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July 10, 2010 / compassioninpolitics

Top Top Christian Philosophers Through History

1) Thomas Aquinas
2) Immanuel Kant
3) Soren Kierkeggard
4) Emmanuel Levinas (technically perhaps a Jewish philosopher, but based on Christian values none the less)
5) Martin Buber (technically a Jewish philosopher)
6) Alvin Plantinga
7) CS Lewis
8] Norman Geisler
9) Martin Luther
10) Francis Shaffer

Honorable Mention:
1) NT Wright
2) Alister Macgrath
3) Ravi Zacharias
4) Tim Keller
5) William Lane Craig

This list is somewhat arbitrary, but provides some helpful guidelines in terms of some of the more respected philosophers.

If you want a broader list, you could go to this theology website (link) and pick the specific time-period you are interested in.

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18 Comments

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  1. compassioninpolitics / Mar 23 2011 7:23 pm

    I would also add NT Wright to the list.

    Acquinas & CS Lewis should probably be at the top.

    William Lane Craig also deserves a spot on the list.

  2. nate thompson / Jan 4 2012 8:58 pm

    I can’t help but notice, your list seems to be biased towards modern philosophers. You don’t have any from the first twelve hundred years of Christianity, and you have six from the 20th Century. I don’t mean anything personal, its just an interesting discussion and I’m curious about what criteria you used.

  3. compassioninpolitics / Jan 5 2012 9:52 pm

    nate,

    my list is obviously biased by my experience. my intent wasn’t to create a definitive list, but rather to get a conversation going (or at least a way to share book/author suggestions). so it would be biased in the same way that a list of the top 10 places to eat your town might be biased by the places you’ve been exposed to.

    I do think, however, that I’ve borrowed on what many would call classics….although not across the board. For instance, I should probably add Chesterton and Alister McGrath and probably even NT Wright (although he’s arguably more of the theologian as is Timothy Keller who perhaps falls somewhere in between).

    I hope than answers your question.

  4. Damian Ryan / Jan 9 2012 4:43 pm

    Augustine?

  5. Trevor York / Oct 1 2013 7:16 pm

    I’m kind of late on reading this post but I just searched “top Christian philosophers” on google just because I was curious. And after reading this I felt I had to comment because I thought the list was kind of funny being that C.S. Lewis was hardly respected at all by secular philosophers because a lot of his philosophical points are just not logical, same thing with Thomas Aquinas. Both of these “philosophers” base their “proofs” on the presupposition that the bible is true, which is just circular logic. Essentially they are proving the existence of God while using the bible, but to take the bible as a credible source you must also believe in the existence of God. So basically a majority of their arguments just fall on top of each other. The only reason C.S. Lewis wrote “The Chronicles of Narina” was because his previous book, “Miracles”, was so heavily criticized by the academic world. So he decided to write children’s books, thinking that they would be safer. Christian thinkers like C.S. Lewis and Thomas Aquinas have their place in Christian academia but to call them “philosophers” is an insult to real philosophers like Kant, Hume, and Kierkeggard.

    • Petter / Mar 25 2014 9:28 pm

      Aquinas is most definitely one of the most influential philosophers in history. No doubt what-so-ever about that. C.S. Lewis wasn’t technically a philosopher, though his works has inspired (and still do inspire) many of the greatest christian thinkers of today. Plantinga really deserves a big star of importance. If it hadn’t been for his work in the mid 1900’s, God might have vanished from philosophical academia. His renewment of the ontological argument is considered of great great worth.

    • James Earl Cash / May 23 2014 9:55 am

      “And after reading this I felt I had to comment because I thought the list was kind of funny being that C.S. Lewis was hardly respected at all by secular philosophers because a lot of his philosophical points are just not logical, same thing with Thomas Aquinas. Both of these “philosophers” base their “proofs” on the presupposition that the bible is true, which is just circular logic. ”

      this is UTTERLY false. ESPECIALLY about aquinas. Where did you get this from, Dawkins. Aquinas is widely considered a top 5 philosopher of all time, let alone Christian philosopher. He basically completed Aristotle’s metaphysics when he passed before he could complete it. Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics. You also committed a combination of appeal to authority and genetic fallacies in your “criticism.”

  6. compassioninpolitics / Oct 3 2013 3:09 am

    Interesting opinion. Thats basically labeling and name calling. Not an argument. I haven’t read Aquinas much, but a pretty influential thinker for sure.

    Also, you don’t provide any grounding for your arguments.

    Arguments don’t have to fit an academic notion of rational argument to be arguments. For instance, the idea of informal logic is increasing popular in the academia. (i.e. this might explode those formerly exclusive definitions of logic, rationality, and argument).

    Criticism of “Miracles” doesn’t equate to criticism of the multiple works of CS Lewis.

    Also, I’ve written on the criticism of the meme that “references to the Bible are circular.”:

    http://compassioninpolitics.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/is-reference-to-the-bible-circular-in-nature/

  7. Benson / Oct 21 2013 9:46 pm

    kant wasnt a christian i believe.

  8. compassioninpolitics / Dec 22 2013 8:25 pm

    I need to add Norman Geisler to the list, although he probably falls under theology rather than philosophy (but I think in the case of Christian philosophers these distinctions are a bit gray):

    http://www.normgeisler.com/about/default.htm#BooksByNorm

  9. compassioninpolitics / Dec 24 2013 5:40 pm

    Its possible to add the following:

    Dorthy Sayers
    Charles Williams
    Owen Barfield
    George McDonald
    GK Chesterton
    Tolkien
    CS Lewis

    http://www.wheaton.edu/wadecenter/Authors

    It may be that the following are more properly called the Christian Philosophers of this generation:
    Keller
    NT Wright
    Ravi Zacharias
    William Lane Craig
    Platinga

    A number of classics (Augustine, etc…)

  10. compassioninpolitics / Jan 1 2014 3:21 am

    John Polkinghorne is pretty good (his focus is physics & quantum mechanics–he’s quite an intelligent guy)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Polkinghorne

    John Haught is pretty good I think given his citations:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Haught

  11. joshua seim / Mar 20 2014 6:55 am

    I think Planting should have made the 3 spot, and close behind should be Gordon H. Clark. C.S. Lewis and Martin Luther should not have been placed on this list. Especially Lewis, his spot should have been given to Augustine.

  12. Petter / Mar 25 2014 9:16 pm

    You miss some of the really big ones:
    – St. Augustine
    – St. Anselm of Canterbury
    – Francis Bacon
    – Duns Scotus
    – René Descartes
    – Blaise Pascal
    – Gottfried Leibniz
    – John Locke
    – William Paley
    – Spinoza (muligens)

  13. Yaakov / May 5 2014 11:27 pm

    Richard Swinburne should have been mentioned

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