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

(1937-03-16) March 16, 1937 (age 87)[1][2]
EducationCalvin College
Fordham University
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolChristian philosophy
Main interests
Christian apologetics

Peter John Kreeft (/krft/;[3] born March 16, 1937) is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College. A convert to Roman Catholicism, he is the author of over eighty books[4] on Christian philosophy, theology and apologetics. He also formulated, together with Ronald K. Tacelli, Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God in their Handbook of Christian Apologetics.[5][6]

Academic career

Kreeft was born March 16, 1937, in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of John and Lucy Kreeft. He graduated in 1955 from Eastern Christian High School, where his class hymn was sung at graduation ceremonies.[7] Raised in Wyckoff, New Jersey,[8] he took his BA at Calvin College (1959) and an MA at Fordham University (1961). He completed his doctoral studies in 1965, also at Fordham, where he completed a dissertation under the direction of W. Norris Clarke. He subsequently completed his post-graduate studies at Yale University.[1]

Kreeft joined the philosophy faculty of the Department of Philosophy of Boston College in 1965.[9] 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.[citation needed]

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".[10] He also formulated, with R. Tacelli, "Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God".[11]

Conversion story

Kreeft converted to Catholicism during his college years.[12] A key turning point came 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."[13]

The "central and deciding" factor for his conversion was "the Church's claim to be the one Church historically founded by Christ."[13] He reportedly applied C. S. Lewis's trilemma (that either Jesus is a lunatic, a liar, or the 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."[14]

According to Kreeft's personal account, his conversion to Catholic Christianity 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..."[15]

Although a Catholic, he places central emphasis on the unity between Catholics and Protestants.[16]




  1. ^ a b "Peter Kreeft". Exodus Books. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "Kreeft, Peter". Library of Congress. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "God vs. Atheism: Which is More Rational?" on YouTube; at 4:12
  4. ^ Charlie McKinney (11 September 2019), "Peter Kreeft On Books & Music", Spiritual Direction. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ "Twenty Arguments God's Existence by Peter Kreeft (& Ronald K. Tacelli)". Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  7. ^ "Class Of 60 Graduated By Eastern Christian HS", The Morning Call, June 25, 1955. Accessed December 27, 2023, via "The class hymn followed, which was composed by Peter Kreeft, a graduate."
  8. ^ "Kreeft Chosen For Fellowship", Ridgewood Herald-News, March 12, 1959. Accessed December 27, 2023, via "Peter J. Kreeft of 760 Frederick Court has been chosen as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow for the 1959-1980 year and will enter Yale University to do graduate work in philosophy in September. He Is now student at Calvin College."
  9. ^ "Peter John Kreeft", Boston College
  10. ^ "Evangelicals and Catholics Together". First Things. May 1994. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  11. ^ "Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God". Archived from the original on February 17, 2003.
  12. ^ "Pints With Peter Kreeft – Pints with Aquinas". October 16, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Robert Sibley (March 30, 2007), Boston College professor tackles God's existence - and its proof, Retrieved from PressReader, Ottawa Citizen
  15. ^ ""Peter Kreeft", Ignatius Insight". Archived from the original on June 28, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2007.
  16. ^ "70x7 Reasons to Be Both Catholic and Protestant"