Peter Kreeft

Last updated
Peter Kreeft
Kreeft.jpg
Born
Peter John Kreeft

(1937-03-16) March 16, 1937 (age 82) [1] [2]
Era 20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern Philosophy
School Christian philosophy
Main interests
Christian apologetics

Peter John Kreeft ( /krft/ ; [3] born 1937) is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College. He is the author of over a hundred books on Christian philosophy, theology and apologetics. He also formulated, together with Ronald K. Tacelli, "Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God". [4]

Boston College private research university in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, United States

Boston College is a private Jesuit research university in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The university has more than 9,300 full-time undergraduates and nearly 5,000 graduate students. The university's name reflects its early history as a liberal arts college and preparatory school in Boston's South End. It is a member of the 568 Group and the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. Its main campus is a historic district and features some of the earliest examples of collegiate gothic architecture in North America.

Christian philosophy

Christian philosophy is a development in philosophy that is characterised by coming from a Christian tradition.

Christian theology is the theology of Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theologians use biblical exegesis, rational analysis and argument. Theologians may undertake the study of Christian theology for a variety of reasons, such as in order to:

Contents

Academic career

Kreeft was born 16 March 1937 in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of John and Lucy Kreeft. He took his AB at Calvin College (1959) and an MA at Fordham University (1961). He completed his doctoral studies in 1965, also at Fordham and briefly did post-graduate studies at Yale University. [1]

Fordham University American university

Fordham University is a private research university in New York City. Established in 1841 and named for the Fordham neighborhood of the Bronx in which its main campus is located, Fordham is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit-affiliated university in the northeastern United States, and the third-oldest university in New York State.

Yale University Private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Yale consistently ranks among the top universities in the world.

Kreeft joined the philosophy faculty of the Department of Philosophy of Boston College in 1965. [5] He has debated several academics in issues related to God's existence. Shortly after he began teaching at Boston College he was challenged to a debate on the existence of God between himself and Paul Breines, an atheist and history professor, which was attended by a majority of undergraduate students. Kreeft later used many of the arguments in this debate to create the Handbook of Christian Apologetics with then undergraduate student Ronald K. Tacelli.

In 1971, Kreeft published an article titled "Zen In Heidegger's 'Gelassenheit'" in the peer-reviewed journal International Philosophical Quarterly, of Fordham University. In 1994, he was an endorser of the document "Evangelicals and Catholics Together". [6] He also formulated, with R. Tacelli, "Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God". [7]

Zen School of Mahayana Buddhism

Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty, then known as the Chan School and later developed into various schools. It was strongly influenced by Taoist philosophy, especially Neo-Daoist thought, and developed as a distinct school of Chinese Buddhism. From China, Chán spread south to Vietnam and became Vietnamese Thiền, northeast to Korea to become Seon Buddhism, and east to Japan, becoming Japanese Zen.

Martin Heidegger German philosopher

Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher and a seminal thinker in the Continental tradition of philosophy. He is "widely acknowledged to be one of the most original and important philosophers of the 20th century." Heidegger is best known for his contributions to phenomenology, hermeneutics, and existentialism, though as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy cautions, "his thinking should be identified as part of such philosophical movements only with extreme care and qualification". Heidegger was a member and public supporter of the Nazi Party. There is controversy over the degree to which his Nazi affiliations influenced his philosophy.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together is a 1994 ecumenical document signed by leading Evangelical and Roman Catholic scholars in the United States. The co-signers of the document were Charles Colson and Richard John Neuhaus, representing each side of the discussions. It was part of a larger ecumenical rapprochement in the United States that had begun in the 1970s with Catholic-Evangelical collaboration during the Gerald R. Ford Administration and in later para-church organizations such as Moral Majority founded by Jerry Fawell at the urging of Francis Schaeffer and his son Frank Schaeffer during the Jimmy Carter administration.

Kreeft has created several short videos for the website Prager University. His videos focus on religion and philosophy. [8]

Kreeft has received the following: Yale-Sterling Fellowship, Newman Alumni Scholarship, Danforth Asian Religions Fellowship, and Weathersfield Homeland Foundation Fellowship.

Conversion story

Kreeft converted to Catholicism during his college years. [9] A key turning point was when he was asked by a Calvinist professor to investigate the claims of the Catholic Church that it traced itself to the early Church. He said that on his own, he "discovered in the early Church such Catholic elements as the centrality of the Eucharist, the Real Presence, prayers to saints, devotion to Mary, an insistence on visible unity, and apostolic succession." [10]

The "central and deciding" factor for his conversion was "the Church's claim to be the one Church historically founded by Christ." [10] He reportedly applied C. S. Lewis's trilemma (either Jesus is Lunatic, Liar, or Lord): "I thought, just as Jesus made a claim about His identity that forces us into one of only two camps ... so the Catholic Church’s claim to be the one true Church, the Church Christ founded, forces us to say either that this is the most arrogant, blasphemous and wicked claim imaginable, if it is not true, or else that she is just what she claims to be." [11]

According to Kreeft's personal account, his conversion to Catholicism was influenced by, among other things, Gothic architecture and Thomistic philosophy, the writings of St. John of the Cross, the logic of asking saints to pray for us, and a visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City when he was twelve years old, "feeling like I was in heaven ... and wondering why, if Catholics got everything else wrong, as I had been taught, they got beauty so right..." [12]

Works

Related Research Articles

The teleological or physico-theological argument, also known as the argument from design, or intelligent design argument is an argument for the existence of God or, more generally, for an intelligent creator based on perceived evidence of deliberate design in the natural world.

