no one to manage them but himself. As a result, he now oversees the Hildebrand Project’s publishing enterprise, marketing, communications, and has helped pioneer a number of innovative and successful programs.
In his free time—when he gets free time—he likes to listen to classical music, write essays, ride two-wheeled vehicles, and build things. He also hosts a weekly theology symposium at a bar in his beloved state of Texas.
Considering that life would be rather dull if she runs out of questions to ponder, Catherine has committed herself to being a lifelong student in addition to her work with the Hildebrand Project. She is currently completing her Licentiate of Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington D.C. Prior to her licentiate studies, she earned her BA in Theology and Philosophy and a MA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Her specific interests concentrate on the intersection of philosophical personalism and sacramental theology. She aspires to aid in seminary formation in a future life as a professor.
Catherine was not always a philosopher and theologian. While studying abroad in the foothills of Austria, she was introduced to philosophy and the liberal arts. This period of study marked a turning point in her academic interests. Previously pursuing a career in finance, she turned to study philosophy and theology. Together with the thinkers presented in class - from Balthasar to Stein to Aristotle, she embarked into a new world of exploration.
Prior to her time in Austria, Catherine had already taken a nontraditional approach to college and taken a gap year with NET Ministries. Engaging in relational ministry at a parish for a year taught her in a profound way the unique unrepeatability of the person. Taking a step back from the concerns of work and school allowed her to focus on encountering Christ through each instance of humanity. It was an experience that she carried back with her when returning to "normal" life.
What she appreciates most about the Hildebrand Project is their dedication to supporting the new evangelization by a renewal of the person. Participating in their work as a student fellow during her undergraduate, she engaged Hildebrand’s writings and was taught to draw others into that conversation. Time and again she watched the Project place the person as the priority in their programming. We can speak abstractly about renewing culture, but culture is made up of those who inhabit a time and a place. For Catherine, the writings of Hildebrand helped to peel away layers of selfishness as she allowed herself to be transformed by an openness to the world of values. She hopes to share this with others in small ways and to further promote the mission of the Hildebrand Project.
Other interests of Catherine include exploring local hiking trails, cooking (with medium success), digging in the dirt in the hope of plants growing, scheming over a cup of coffee, and singing loudly when no one is around.