A few years back, “New Atheist” authors Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett helped to publicize a movement to rechristen atheists as “Brights” (see our feature article on influential atheists here).
This was no doubt mainly because the word “atheist” still has a harsh and aggressive ring in the ears of most ordinary people.
But the corollary — that people of faith are “Dims” — was surely an added benefit, in the minds of the New Atheist publicity men.
Is it really true that most intelligent and well-informed people are atheists, while people of faith tend to be unschooled and credulous?
Far from it.
Unfortunately, in the rancorous debates in this country over the role of religion in our public life, all too often it is simply assumed — by both sides — that religious faith is in conflict with reason (and intelligence). The unspoken assumption is that religion relies exclusively on faith, while science alone is supported by reason.
This idea is utterly mistaken, but because it mostly goes unchallenged, it reinforces the stereotype that atheists are somehow smarter than believers.
One way to combat the erroneous assumption that faith conflicts with reason is by giving greater visibility to living, breathing believers who are also highly intelligent. That is what we are endeavoring to do with this list of “The 50 Smartest People of Faith.”
The qualifications for inclusion on our list are twofold:
- Intellectual brilliance, evidenced by a very high level of achievement, whether in the natural sciences, the social sciences, the humanities, literature, the fine arts, or public service; and
- Religious faith, evidenced either through explicit personal witness or through publicly professed respect for religion.
By “religious faith,” we mean religion in the monotheistic, or Abrahamic, tradition — which we happen to know best. We do not doubt that a similar list of brilliant and devout Hindus, Buddhists, Daoists, Confucianists, Shintoists, and others could easily be drawn up, and we hope it will be, by those qualified to do so.
Most of the individuals on our list have given explicit public witness to their religious faith. However, in a few cases we infer a faith that appears to be implicit in a person’s writings. Needless to say, we do not pretend to see into people’s hearts. Unbeknownst to us, some individuals may have private reservations. But all have declared their deeply held respect for religious faith through their works and/or their public pronouncements.
This list, then, includes living men and women who are both people of faith and people of exceptional intellectual brilliance and professional accomplishment. It is presented in alphabetical order.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about how reason supports religious faith could hardly do better than delve into their scholarship or other creative achievements, by following the links we provide.
- The 50 Top Atheist in the World Today
- Bart Ehrman–Michael Licona Dialogue on the Historical Reliability of the New Testament
- Rupert Sheldrake–Michael Shermer Dialogue on the Nature of Science
- Find more in-depth interviews of leading thinkers
The 50 Smartest People of Faith
Khaled Abou El Fadl (b. 1963)
Abou El Fadl was born in Kuwait. He was trained in traditional Islamic jurisprudence in Kuwait and in Egypt, and also holds a JD from University of Pennsylvania Law School, and a PhD in Islamic law from Princeton University. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA law school, as well as Chair of the Islamic Studies Program at UCLA. Abou El Fadl is the author of many books on Islamic law and politics, several of which have been widely translated, as well as scores of articles in academic journals. His research focuses on the theme of beauty as a core moral value of Islam, as well as on universal themes of humanity, morality, human rights, justice, and mercy. He has publicly opposed the Saudi-based Wahhabi movement, and is a vocal supporter of democracy, pluralism, and women’s rights in Islamic countries. A sometime consultant for the US government, Abou El Fadl has received recognition from several universities and international governmental bodies, including the University of Oslo’s Human Rights Award. He has been called one of the world’s most influential Arabs.
Books: Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law (Cambridge UP, 2001); And God Knows the Soldiers: The Authoritative and Authoritarian in Islamic Discourses (University Press of America, 2001); Conference of the Books: The Search for Beauty in Islam (University Press of America, 2001; reprinted, Rowman & Littlefield, 2005); The Place of Tolerance in Islam, co-author (Beacon Press, 2002); Speaking in God’s Name: Islamic Law, Authority, and Women (OneWorld, 2001); Islam and the Challenge of Democracy, co-author (Princeton UP, 2004); The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists (HarperOne, 2005)
Marilyn McCord Adams (b. 1943)
Born Marilyn McCord, Adams was educated at the University of Illinois (AB) and Cornell University (PhD, 1967). She also holds a Master of Theology degree from Princeton Theological Seminary (1986) and a Doctor of Divinity degree from Oxford University (2008). She has taught at UCLA, Yale, and Oxford. Since 2009, she has been Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Adams is an ordained Episcopal priest. She is best known for her work on the Problem of Evil, and more specifically, for her notion of “horrendous” evil — evil so great as to appear inconsistent with any conceivable “soul-building” type of justification (or theodicy) for God’s permitting it to occur. She has also argued in favor of the universal salvation of all souls, no matter how corrupt. Adams gave the prestigious Gifford Lectures in 1998–1999. These were later published as Christ and Horrors: The Coherence of Christology.