Socratic method Type of dialog or debate

The Socratic method, also known as method of Elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate, is a form of cooperative argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presuppositions. It is a dialectical method, involving a discussion in which the defense of one point of view is questioned; one participant may lead another to contradict themselves in some way, thus weakening the defender's point. This method is named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates and is introduced by him in Plato's Theaetetus as midwifery (maieutics) because it is employed to bring out definitions implicit in the interlocutors' beliefs, or to help them further their understanding.

Apologetics is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Early Christian writers who defended their beliefs against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called Christian apologists. In 21st-century usage, apologetics is often identified with debates over religion and theology.

The existence of God is a subject of debate in the philosophy of religion and popular culture.

Presuppositionalism is a school of Christian apologetics that believes the Christian faith is the only basis for rational thought. It presupposes that the Bible is divine revelation and attempts to expose flaws in other worldviews.

Socratic dialogue A genre of literary prose

Socratic dialogue is a genre of literary prose developed in Greece at the turn of the fourth century BC. It is preserved in the works of Plato and Xenophon. The discussion of moral and philosophical problems between two or more characters in a dialogue is an illustration of one version of the Socratic method. The dialogues are either dramatic or narrative and Socrates is often the main participant.

Christian apologetics is a branch of Christian theology that defends Christianity against objections.

<i>Summa Theologica</i> theological treatise by Thomas Aquinas

The Summa Theologiae is the best-known work of Thomas Aquinas. Although unfinished, the Summa is "one of the classics of the history of philosophy and one of the most influential works of Western literature." It is intended as an instructional guide for theology students, including seminarians and the literate laity. It is a compendium of all of the main theological teachings of the Catholic Church. It presents the reasoning for almost all points of Christian theology in the West. The Summa's topics follow a cycle: God; Creation, Man; Man's purpose; Christ; the Sacraments; and back to God.

In monotheistic thought, God is conceived of as the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith. God is usually conceived as being omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), omnipresent (all-present) and as having an eternal and necessary existence. These attributes are used either in way of analogy or are taken literally. God is most often held to be incorporeal (immaterial). Incorporeality and corporeality of God are related to conceptions of transcendence and immanence of God, with positions of synthesis such as the "immanent transcendence".

The argument from desire is an argument for the existence of God and/or a heavenly afterlife. The best-known defender of the argument is the Christian writer C. S. Lewis. Briefly and roughly, the argument states that humans’ natural desire for eternal happiness must be capable of satisfaction, because all natural desires are capable of satisfaction. Versions of the argument have been offered since the Middle Ages, and the argument continues to have defenders today, such as Peter Kreeft and Francis Collins.

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The Great Conversation is a term describing a supposed phenomenon which some Roman Catholic apologists believe takes place in purgatory. They hold that souls arriving in purgatory after death will naturally converse with each other in an effort to determine where they are and how they got there. The impression is that of a large social gathering in which every participant has much the same questions on his or her mind.

Lewis's trilemma is an apologetic argument traditionally used to argue for the divinity of Jesus by arguing that the only alternatives were that he was evil or deluded. One version was popularised by University of Oxford literary scholar and writer C. S. Lewis in a BBC radio talk and in his writings. It is sometimes described as the "Lunatic, Liar, or Lord", or "Mad, Bad, or God" argument. It takes the form of a trilemma — a choice among three options, each of which is in some way difficult to accept.

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The Latin Church, also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest particular church of the Catholic Church, employing the Latin liturgical rites. It is one of 24 sui iuris churches, the 23 others forming the Eastern Catholic Churches. It is headed by the bishop of Rome, the pope – traditionally also called the Patriarch of the West – with cathedra in this role at the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, Italy. The Latin Church traces its history to the earliest days of Christianity, according to Catholic tradition, through its direct leadership under the Holy See.

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References

  1. 1 2 "Peter Kreeft". Exodus Books. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  2. "Kreeft, Peter". Library of Congress . Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  3. "God vs. Atheism: Which is More Rational?" on YouTube; at 4:12
  4. Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God, Peter Kreeft & Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Intervarsity Press, 1994, ISBN   978-0-8308-1774-0
  5. "Peter John Kreeft", Boston College
  6. "Evangelicals and Catholics Together". First Things. May 1994. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  7. http://www.apologetics.com/default.jsp?bodycontent=/articles/theistic_apologetics/kreeft-arguments.html Archived 2003-02-17 at Archive.today [ dead link ]
  8. https://www.prageru.com/courses/religionphilosophy/god-vs-atheism-which-more-rational
  9. "Pints With Peter Kreeft – Pints with Aquinas". pintswithaquinas.com. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  10. 1 2 Robert Baraam (1987). Spiritual Journeys:Twenty-Seven Men and Women Share their Faith Experience]. Daughters of St. Paul. ISBN   0-8198-6877-9.
  11. Robert Sibley (March 30, 2007), Boston College professor tackles God's existence - and its proof, Retrieved from PressReader, Ottawa Citizen
  12. "Peter Kreeft", Ignatius Insight