Peter Kreeft

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Peter Kreeft
Head-and-shoulder photo portrait of Kreeft
Born (1937-03-16) March 16, 1937 (age 78)[1][2]
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Christian philosophy
Main interests
Christian apologetics

Peter John Kreeft (/krft/;[3] born 16 March 1937) is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College. He is the author of numerous books as well as a popular writer of Christian philosophy, theology and apologetics. He also formulated, together with Ronald K. Tacelli, SJ, "Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God".[4]

Academic career[edit]

Kreeft took his A.B. at Calvin College (1959) and an M.A. at Fordham University (1961). In the same university he completed his doctoral studies in 1965. He briefly did post-graduate studies at Yale University.

Kreeft has received several honors for achievements in philosophical reasoning. They include the following: Woodrow Wilson, Yale-Sterling Fellowship, Newman Alumni Scholarship, Danforth Asian Religions Fellowship, and Weathersfield Homeland Foundation Fellowship.

Kreeft joined the philosophy faculty of the Department of Philosophy of Boston College in 1965. 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, S.J..

In 1971 Kreeft published an article entitled "Zen In Heidegger's 'Gelassenheit'" in the peer-reviewed journal International Philosophical Quarterly, the philosophy journal published by Kreeft's alma mater, Fordham University. In 1994, he was a signer of the document "Evangelicals and Catholics Together". He also formulated, with R. Tacelli, SJ, "Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God", which he calls a "cumulative case" and that "all twenty taken together, like twined rope, make a very strong case" he states.[5]

Conversion story[edit]

A Calvinist, Kreeft regarded the Catholic Church "with the utmost suspicion."[6] 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."[6] The Church fathers such as Augustine and Jerome were clearly Catholic and not Protestant, he stated.

The "central and deciding" factor for his conversion was "the Church's claim to be the one Church historically founded by Christ."[6] For he applies C. S. Lewis's trilemma—either Jesus is a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord to the Church: "either that this is the most arrogant, blasphemous and wicked claim imaginable, if it is not true, or else that He is just what He claims to be."

On the Bible issue, he refers to the church preaching that forms the basis for writing the Bible and the approval needed from the church to ascertain the contents of the Bible. To this he applied the axiom: "a cause can never be less than its effect. You can't give what you don't have. If the Church has no divine inspiration and no infallibility, no divine authority, then neither can the New Testament."[6]

His conversion took place as he asked God for help, praying that "God would decide for me, for I am good at thinking but bad at acting, like Hamlet."[6] It was then that he says he "seemed to sense" the call of saints and his favorite heroes, to which he assented.

According to Kreeft's personal account, his conversion to Catholicism was influenced by things such as:[6]

  • the thought of the relatively small number of Calvinists vis-a-vis God's willingness to save many - because if the Bible tells us that God is going to save many, then it seems that He must be intending to do so.
  • a simple way of understanding God's demands in terms of asking God what He wants us to do, and then doing it
  • the logic of asking saints to pray for us as we ask friends to pray for us
  • medieval art and philosophy (Gothic architecture, Thomistic philosophy)
  • reading St. John of the Cross whose writings he viewed as really "something as massive and positive as a mountain range"
  • a visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York 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. How could falsehood and evil be so beautiful?"[7]


  • 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
  • Socrates Meets Hume (2010) - The Father of Philosophy Meets the Father of Modern Skepticism
  • Between Allah & Jesus: what Christians Can Learn from Muslims (2010)
  • 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)
  • 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
  • How to Win the Culture War (2002)
  • Three Approaches to Abortion (2002)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Christianity for Modern Pagans: Pascal's Pensees (1993)
  • Shorter Summa (1993) — Shorter version of Kreeft's Summa of the Summa
  • Back to Virtue (1992)
  • 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. ^ "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. ^
  6. ^ a b c d e f Robert Baraam (1987). Spiritual Journeys:Twenty-Seven Men and Women Share their Faith Experience. Daughters of St. Paul. ISBN 0-8198-6877-9.  External link in |title= (help)
  7. ^

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