Books: The Problem of Evil co-editor (Oxford UP, 1991); Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God (Cornell UP, 1999); What Sort of Human Nature? Medieval Philosophy and the Systematics of Christology (Marquette University Press, 1999); Wrestling for Blessing (Church Publishing Inc, 2005); Christ and Horrors: The Coherence of Christology (Cambridge UP, 2006); Opening to God (Westminster John Knox Press, 2008); Some Later Medieval Theories of the Eucharist: Thomas Aquinas, Gilles of Rome, Duns Scotus, and William Ockham (Oxford UP, 2010)
Werner Arber (b. 1929)
Arber was born in a small town in the canton of Aargau, in northern Switzerland, into a Protestant family. He studied at the famous Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and received his PhD in molecular genetics in 1958 from the University of Geneva. Afterwards, he continued his research into the genetics of the bacteriophage virus at a number of universities in the United States, including the University of Southern California, Berkeley, Stanford, and MIT. He has been a member of the innovative, multidisciplinary Biozentrum at the University of Basel since its inception in 1971. Arber’s work on the genetics of phage played a crucial role in the development of recombinant DNA technology, sparking the biotechnology revolution and earning him the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1978. He has been a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Rome since 1981, and is a member of the Science, Theology, and the Ontological Quest (STOQ) Project. In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Arber as President of the Pontifical Academy — the first Protestant to hold that position.
Book: Genetic Manipulation: Impact on Man and Society, co-editor (Cambridge UP, 1984)
Benjamin S. Carson (b. 1951)
Carson was born in Detroit, where he was raised in poverty by a single mother. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale and an MD from the University of Michigan. He did his residency in neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, where he became the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery in 1984, at the age of 33. Carson is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In 1987, he made medical history by being the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins joined at the back of the head. He has pioneered many surgical techniques that have become standard in the field of neurosurgery. In 2012, Carson found himself at the center of a national controversy, when he was first invited, then disinvited, and finally re-invited to deliver the commencement address at Emory University. He is the president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund.
Books: Gifted Hands 20th Anniversary Edition: The Ben Carson Story (Zondervan, 2011); America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great (Zondervan, 2012)
Stephen L. Carter (b. 1954)
Carter graduated from high school in Ithaca, New York, in 1972, and earned a BA in history from Stanford University in 1976. He received his JD from Yale University in 1979, after which he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, among others. Since 1982, he has taught at Yale Law School, where he is currently the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law. Carter is a Roman Catholic. At Yale, he teaches courses on contracts, professional responsibility, ethics in literature, intellectual property, and the law and ethics of war. He is also a prolific author, having published eight volume of political and cultural criticism, as well as five novels. His books Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby and The Culture of Disbelief were widely reviewed and discussed. His first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park, spent 11 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Carter also writes a regular opinion column for Christianity Today magazine.
Books: Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby (Basic Books, 1991); The Culture of Disbelief (Basic Books, 1993); The Emperor of Ocean Park (Random House, 2002)
Simon Conway Morris (b. 1951)
Conway Morris was born in Carshalton, Surrey, and was brought up in London. He studied geology at Bristol University and received his PhD from Cambridge University, where he is currently a professor of evolutionary palaeobiology. Conway Morris was elected a member of the Royal Society at the age of 39, in recognition for his groundbreaking work in paleontology. He has also received numerous other academic awards. In 2005, he gave the Boyle Lectures, and in 2007 he delivered the Gifford Lectures. Conway Morris, who is Anglican, is best known for his field work on the fossil deposits contained in the Burgess Shale formation in British Columbia, which represent some of our best evidence for the nature of the Cambrian Explosion. Conway Morris’s work on the Burgess Shale was popularized by celebrated paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould in his bestselling work, Wonderful Life (Norton, 1989). However, the two evolutionary biologists subsequently clashed over their differing interpretations of the fossils. Conway Morris has published a number of books, including two which present his interpretations of the Burgess Shale fossils, as well as his general theory of convergent evolution, for a popular audience.
