Europe is suffering from a spiritual identity crisis. Some countries rejected the historical preambulum to a European Constitution because Christianity was mentioned as one of the founding elements of the union... At the heart of the crisis is the loss of the spiritual basis on which the Continent had been united, mostly the idea of a Christian civilization. This address investigates the growth of this idea through the centuries as well as the causes of its recent decline and, in some areas, even loss. Can a European union survive without its founding idea? Are other models available, such as for instance that of a United States of Europe, on a purely economic basis? What is the difference between Europe and the USA in this respect? Louis Dupré is the T. Lawrason Riggs Professor Emeritus in Yale University's religious studies department.
Louis Dupré was from 1973 until 1998 the T. Lawrason Riggs Professor in the Philosophy of Religion and is now Professor Emeritus in Religious Studies at Yale University. He previously taught philosophy at Georgetown University. He has been President of both the American Catholic Philosophical Association and the Hegel Society of America. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a foreign member of the Royal Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Letters of Belgium. He is author of numerous books, including The Starting Point of Marxist Philosophy; Kierkegaard as Theologian; Contraception and Catholics; The Philosophical Foundations of Marxism; The Other Dimension (translated into six languages); Transcendent Selfhood; A Dubious Heritage; The Deeper Life; Marx’s Social Critique of Culture; The Common Life; Passage to Modernity: An Essay in the Hermeneutics of Nature and Culture; and Metaphysics and Culture.