Diogenes Allen

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Diogenes Allen
Head of man in his sixties with gray hair
Born (1932-10-17)October 17, 1932
Died January 13, 2013(2013-01-13) (aged 80)
Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Fields Philosophy; Theology
Institutions Princeton Theological Seminary
Alma mater University of Kentucky;
St John's College, Oxford;
Yale Divinity School
Known for interpreter of Simone Weil and Søren Kierkegaard
Notable awards John Templeton Foundation Awards

Diogenes Allen (October 17, 1932 – January 13, 2013) was an American philosopher and theologian who served as the Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton Theological Seminary.[1] He was ordained by the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and served as priest associate at All Saints' Episcopal Church, Princeton, New Jersey. He held courtesy membership as a minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) as well. He died on January 13, 2013 in Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.[2]

Early life[edit]

Allen was the child of immigrant Greeks and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. His family was Greek Orthodox, but as there was no Greek Orthodox church nearby, the family joined fellow Greeks who attended an Episcopal church. A new Episcopal bishop, however, forbade them from doing so, meaning that the family attended only Orthodox services whenever a visiting Greek priest conducted them. During this time the young Allen was invited by a friend to visit a Presbyterian church and eventually he became a Presbyterian.


Allen graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1954, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and awarded the Sullivan Award for academic excellence and humanitarian work. He then began graduate study at Princeton University, but, after being awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, he matriculated to St John's College, Oxford. There he studied philosophy and met his wife Jane, a fellow student and a sprinter.

After returning to America, Allen earned a Bachelor of Divinity at Yale Divinity School. He was ordained in what is now the Presbyterian Church (USA) and called to a pastorate in Windham, New Hampshire. Shortly thereafter he enrolled at Yale University Graduate School to study for a PhD in philosophy, which was awarded in 1965.

University career[edit]

Allen began his teaching career in 1964 at York University, Toronto. In 1967, Princeton Theological Seminary offered him the position of associate professor of philosophy, which, though he was advised not to accept, he took. In 1974, he was appointed to a full professorship there and in 1981 was named Stuart Professor of Philosophy. By the time of his retirement in 2002, he had served the faculty for thirty-five years and had become an authority on Gottfried Leibniz and an influential interpreter of Simone Weil and Søren Kierkegaard.


Allen's numerous awards include a Rockefeller Fellowship; a Canada Council Fellowship; research fellowships given by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and the Center for Theological Inquiry; a Pew Evangelical Scholarship; and two John Templeton Foundation Awards for Best Courses in Science and Religion.

He is also the recipient of an Outstanding American Educator Award in 1974; a past member of the executive board of the Society of Christian Philosophers; a co-founder and member of the executive board of the American Weil Society; and a member of the board of directors of the Ecumenical Institute of Canada.


  • Leibniz' Theodicy (1966)
  • The Reasonableness of Faith (1968)
  • Finding Our Father (1974, republished as The Path of Perfect Love in 1992)
  • Between Two Worlds (1977, republished as Temptation in 1986)
  • Traces of God in a Frequently Hostile World (1981)
  • Three Outsiders: Pascal, Kierkegaard and Simone Weil (1983)
  • Mechanical Explanation and the Ultimate Origin of the Universe according to Leibniz (1983)
  • Philosophy for Understanding Theology (1985)
  • Love: Christian Romance, Marriage and Friendship (1987)
  • Spirituality and Theology: Essays in Honor of Diogenes Allen, edited Eric Springsted (1988).
  • Christian Belief in a Postmodern World: The Full Wealth of Conviction (1989)
  • Quest: The Search for Meaning through Christ (1990)
  • Primary Readings in Philosophy for Understanding Theology (1992)
  • Nature, Spirit and Community: Issues in the Thought of Simone Weil (1994)
  • Spiritual Theology: The Theology of Yesterday for Help Today (1997)
  • Steps Along the Way: A Spiritual Autobiography (2002)
  • and over fifty journal articles.

See also[edit]