Books: The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals (Oxford UP, 1998); Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe (Cambridge UP, 2003); The Deep Structure of Biology, editor (Templeton Press, 2008); The Fitness of the Cosmos for Life, co-editor (Cambridge UP, 2008)
Louise S. Cowan (b. 1916)
Born Louise Shillenburg, Cowan received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. She wrote her PhD dissertation on the poets of the Southern Renaissance of the 1920s at Vanderbilt University. This work was later published as The Fugitive Group (Louisiana State UP, 1959), a classic in its field. Cowan, who is Roman Catholic, taught for over 50 years at the University of Dallas, where she was Chair of the English Department, Dean of Graduate Studies, and University Professor. She also founded and directed the university’s Institute for Philosophic Studies. Cowan is the author of numerous scholarly studies of American and other literature. Together with her husband, Donald Cowan, President of the University of Dallas from 1962 until 1977, she founded the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture. In conjunction with the Dallas Institute, she also founded a Teachers Academy for public school teachers, which the National Endowment for the Humanities has designated as a “model for the nation.” Cowan has continued to teach and lecture into her tenth decade.
Books: The Fugitive Group (Louisiana State UP, 1959); The Southern Critics (University of Dallas Press, 1971); Classic Texts and the Nature of Authority, co-author (Dallas Institute of Humanities & Culture, 1993); Invitation to the Classics, co-author (Baker Books, 1998)
William Lane Craig (b. 1949)
Craig was born in East Peoria, Illinois. He obtained his bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College, and two master’s degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He studied under John Hicks at the University of Birmingham, UK, where he received a PhD in philosophy in 1977, and with Wolfhart Pannenberg at the University of Munich, where he received a doctorate in theology in 1984. He has taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Westmont College, and the University of Louvain, Belgium. He is currently Research Professor of Philosophy at the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, in California. Craig, who is a Baptist, is a prolific author, having written or edited some 30 scholarly and popular books. He has made influential contributions to several areas of contemporary philosophy of religion, the best-known of which is undoubtedly his revival of the Kalām Cosmological Argument. He maintains a busy schedule of lecturing and debating on college campuses and in other public forums around the world. In 2011, Craig made headlines when Richard Dawkins refused to appear at a debate with him at the University of Oxford to which both had been invited.
Books: The Kalām Cosmological Argument (Macmillan, 1979); Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology, co-author (Oxford UP, 1993); Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time (Crossway, 2001); Reasonable Faith, 3rd ed. (Crossway, 2008)
Jean Bethke Elshtain (b. 1941)
Elshtain was raised in the village of Timnath, in northern Colorado. She received her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University, and master’s degrees in history from the University of Colorado and the University of Wisconsin. In 1973, she received her PhD in political science from Brandeis University. She has taught at the University of Massachusetts and Vanderbilt University, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard and Yale. She is currently the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School, as well as an Associate Scholar with the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs. Elshtain, who is a Protestant, has published more than 20 scholarly books on political ethics. She has focused on issues regarding gender roles in politics, just war theory, and relations between religion and state. Since 2001, she has been an outspoken supporter of the U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2006, she delivered the Gifford Lectures, which were subsequently published as Sovereignty: God, State, and Self. Since 2008, she has been a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. Elshtain is also a contributing editor for The New Republic.
Books: Public Man, Private Woman (Princeton UP, 1981); Democracy on Trial (Basic Books, 1984); Augustine and the Limits of Politics (University of Notre Dame Press, 1996); Just War Against Terror (Basic Books, 2003); Sovereignty: God, State, and Self (Basic Books, 2008)
David Gelernter (b. 1955)
Gelernter received his bachelor’s degree from Yale in 1976, and his PhD from SUNY Stony Brook in 1982. That same year, he joined the faculty of Yale University, where he is a Professor of Computer Science. In 1983, his Linda program introduced the concept of “tuple spaces,” which were a seminal contribution to the development of parallel distributed processing architectures, and are the basis of many computer-communication and distributed-programming systems worldwide. Gelernter, who is Jewish, described this breakthrough in his book, Mirror Worlds (Oxford UP, 1991), which also predicted many features of the World Wide Web. Altogether, he has published some dozen technical and non-technical books, the latter on subjects ranging from technology, to cultural and political criticism, to art criticism and aesthetics, to Judaism. He has also published a memoir — Drawing Life (Simon & Schuster, 1997) — and a well-received novel — 1939: The Lost World of the Fair (HarperCollins, 1997). In 1993, he was critically injured by a mail bomb sent to him by Ted Kaczynski, the “Unabomber.” Gelernter is a contributing editor for The Weekly Standard, as well as an accomplished painter.
