Peter Kreeft, Scott Hahn, and 40,000 Books

Defending the Faith

This past weekend, I had the joy and honor of speaking at the Defending the Faith Conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville. The whole thing was a blast. I think it was one of the best and well-organized conferences I've ever been to. The talks were deep and insightful, the worship holy and powerful, and the sheer excitement of 1,500 devoted Catholics rocked the fieldhouse all weekend.

However, the best part was spending several days with the other speakers, men and women I deelpy admire. I got to meet Dr. Peter Kreeft for the first time, who dazzled me with his wit and wisdom over several meals. I also chatted with Dr. Ted Sri, an erudite biblical scholar who teaches at the Augustine Institute, which I'll be attending (digitally) this Fall. I reconnected with good friends like Mark Shea, Dr. Ralph Martin, Teresa Tomeo, and Jeff Cavins while meeting others I've admired from a distance like Jason Stellman (you've got to hear his story), Marc Barnes (Bad Catholic), Patrick Madrid, Mark Hart, Bob Rice, and more.

And then of course there was Dr. Scott Hahn, the host. Scott's books played a significant role in my conversion to Catholicism, as they have for so many people, so meeting him was a real treat. But it became even sweeter was when he invited Mark Shea, Marc Barnes, and me over to the Hahn residence on the last day. We toured the beautiful gardens with his gracious wife Kimberly, we took in a great view of downtown Steubenville, and then—the moment we had been waiting for:mdash;Scott welcomed us into his legendary biblio sanctum.

Now I had heard rumors about Scott's home library. I knew it was vast, I knew it contained many rare and collectible books. But the rumors didn't do it justice. Upon entering my jaw dropped as books enveloped me from every side. Over 40,000 titles blanketed the walls and shelves (and not a little floor). I felt like a kid in a candy store. We spent a couple hours chatting favorite books and authors, and Scott even let us pick through some of his duplicate books. (I regretted not bringing an extra empty suitcase.)

Below you'll find several pictures from the Conference and library, along with a short video tour. Enjoy!

Also known as, "Occasion of Sin."

Also known as "Occasion of Sin for Bibliophiles".


 
The "Defending the Faith" Team, from left to right: me, Teresa Tomeo, Mark Hart, Mike Hernon, Dr. Peter Kreeft, Dr. Scott Hahn, Kimberly Hahn, Dr. Ted Sri, Dr. Ralph Martin, Jason Stellman, Patrick Madrid. (Jeff Cavins and Mark Shea were missing)

The "Defending the Faith" Team, from left to right: me, Teresa Tomeo, Mark Hart, Mike Hernon, Dr. Peter Kreeft, Dr. Scott Hahn, Kimberly Hahn, Dr. Ted Sri, Dr. Ralph Martin, Jason Stellman, Patrick Madrid. (Not pictured: Jeff Cavins and Mark Shea)


 
With one of my great heroes, Dr. Peter Kreeft.

With one of my great heroes, Dr. Peter Kreeft.


 
Joking around with Mark Shea and Dr. Peter Kreeft.

Joking around with Mark Shea and Dr. Peter Kreeft.


 
"I've always wanted to do that." - Mark Shea

"I've always wanted to do that." - Mark Shea


 
Mark Shea's fan club, appropriately draped in revolutionary t-shirts.

Mark Shea's fan club, appropriately draped in revolutionary t-shirts. The blurriness makes them hard to read, but they say: "Viva Shea".


 
Dr. Peter Kreeft donning horns for his Screwtape-inspired talk, "How to Lose the Culture War." OSV has a great summary here.

Dr. Peter Kreeft donning horns for his Screwtape-inspired talk, "How to Lose the Culture War." OSV has a great summary here.


 
Dr. Scott Hahn and Dr. Peter Kreeft share a moment after Kreeft's talk.

Dr. Scott Hahn and Dr. Peter Kreeft share a moment after Kreeft's talk.


 
Scott preparing backstage before tonight's keynote. In a couple minutes he'll speak to 1,500 people on "Consuming the Word: Liturgical Worship as Spiritual Warfare."

Scott preparing backstage before speaking to 1,500 excited Catholics.


 
Scott speaking on "Consuming the Word: Liturgical Worship as Spiritual Warfare."

Scott speaking on "Consuming the Word: Liturgical Worship as Spiritual Warfare."


 
Former Calvinist pastor and prosecutor <a href=

Jason Stellman shares his conversion story. We spent a lot of time chatting throughout the weekend, and he's a brilliant and fascinating guy. Read more about him in this great Catholic World Report profile.


 
Reconnecting with a couple good friends, Chris Smith (left) and Deacon Sean Smith (right).

Reconnecting with a couple good friends, Chris Smith (left) and Deacon Sean Smith (right).


 
Meeting with the fun and gifted folks behind Team Orthodoxy in Canada.

Meeting the fun and talented folks behind Team Orthodoxy in Canada.


 
Hanging out with Marc Barnes (Bad Catholic) and Mark Shea.

Hanging out with Marc Barnes (aka Bad Catholic) and Mark Shea.


 
Uncle Peter wore his devil horns to dinner. The junior tempters to his left are, in order, Mark Hart, Ted Sri, Ralph Martin, and Patrick Madrid.

Peter decided to wear his devil horns to dinner. The tempters to his left, in order, Mark Hart, Ted Sri, Ralph Martin, and Patrick Madrid.


