Peter Kreeft

Peter John Kreeft (/kreɪft/;[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]

Peter Kreeft
Head-and-shoulder photo portrait of Kreeft
Peter John Kreeft

March 16, 1937 (age 82)[1][2]
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern Philosophy
SchoolChristian philosophy
Main interests
Christian apologetics

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]

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]

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]


  • Socrates' Children, 4 vols. (2019) — The 100 Greatest Philosophers
  • Doors in the Walls of the World (2018) - Signs of Transcendence in the Human Story
  • Forty Reasons I am a Catholic (2018)
  • Between One Faith and Another (2017) — Engaging Conversations on the World's Great Religions
  • Catholics and Protestants (2017) — What Can We Learn from Each Other?
  • How to Be Holy (2016) — First Steps in Becoming a Saint
  • I Burned for Your Peace: Augustine Unpacked (2016) — Burned for Your Peace: Augustine Unpacked
  • The Philosopher's Bench (2015)(DVD) — Catholic philosophers Peter Kreeft and Thomas Howard bring philosophy to the 'man in the street'
  • Letters to an Atheist (2014) — Wrestling with Faith
  • Practical Theology (2014) — Spiritual Direction from Aquinas
  • Socrates Meets Kierkegaard (2014) — Questions the founder of Christian existentialism
  • Charisms: Visions, Tongues, Healing, etc. (feat. Dave Nevins) (2013) — catalysts to "two-way" interactive prayer
  • Jacob's Ladder (2013) — Ten Steps to Truth
  • Summa Philosophica (2012) — 110 Key Questions in Philosophy
  • An Ocean Full of Angels (2011)
  • Socrates Meets Hume (2010) - The Father of Philosophy Meets the Father of Modern Skepticism
  • Between Allah & Jesus: what Christians Can Learn from Muslims (2010)
  • If Einstein Had Been a Surfer (2009) — A Philosophy of Surfing
  • Socrates Meets Kant (2009) — The Father of Philosophy Meets His Most Influential Modern Child
  • Jesus-Shock (2008)
  • Because God Is Real : Sixteen Questions, One Answer (2008)
  • I Surf Therefore I Am (2008) — An exploration of Surfing
  • Before I Go (2007) — Letters to Children About What Really Matters
  • Pocket Guide to the Meaning of Life (2007)
  • The Philosophy of Jesus (2007) — On the wisdom of Jesus
  • Socrates Meets Descartes (2007) - The Father of Philosophy Analyzes the Father of Modern Philosophy's Discourse on Method
  • The Sea Within (2006)
  • The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind "The Lord of the Rings" (2005)
  • Socrates Meets Sartre : Father Of Philosophy Meets The Founder of Existentialism (2005) — Socrates and Jean-Paul Sartre
  • You Can Understand the Bible (2005) - a combination of his previous books You Can Understand the Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Guide for Catholics (1990) and Reading and Praying the New Testament: A Book-by-Book Guide for Catholics (1992)
  • Socratic Logic (2005) — A textbook on classical logic.
  • The God Who Loves You (2004)
  • Socrates Meets Marx (2003) — Socratic dialogue between Socrates and Karl Marx
  • Socrates Meets Machiavelli (2003) — Socratic dialogue between Socrates and Machiavelli
  • Philosophy 101 by Socrates (2002) — An introduction to philosophy via Plato's Apology
  • Three Approaches to Abortion (2002)
  • Celebrating Middle Earth: Lord of the Rings (2002) — On western civilization
  • How to Win the Culture War: A Christian Battle Plan for a Society in Crisis (2002)
  • Socrates Meets Jesus (1987/2002)— Socratic dialogue with students of Harvard University's Divinity School
  • Catholic Christianity (2001)
  • Prayer for Beginners (2000)
  • Refutation of Moral Relativism — Dialogues between a relativist and absolutist (1999)
  • The Snakebite Letters Devious Secrets for Subverting Society (1998)
  • The Journey A Spiritual Roadmap For Modern Pilgrims (1996)
  • Ecumenical Jihad: Ecumenism and the Culture Wars (1996)
  • Angels (and Demons): What Do We Really Know About Them? (1995)
  • Talking to Your Children About Being Catholic (1995) — A treasure trove of ideas
  • Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Pocket Version) (1994)
  • Shadow-Lands of C.S. Lewis : The Man Behind the Movie (1994)
  • C. S. Lewis for the Third Millennium (1994) — Six essays on Lewis' Abolition of Man
  • Handbook of Christian Apologetics (with Ronald K. Tacelli) (1994)
  • Your Questions, God's Answers (1994) — Solid responses for Catholic teens
  • Christianity for Modern Pagans: Pascal's Pensees (1993)
  • Shorter Summa (1993) — Shorter version of Kreeft's Summa of the Summa
  • Back to Virtue (1992) — Reprint of For Heaven's Sake: The Rewards of the Virtuous Life (1986)
  • Prayer: The Great Conversation (1991) — Straight answers to tough questions
  • Three Philosophies of Life (1990) - Ecclesiastes (life as vanity), Job (life as suffering), Song of Songs (life as love)
  • Summa of the Summa (1990) — Summa Theologica edited and explained for beginners
  • Making Choices: Practical Wisdom for Everyday Moral Decisions (1990)
  • Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Heaven... But Never Dreamed of Asking (1990)
  • Heaven, the Heart's Deepest Longing (1989)
  • Fundamentals of the Faith, Essays in Christian Apologetics (1988)
  • Making Sense Out of Suffering (1986)
  • Yes or No? (1984) — Straight Answers to Tough Questions about Christianity
  • The Best Things in Life: (1984) — Twelve Socratic dialogues on modern life
  • The Unaborted Socrates (1983) — Socratic dialogue on abortion
  • Between Heaven and Hell (1982) — A Dialog with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley
  • Love Is Stronger Than Death (1979) — On the meaning of death and life


