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Socrates Meets Jesus: History's Greatest Questioner Confronts the Claims of Christ
Inter-varsity Press / 2002 / Paperback
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Socrates, the great questioner, somehow appears at Have It University (think Harvard), and begins to, as he is wont to do, ask a lot of questions. His questions pierce to the heart of various issues, causing people to reconsider their beliefs. His interactions with the students and faculty at Have It lead him to different conclusions about life and its purpose than those espoused at the great school of learning. Apologist Peter Kreeft portrays both Socrates and the prototypical university in a fascinating manner, and the result is pure literary and philosophical enjoyment.
Some would expect Socrates to fit right in with the university crowd. After all, it was Plato, Socrates' student, who first introduced the idea of an academy, a place where students could learn without any interference. But, at least as Kreeft portrays it (and he is not far removed from it, teaching at Boston College) the academy of today is vastly different than the academy that Plato (or Socrates) might have envisioned. Thus, the revived Socrates finds that instead of seeking after truth (as they should be in the academy), people do not even know what the truth is. He also finds that the highly educated may not be the wisest people in society (often they are not), and that things are rarely, if ever, taken at face value (many people think he is just pretending to be Socrates).
Socrates looks at various issues, including progress, fundamentalism, miracles, comparative religions, and others. But much of his time is spent investigating the life and claims of Jesus Christ. At first, Socrates can not understand how God could become a man, although he acknowledges that it would be within the power of God to do so. To answer his questions, Socrates begins by reading the Bible to learn about the context in which Jesus spoke and what his words may have meant. His philosophical and logical nature allows him to find some startling answers to questions about the uniqueness of Christ, Christ's view of salvation and of God, and the truth of the resurrection. Startling to those at Have It, at least, for Socrates comes to the conclusion that if the stories in the Bible about Jesus are true, then Jesus truly is the Son of God and this should totally transform the way we live. Using the Socratic method (of course), Kreeft guides readers to the fascinating possibility that Socrates would have become a Christian, had Christianity been around then.
What would happen if Socrates--yes, the Socrates of ancient Athens--suddenly showed up on the campus of a major university and enrolled in its divinity school? What would he think of human progress since his day? How would he react to our values? To our culture? And what would he think of Jesus? Peter Kreeft, Christian philosopher and longtime admirer of the historic Socrates, imagines the result. In this drama Socrates meets such fellow students as Bertha Broadmind, Thomas Keptic and Molly Mooney. Throughout, Kreeft weaves an intriguing web as he brings Socrates closer and closer to a meeting with Jesus. Here is a startling and provocative portrayal of reason in search of truth. In a new introduction to this revised edition, Kreeft also highlights the inspiration for this book and the key questions of truth and faith it addresses.
Peter J. Kreeft (Ph.D., Fordham University) is professor of philosophy at Boston College where he has taught since 1965. A popular lecturer, he has also taught at many other colleges, seminaries and educational institutions in the eastern United States. Kreeft has written more than fifty books, including and, with Ronald Tacelli,
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