 

Dr. Scott Hahn's Legendary Home Library

 

 

Mark Shea sitting in Dr. Scott Hahn's office.

Mark Shea sitting in Scott's office.


 
Gazing down the long corridor in Scott Hahn's massive home library.

Gazing down the long corridor in Scott's massive library.


 
G.K. Chesterton section in Scott Hahn's library.

G.K. Chesterton section.


 
More G.K. Chesterton books, many of them first editions.

More Chesterton books, many of them first editions.


 
Scott delighting in his paper friends.

Scott with his close paper friends.


 
Hans Urs von Balthasar section in Scott Hahn's library.

Hans Urs von Balthasar section.


 
C.S. Lewis section in Scott Hahn's library. This might be the only section in which my library trumps his!

C.S. Lewis section. This might be the only one in which my library trumps his!


 
Fulton Sheen section in Scott Hahn's library, including many first editions.

Fulton Sheen section, including many first editions.


 
Books, books, and more books.

Books, books, and more books.


 
Mark Shea. And books.

Mark Shea. And books.


 
Scott chatting at his desk.

Scott chatting at his desk.


 
Right before we left, Scott said, "Oh, here's my 'duplicate' shelves. Feel free to take what you want." (AHHHHH!!!!!)

Right before we left, Scott said, "Oh, here's my 'duplicate' shelves. Feel free to take whatever you want." (AHHHHH!!!!!)


 
The treasures I took home from The Hahn Library.

The treasures I left with. Thanks, Scott!

 
  • http://www.PaintedFaith.NET Nellie

    Glad you could meet more of those who have impacted your life, which in turn blesses so many others! So cool you got to see the great library. I was blessed to be there last September and all I could think was that, if it was me, I'd never move!!

  • Christy Isinger

    Wow that is one heck of a library!

  • anthony

    Oh1 any more videos of your son celebrating Mass? I still delight when I watch it.

  • anthony

    dump the clothes, fill with book, wear rags. visit again, repeat. Also, if Dr. Hahn invited you to live in his library and you read one book a day, it would take you more than 109 years. Perhaps a cortical implant would be more time efficient.

    • http://www.brandonvogt.com/ Brandon Vogt

      Ha! I love it.

  • Harvey

    What an amazing experience at DTF 2013! This one was my seventh and, believe me, not only was it very well organized, but the content keeps getting better, and the quality of the presentations do too.
    I am also in withdrawal and will need some time to take in all that I heard and saw this past weekend - a most positive spiritual event. I already have my calendar marked for DTF 2014. I live in Ontario and was very pleased to hear that FUS is planning a youth conference in Toronto in 2014. That is good news.

  • Pauline Susanto

    It was an awesome conference! I had such a great time there that I am now going through what I call a "retreat withdrawal" :p I mean, nothing is as amazing as putting many of the Catholic superstars together under one roof. I was definitely starstruck!

    P.s. I also enjoyed your talk!

  • Julie Scott

    Thanks Brandon! Love the behind the scenes photos of the rock-stars of the #DefendingtheFaith 2013 Conference.

  • throughmyis

    Dr Hahn's library rival's my local public library. If only my public library had a portion of the treasures that Dr Hahn owns, I would be a happy reader. I would have loved to peruse the "duplicates" shelf~ what a lucky guy!

  • Joel Everett

    So awesome! What a blessing!!

  • Dylan

    Ridiculously. Awesome. People and photos.

  • http://www.orthodoxcatholicism.com/ Steve Marsh

    You posted our picture of you and Team Orthodoxy! Niiiiiiiiiiiiiice. Again, awesome meeting you!

  • http://inspiredangela.wordpress.com/ Angela Sealana

    This is intense!

  • Jeremy

    While at Defending the Faith 2013, the group I was with split up for the workshops based on interests; and since my wife is the techno-catholic in the family, so to speak, she chose your talk and absolutely loved it. But all the talks were orthodox, practical, and applicable. Thanks for your service for the Lord.

  • Bren R

    I've heard about Scott Hahn's library and imagined what it might entail but these pictures blew me away! I guess I'm a small thinker. Amazing! Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Linda Oppelt

    I too loved your talk at the conference Brandon! Yes, I agree those Franciscans sure know how to run a conference, don't they?

    Looking at the library, and coming from Colorado, all I can think of is, if they had to evacuate within an hour due to a threatening wildfire, I wonder which books he'd take. (Hopefully a dilemma he will never have to face!)

  • ladycygnus

    wow - what a great library! I thought my 3 bookshelves was a lot - that is just amazing.

    By the way, I loved your talk. I've been browsing through StrangeNotions - it's an exciting website and I can't wait to start participating in the conversation there.

    • http://www.brandonvogt.com/ Brandon Vogt

      Thanks for the kind words! Looking forward to your comments at SN.

  • Stuart

    Only 6 books? Show restraint or didn't want to appear greedy? :)

    • http://www.brandonvogt.com/ Brandon Vogt

      Little of both :)

      (And just didn't have enough room in my suitcase.)

      • Stuart

        Fair enough. I would have just worn several layers of clothes home to make extra room. Haha! If you're interested in more on Revelation and Andrew of Caesarea, Eugenia Constantinou has several books (published by Catholic University of America Press) on the matter.

  • "There is only one tragedy in the end, not to have been a saint." - Léon Bloy