Continuing discussion.

EPS Blog

This is the blog area for the Evangelical Philosophical Society and its journal, Philosophia Christi.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Alvin Plantinga Announced as Templeton Prize Laureate

The Evangelical Philosophical Society (EPS) is thrilled to celebrate and honor Alvin Plantinga as the 2017 Templeton Prize Laureate.

A longtime friend, mentor, and instructor to hundreds of EPS members and a contributor to the Society’s journal, Philosophia Christi, Alvin Plantinga has significantly strengthened the plausibility of theism and religious epistemology within academic philosophy.

Since the 1960s, “Alvin Plantinga recognized that not only did religious belief not conflict with serious philosophical work,” said Heather Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation, “but that it could make crucial contributions to addressing perennial problems in philosophy.”

The Templeton Prize, currently valued at about $1.4 million, “honors a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works,” according to the Prize’s website.



“More than one generation of evangelical philosophers is in Alvin Plantinga’s debt,” observes EPS President Angus Menuge. “He showed that Christian thinkers with a serious commitment to biblical theology can do rigorous, analytic philosophy at the highest level. He showed them how to present a coherent Christian worldview as a compelling alternative in a marketplace of ideas dominated by secularism.”

Long held captive by secularizing and naturalizing assumptions about knowledge, fields like philosophy of religion now experience a post-secular turn. “Plantinga started the thaw that de-secularized the academic discipline of philosophy,” says Menuge, “and he encouraged theists everywhere to think through the implications of their faith.”

“I am honored to receive the Templeton Prize,” Plantinga said. “The field of philosophy has transformed over the course of my career. If my work played a role in this transformation, I would be very pleased. I hope the news of the Prize will encourage young philosophers, especially those who bring Christian and theistic perspectives to bear on their work, towards greater creativity, integrity, and boldness.”

With more than a dozen books authored or edited and some 150 articles published, Plantinga's work is not only prodigious but evidence of his thoroughness and concentration. His vision-casting "Advice to Christian Scholars" has been anthologized, cited and quoted many times over by those within and beyond the philosophical guild.

Some of Alvin Plantinga’s contributions with the EPS include the following:
Exemplifying the approach of his own life and work, Plantinga says that "Christian commitments ought to be integrated into one's whole body of belief; they are central to one's whole intellectual structure, in fact, it is the basis of it. In that regard, to be integral, is to have belief in God not separate from one's other beliefs but integrated into them, perhaps the basis of them."


Founded in 1974, the Evangelical Philosophical Society (EPS) is an organization of professional scholars devoted to pursuing philosophical excellence in both the church and the academy. Interested laypersons can join as full, associate, or student members. The EPS holds a national meeting each year in conjunction with the conference held by the Evangelical Theological Society and the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature, along with regional meetings with the American Philosophical Association. The EPS journal, Philosophia Christi, is a scholarly publication (Summer and Winter) advancing discussion about a variety of topics that are of interest to the philosopher and to the philosopher of religion. Moreover, recent EPS web projects include: "Christ-shaped Philosophy" project, "Christian Philosophers in the 'Secular Academy'" project, the "Academic Disciplines, Faithfulness, and the Christian Scholar" project, and "Philosophical Discussion on Marriage and Family Topics" project.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Loke on the Origins of Divine Christology