Books: Mirror Worlds (Oxford UP, 1991); The Muse in the Machine (Free Press, 2002); Judaism: A Way of Being (Yale UP, 2009); Ameri-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (Encounter Books, 2012)
Robert P. George (b. 1955)
George grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia, the grandson of immigrant coal miners. He received his bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and his JD from Harvard Law School. He then acquired a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate from Oxford University, where he studied with John Finnis and Joseph Raz. Since 1985, he has taught at Princeton University, where he is currently McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence. George, who is Roman Catholic, is also the founder and director of Princeton’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, as well as a Senior Fellow with both the Hoover Institution and the Witherspoon Institute. Academically, he has been instrumental — along with his mentors Finnis and Raz — in the revival of natural law theory in ethics and jurisprudence. He has also made an important contribution to the public debate on such controversial issues as abortion and gay marriage. From 2002 until 2009, he served on the President’s Council on Bioethics, and he is a frequent contributor to the journal First Things. George has been called America’s “most influential conservative Christian thinker.”
Books: Natural Law and Public Reason, editor (Georgetown UP, 2000); In Defense of Natural Law (Oxford UP, 2001); Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics, co-author (Cambridge UP, 2007); Embryo: A Defense of Human Life, co-author (Doubleday, 2008); What Is Marriage?, co-author (Encounter Books, 2012)
Mary Ann Glendon (b. 1938)
Glendon was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She received her JD from the University of Chicago Law School. She studied at the Free University of Brussels on a postgraduate fellowship, and was a legal intern for two years with the EEC. Afterwards, she practiced law for five years in Chicago, then taught at Boston College Law School from 1968 until 1986. Glendon, who is Catholic, has also been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School and the Gregorian University, in Rome. She is currently the Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University. She has served on the President’s Council on Bioethics, was briefly the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, and serves on the advisory council of the journal First Things. The National Law Journal has named her one of the “Fifty Most Influential Women Lawyers in America.” In 2009, Glendon was awarded the University of Notre Dame’s prestigious Laetare Medal, which she declined due to the university’s controversial decision to invite President Barack Obama, an abortion supporter, as its commencement speaker.
Books: Rights Talk (Free Press, 1991); A Nation Under Lawyers (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1994); A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Random House, 2001); The Forum and the Tower (Oxford UP, 2011)
David Bentley Hart (b. 1965)
Hart earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, his master’s from the University of Cambridge, and his PhD from the University of Virginia. He has taught at numerous colleges and universities, including the University of Virginia, the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota), Duke Divinity School, Loyola College (Maryland), and, most recently, Providence College. Hart, who is an Orthodox Christian, has written widely on subjects as varied as the Greek Church Fathers, the New Atheism, and the connection between aesthetics and religion. He is a contributing editor for First Things, and has also published fiction.
Books: The Beauty of the Infinite (Eerdmans, 2003); In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments (Eerdmans, 2008); Atheist Delusions (Yale UP, 2010); The Story of Christianity (Quercus, 2011)
Michał K. Heller (b. 1936)
Heller was born in Tarnów, in southern Poland. He was trained at the Catholic University of Lublin, where he took a master’s degree in theology in 1959. That same year, he was ordained and briefly served as a parish priest. He then returned to the Catholic University, where he received a second master’s degree in 1965, this time in philosophy. The following year, he received his doctorate in physics, specializing in cosmology. After a teaching stint in his home town, he taught as a visiting professor at a number of universities abroad, including the Catholic University of Louvain, in Belgium, Oxford University, the Catholic University of America, and the University of Arizona. In 1985, Heller joined the faculty of the Pontifical Academy of Theology (now Pontifical University John Paul II), in Cracow. He has published more than 400 scientific papers, and written or edited some 30 books, on topics ranging from the unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics, to the strengths and weaknesses of multiverse theories, to the theological implications of modern cosmology. His current work focuses on the use of noncommutative geometry as a means of removing the singularity from Big Bang cosmology. In 2008, Heller won the prestigious Templeton Prize.