  1. ^ a b "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. ^ Archived 2003-02-17 at
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Pints With Peter Kreeft – Pints with Aquinas". Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  10. ^ a b 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

External links

A Elbereth Gilthoniel

A Elbereth Gilthoniel is an Elvish hymn to Varda (Elbereth) in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

Antonio Rosmini

Blessed Antonio Francesco Davide Ambrogio Rosmini-Serbati (Italian pronunciation: [anˈtɔːnjo rozˈmiːni serˈbaːti]; Rovereto, 25 March 1797 – Stresa, 1 July 1855) was an Italian Roman Catholic priest and philosopher. He founded the Rosminians, officially the Institute of Charity or Societas a charitate nuncupata, pioneered the concept of social justice, and was a key figure in Italian Liberal Catholicism. Alessandro Manzoni considered Rosmini the only contemporary Italian author worth reading.


Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the religious discipline of defending religious doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) 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.

Argument from consciousness

The argument from consciousness is an argument for the existence of God based on consciousness. The best-known defender of the argument from consciousness is J. P. Moreland.

Argument from desire

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 .

Argument from love

The Argument from love is an argument for the existence of God. The best-known defender of the argument is Roger Scruton.

Between Heaven and Hell (novel)

Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis, & Aldous Huxley is a novel by Peter Kreeft about U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and authors C. S. Lewis (The Chronicles of Narnia) and Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) meeting in Purgatory and engaging in a philosophical discussion on faith. It was inspired by the fact that all three men died on the same day: November 22, 1963. We see from the three points of view: Kennedy's "modern Christian" view, Lewis's "conservative Christian" or "mere Christian" view, and Huxley's "Orientalized Christian" view. The book progresses as Lewis and Kennedy discuss Jesus' being God incarnate, to Lewis and Huxley discussing whether or not Jesus was a deity or "just a good person."

An expanded edition was published by InterVarsity Press on May 16, 2008.

Catholic moral theology

Catholic moral theology is a major category of doctrine in the Catholic Church, equivalent to a religious ethics. Moral theology encompasses Roman Catholic social teaching, Catholic medical ethics, sexual ethics, and various doctrines on individual moral virtue and moral theory. It can be distinguished as dealing with "how one is to act", in contrast to dogmatic theology which proposes "what one is to believe".

Christian agnosticism

Christian agnostics practice a distinct form of agnosticism that applies only to the properties of God. They hold that it is difficult or impossible to be sure of anything beyond the basic tenets of the Christian faith. They believe that God or a higher power exists, that Jesus may have a special relationship with God and is in some way divine, and that God should be worshipped. This belief system has deep roots in Judaism and the early days of the Church.

Great Conversation (Catholicism)

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.

Hail Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star

"Hail, Queen of Heaven, the Ocean Star" is a Marian hymn written by Father John Lingard (1771–1851), a Catholic priest and historian who, through the works of William Cobbett, helped to smooth the passage of the Catholic Emancipation Act in England. Lingard is also credited with translating the carol "The Snow Lay on the Ground" from the traditional Irish.