In 2017, Cambridge University Press will publish The Origins of Divine Christology by Andrew Loke. Loke is Research Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong and a contributor to Philosophia Christi and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Loke's recent book, A Kryptic Model of the Incarnation was featured here at the EPS website. From the publisher's description for The Origins of Divine Christology:
In recent years, there has been considerable debate concerning the origin of divine Christology. Nevertheless, the proposed theories are beset with problems, such as failing to address the evidence of widespread agreement among the earliest Christians concerning divine Christology, and the issues related to whether Jesus' intention was falsified. This book offers a new contribution by addressing these issues using transdisciplinary tools. It proposes that the earliest Christians regarded Jesus as divine because a sizeable group of them perceived that Jesus claimed and showed himself to be divine, and thought that God vindicated this claim by raising Jesus from the dead. It also provides a comprehensive critique of alternative proposals, and synthesizes their strengths. It defends the appropriateness and merits of utilizing philosophical distinctions (e.g. between ontology and function) and Trinitarian concepts for explaining early Christology, and incorporates comparative religion by examining cases of deification in other contexts.
  • Addresses scholarly issues such as the evidence of widespread agreement among the earliest Christians concerning the divinity of Christ, and issues related to whether Jesus' intention was falsified.
  • Synthesizes the strengths of alternative proposals while avoiding their weaknesses, helping readers to better appreciate other proposals, and understand that a more holistic response can be offered.
  • Utilizes the tools of historical-criticism, philosophy, theology, and comparative religion to demonstrate that a transdisciplinary approach can be useful for biblical scholars and historians studying the New Testament and Christian origins.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

How to Read Kierkegaard on Christian Themes

Baylor University Press recently published, Kierkegaard and Christian Faith, co-edited by Paul Martens and Stephen Evans. Martens is Associate Professor of Religion at Baylor University. Evans is University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University and Professorial Fellow, Australian Catholic University. Evans will also be the 2017 plenary speaker for the annual national meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society [Rhode Island]. From the publisher's description:
Kierkegaard and Christian Faith responds directly to the perennial and problematic concern of how to read Kierkegaard. Specifically, this volume presses the question of whether the existentialist philosopher, who so troubled the waters of nineteenth-century Danish Christendom, is a "Christian thinker for our time." The chapters crisscross the disciplines of philosophy, theology, literature, and ethics, and are as rich in argument as they are diverse in style. Collectively the chapters demonstrate a principled agreement that Kierkegaard continues to be relevant, even imperative. Kierkegaard and Christian Faith reveals just how Kierkegaard's work both defines and reconfigures what is meant by "Christian thinker."

Following an autobiographical prologue by Kathleen Norris, this volume gathers the chapters in pairs around crucial themes: the use of philosophy (Merold Westphal and C. Stephen Evans), revelation and authority (Richard Bauckham and Paul J. Griffiths), Christian character (Sylvia Walsh and Ralph C. Wood), the relationship between the church and the world (Jennifer A. Herdt and Paul Martens), and moral questions of forgiveness and love (Simon D. Podmore and Cyril O'Regan). The volume underscores the centrality of Christianity to Kierkegaard's life and thought, and rightly positions Kierkegaard as a profound challenge to Christianity as it is understood and practiced today.
From Biola's Center for Christian Thought, see this presentation by Stephen Evans on Kierkegaard and spirituality:

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A Handbook on the Christian Moral Life

In June 2017, University of Notre Dame Press will publish The Christian Moral Life: Directions for the Journey to Happiness by John Rziha. John Rziha is professor of theology at Benedictine College. From the publisher's description:
To take a journey, travelers must know where they are, where they are going, and how to get there. Moral theology examines the same three truths. The Christian Moral Life is a handbook for moral theology that uses the theme of a journey to explain its key ethical concepts. First, humans begin with their creation in the image of God. Secondly, the goal of the journey is explained as a loving union with God, to achieve a share in his eternal happiness. Third and finally, the majority of the book examines how to attain this goal. Within the journey motif, the book covers the moral principles essential for attaining true happiness. Based on an examination of the moral methodology in the bible, the book discusses the importance of participating in divine nature through grace in order to attain eternal happiness. It further notes the role of law, virtue, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in guiding and transforming humans into friends of God, who participate in his happiness. Following this section on moral theology in general, the book analyzes the individual virtues to give more concrete guidance. The entire project builds upon the insights of great Christian thinkers, such as Thomas Aquinas, Thérèse of Lisieux, and John Paul II, to uncover the moral wisdom in scripture and to show people how to be truly happy both in this life and the next. This book will be of great interest to undergraduate students of moral theology, priests and seminarians, parents and teachers seeking to raise and to form happy children, and anyone interested in discovering the meaning of true happiness.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

