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Peter Kreeft
American philosopher

Peter Kreeft

Peter Kreeft
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American philosopher
Is Religious scholar Theologian Philosopher Writer
From United States of America
Field Literature Philosophy Religion
Gender male
Birth 16 March 1937, Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey, USA
Age 85 years
Star sign Pisces
Mother: Lucy Kreeft
Father: John Kreeft
Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan AB (-1959)
Fordham University, Bronx, New York MA (-1961)
Fordham University, Bronx, New York Ph.D. (-1965)
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Peter Kreeft
The details (from wikipedia)


Peter John Kreeft (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".

Early life

Peter Kreeft was born as Peter John Kreeft on 16 March 1937 in Paterson, New Jersey, to John and Lucy Kreeft.

He earned 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.

Academic career

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.

He joined the philosophy faculty of the Department of Philosophy of Boston College in 1965. He has debated several academics on 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 an endorser 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.

Kreeft has created several short videos for the prominent educational website Prager University. His videos focus on religion and philosophy.

Conversion story

A Calvinist, Kreeft regarded the Catholic Church "with the utmost suspicion". 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." 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." For he reportedly applies 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, His enemies or His worshippers, those who call Him liar and those who call Him Lord; 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."

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."

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." 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:

  • 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 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. How could falsehood and evil be so beautiful?"



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

Critical studies and reviews of Kreeft's work

Socrates meets Descartes

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 14 Nov 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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