Ignatius Press

Ignatius Press, named for Saint Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, is a Catholic publishing house based in San Francisco, California, USA. It was founded in 1978 by Father Joseph Fessio SJ, a Jesuit priest and former pupil of Pope Benedict XVI. In an interview in 1998, Father Fessio said, "our objective is to support the teachings of the Church".It is one of the Catholic institutions which have arisen in the United States in the last 35 years in response to a perceived drift in parts of the Church from the traditional tenets of the Catholic faith. In an interview published by Catholic World News, Father Fessio stated that one of the main objectives of Ignatius Press was to print English translations of contemporary European theologians.The Press issues periodicals such as Catholic World Report and Homiletic and Pastoral Review.

Ignatius Press has a full list of publications with a number of new offerings each spring and fall. Among the reprints it has issued are works by G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. In addition to publishing the works of Pope John Paul II, Ignatius Press has published newer works by Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), Peter Kreeft, Scott Hahn, Joseph Pearce, Christopher Derrick, and Michael D. O'Brien. It also publishes various study and devotional editions of the Ignatius Bible, making use of the Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition, a translation revised according to Liturgiam authenticam and noted for its formal equivalence.

In 2014, Ignatius Press entered into a distribution agreement with the Catholic Truth Society to "bring the famous CTS bookstands to North America." Additionally, it entered a collaboration with the Pope Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship (Archdiocese of San Francisco) and Lighthouse Catholic Media to publish an annual congregational missal that is fully consistent with the directives of Sacrosanctum Concilium.

Lewis's trilemma

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.

This argument is very popular with Christian apologists, although some theologians and biblical scholars do not view Jesus as having claimed to be God. Some argue that he identified himself as a divine agent, with a unique relationship to Israel's God. Others see him as wanting to direct attention to the divine kingdom he proclaimed.

List of Catholic philosophers and theologians

This is a list of Catholic philosophers and theologians whose Catholicism is important to their works.

Luis de Molina

Luis de Molina (; 29 September 1535, Cuenca, Spain – 12 October 1600, Madrid, Spain) was a Spanish Jesuit priest and scholastic, a staunch defender of free will in the controversy over human liberty and God's grace. His theology is known as Molinism.

New Oxford Review

The New Oxford Review is a magazine of Roman Catholic cultural and theological commentary. It was founded in 1977 by the American Church Union as an Anglo-Catholic magazine in the Anglican tradition to replace American Church News. It was named for the Oxford Movement of the 1830s and 1840s. In 1983, it officially "converted" to Roman Catholicism. It championed Pope John Paul II's condemnation of the dissenting Catholic theologian Hans Küng. It supported Bernard Francis Law in his condemnation of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative.It was originally headquartered in Oakland, California, and it is now headquartered in Berkeley, California. It has a paid circulation of 12,000. It has published writing by Walker Percy, Sheldon Vanauken, Thomas Howard, George A. Kelly, Bobby Jindal, Stanley L. Jaki, Peter Kreeft, Avery Dulles, Germain Grisez, James V. Schall, John Lukacs, etc. Contributing editors have included Robert N. Bellah, L. Brent Bozell Jr., Robert Coles, and Christopher Lasch.

Peter Lombard

Peter Lombard (also Peter the Lombard, Pierre Lombard or Petrus Lombardus; c. 1096, Novara – 21/22 July 1160, Paris), was a scholastic theologian, Bishop of Paris, and author of Four Books of Sentences, which became the standard textbook of theology, for which he earned the accolade Magister Sententiarum.

Romano Guardini

Romano Guardini (17 February 1885 – 1 October 1968) was an Italian-born German Catholic priest, author, and academic. He was one of the most important figures in Catholic intellectual life in the 20th century.

St. Austin Review

The St. Austin Review (StAR) is a Catholic international review of culture and ideas. It is edited by author, columnist and EWTN TV host Joseph Pearce and writer Robert Asch. StAR includes book reviews, discussions of sacred art, contemporary poetry, and erudite essays on all aspects of contemporary culture from a traditional Catholic perspective. The magazine is based in South Bend, Indiana.

Originally launched to be the flagship publication of the Saint Austin Press in 2001, it is now published by St. Augustine's Press. It is distributed by St. Augustine's in North America, and was distributed in Europe by Family Publications before it ceased trading. The journal is trans-atlantic in content, containing material from both America and Europe, although the review tend to lean towards material from America.

In addition to the editors, regular contributors have included apologist Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Jesuit Fr. Peter Milward, Fr. James V. Schall, Susan Treacy, educationalist and founder of Chavagnes International College Ferdi McDermott, editor-in-chief of Baronius Press Dr. John Newton, Dr. Patrick Riley, and artist and essayist Jef Murray.

Authors whose work has appeared in StAR include Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Ralph McInerny, Pope Benedict XVI, Aidan Nichols, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Alice von Hildebrand, and Peter Kreeft. Frequently, articles in StAR focus on Catholic themes in the literature, history, architecture and culture of England.

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