On the Demise of Naturalism: Reunifying Political Theory and Social Science

In October 2016, Notre Dame University Press published Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and the Demise of Naturalism: Reunifying Political Theory and Social Science by Jason Blakely. Blakely is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Pepperdine University. From the publisher's description:
Today the ethical and normative concerns of everyday citizens are all too often sidelined from the study of political and social issues, driven out by an effort to create a more “scientific” study. This book offers a way for social scientists and political theorists to reintegrate the empirical and the normative, proposing a way out of the scientism that clouds our age. In Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and the Demise of Naturalism: Reunifying Political Theory and Social Science, Jason Blakely argues that the resources for overcoming this divide are found in the respective intellectual developments of Charles Taylor and Alasdair MacIntyre. Blakely examines their often parallel intellectual journeys, which led them to critically engage the British New Left, analytic philosophy, phenomenology, continental hermeneutics, and modern social science. Although MacIntyre and Taylor are not sui generis, Blakely claims they each present a new, revived humanism, one that insists on the creative agency of the human person against reductive, instrumental, technocratic, and scientistic ways of thinking. The recovery of certain key themes in these philosophers’ works generates a new political philosophy with which to face certain unprecedented problems of our age. Taylor’s and MacIntyre’s philosophies give social scientists working in all disciplines (from economics and sociology to political science and psychology) an alternative theoretical framework for conducting research.

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Monday, January 16, 2017

New Dictionary of Christianity and Science

In April 2017, Zondervan is set to publish the Dictionary of Christianity and Science, edited by Paul Copan, Tremper Longman, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael G. Strauss. Paul Copan is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. Tremper Longman III is the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies and the chair of the Religious Studies department at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California Christopher L. Reese is marketing manager at B&H Academic publishers. Michael G. Strauss is a David Ross Boyd Professor of Physics at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. From the publisher's description:
The Dictionary of Christianity and Science provides, in one volume, entries on over 450 key terms, theories, individuals, movements, and debates at the intersection of Christian faith and contemporary science.

In addition, because certain topics such as the age of the Earth and the historicity of Adam and Eve provoke disagreement among Christians, the dictionary includes “Counterpoints”-like essays that advocate for the views most commonly held among evangelicals. Representatives of leading perspectives present their arguments vigorously but respectfully in these advocacy essays, allowing readers to compare options and draw their own conclusions. The dictionary is also fully cross-referenced and entries include references and recommendation for further reading.

Edited by Paul Copan, Tremper Longman III, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael G. Strauss, the Dictionary of Christianity and Science features a top-notch lineup of over 140 contributors in the fields of biblical studies, theology, philosophy, history, and various sciences. A unique reference work, it will be useful for scholars, pastors, students, and any Christian wanting to better understand the most relevant issues and ideas at the intersection of Christian faith and science.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Volume on Criticisms and Defenses of the Kalam Argument

In August 2017, Bloomsbury Academic is set to publish The Kalam Cosmological Argument: Criticisms and Defenses, co-edited by former EPS presidents, William Lane Craig and Paul Copan. William Lane Craig is a Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and at Houston Baptist University. Paul Copan is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic UniversityFrom the publisher's description:
The kalam cosmological argument is a significant and much-discussed natural theological argument. The argument aims to show that an infinite temporal regress of events is impossible and that therefore the universe began to exist (out of nothing) a finite time ago. In conjunction with the causal principle that whatever begins to exist has a cause, this fact implies that the universe has a transcendent cause of its existence. Championed historically by Muslim, Jewish, and Christian philosophers alike, the argument has enjoyed a contemporary resurgence of interest among philosophers and theologians largely due to the defense of the argument by William Lane Craig and the debate generated by his work.
This volume collects together the best recent work, both philosophical and scientific, on the premises and conclusion of the kalam cosmological argument.

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