Socrates Meets Jesus

Socrates Meets Jesus

History's Greatest Questioner Confronts the Claims of Christ

by Peter Kreeft
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Trade Paperback, 182 pages
List Price: $16.00 Our Price: $9.50

PLEASE NOTE: this is your last chance to buy this item. We will NOT be buying it again. Also, this product is NOT RETURNABLE, and SOLD AS-IS. If it is used, it may have defects, such as highlighting, torn pages or loose cover.

Peter Kreeft has made a name for himself as a Christian (Roman Catholic) philosopher whose chief project seems to be as an apologist offering good, logically sound reasons for believing the truth-claims of the Christian faith. His most famous books are a series in which Socrates (Kreeft's self-avowed hero) meets a number of the world's great thinkers in witty dialogue to parse out the major questions of philosophy and faith, and provide some answers.

The books in which Socrates meets people like Karl Marx, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Rene Descartes are very useful on both a historical and an apologetic level: readers learn what these philosophers thought and wrote, and are given some basic responses to their main ideas. In this book, however, Socrates Meets Jesus in the form of a time-traveling Socrates meeting four modern representatives of Christianity and talking with them about their faith.

This is a dangerous book. While philosophy rightly used isn't a bad thing (far from it), it becomes bad when it's used to support belief in or about God. There is one book that teaches us about God: the Bible, which is His written self-revelation (2 Timothy 3:16). Peter Kreeft doesn't do that here. Instead, he one-ups each of the Christians he presents with Socrates' cogent arguments that are based entirely in human reason, not on the truth of God's Word.

Socrates doesn't really meet Jesus. Jesus never appears in the text (a wise move on Kreeft's part, as to put words in God's mouth is a supremely dangerous undertaking), and the "Christians" Socrates meets are actually no more than caricatures of common stereotypes. What happens, then, is that Socrates ends up refuting all kinds of arguments, and getting ultimately to the truth by his own logic and reason.

In the introduction, Kreeft expresses his belief in, and avers the truth of, the orthodox tenets of the Christian faith. But by defending it with human reason rather than with the Word of God, he undercuts his entire argument. Many of his books are very good and quite useful, but if a Christian scholar is going to write an apologetic work, that work must be rooted in the only inerrant source of spiritual knowledge: the holy Scripture as delivered to us by the Holy Spirit.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
Did you find this review helpful?

Exodus Rating:
FLAWS: Human reason presented as the surest path to God
Summary: Socrates reasons his way to Jesus, and it is strongly suggested that he was in fact a believer, despite his paganism.

Related Categories
Recommended for...