Books: Theoretical Foundations of Cosmology (World Scientific, 1992); Creative Tension: Essays on Science and Religion (Templeton Press, 2003); Ultimate Explanations of the Universe (Springer, 2009); Infinity: New Research Frontiers, co-editor (Cambridge UP, 2011)
William B. Hurlbut
Hurlbut was born in California and raised in Bronxville, north of New York City. He received his undergraduate and medical training at Stanford University, and did postdoctoral work in theology and medical ethics at Stanford and the Université Catholique de Paris. Hurlbut, who is Catholic, is currently a Consulting Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford Medical Center. He has worked as a consultant for NASA, and since 1998 has been a member of the Chemical and Biological Warfare working group at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation. He is also a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. Hurlbut is perhaps best known for conceiving of “altered nuclear transfer,” a technological proposal capable of creating pluripotent stem cells without creating embryos, which is a possible way of obviating moral objections to stem cell research.
Book: Altruism and Altrustic Love: Science, Philosophy, and Religion in Dialogue, co-editor (Oxford UP, 2002)
Christopher J. Isham (b. 1944)
Isham is a physicist on the faculty of Imperial College London. His research has focused on quantum gravity and foundational issues in quantum theory. He invented an approach to temporal quantum logic called the “HPO formalism.” He has also contributed to advances in loop quantum gravity, quantum geometrodynamics, and the decoherent histories interpretation of quantum theory. Noted physicist and popular science writer Paul Davies has called Isham “England’s greatest quantum gravity expert.” He himself says that his most important contribution to science has probably been the introduction of topos theory, an aspect of category theory, into quantum theory. He has expressed the view that the Big Bang supports theism. Isham is the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Dirac Medal awarded by the Institute of Physics.
Books: Quantum Concepts in Space and Time, co-editor (Oxford UP, 1986); Quantum Cosmology and the Laws of Nature: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action, co-editor (Vatican Observatory, 1993); Lectures on Quantum Theory (World Scientific, 1995); Modern Differential Geometry for Physicists, 2nd ed. (World Scientific, 1999)
Phillip E. Johnson (b. 1940)
Johnson was born in Aurora, Illinois. He received his bachelor’s degree in English literature from Harvard University in 1961, and his JD from the University of Chicago, where he graduated at the top of his class. He clerked for Chief Justice Earl Warren at the Supreme Court, before being admitted to the California Bar in 1966. Johnson served as a deputy district attorney before joining, in 1967, the law faculty of the University of California, Berkeley. Johnson, who is Presbyterian, is currently the Jefferson E. Peyser Professor of Law (Emeritus) at the Boalt School of Law at Berkeley. A well-recognized legal scholar in the field of criminal law, Johnson is best known for his critique of Darwinian naturalism. Johnson’s book Darwin on Trial sparked what has come to be known as the Intelligent Design movement. His debates with prominent atheists who appeal to evolutionary theory to undermine religious faith (e.g., Stephen Jay Gould, Steven Weinberg, and Will Provine) are legendary. A figure of controversy, Johnson deserves much of the credit for the informed critique of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory that is rapidly growing among American intellectuals (even if many of the contemporary critics of Darwinism, such as Thomas Nagel, reject Johnson’s views on intelligent design).
Books: Darwin on Trial (InterVarsity Press, 1991); Reason in the Balance (InterVarsity Press, 1995); Objections Sustained (InterVarsity Press, 1998); Cases and Materials on Criminal Procedure, 3rd ed. (West Group, 2000); The Wedge of Truth (InterVarsity Press, 2000); Against All Gods, co-author (IVP Books, 2010)
Leon R. Kass (b. 1939)
Kass was born in Chicago into an Eastern European, Jewish immigrant family, which he has described as Yiddish-speaking, secular, and socialist. Kass took a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Chicago in 1958. He took his MD degree, also from Chicago, in 1962, followed up by an internship at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He also completed a PhD in biochemistry at Harvard in 1967, where he worked in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Konrad E. Bloch. In 1965, Kass traveled to Holmes County, Mississippi, with his wife Amy to do civil rights work. He has taught at St. John’s College, Annapolis, and at Georgetown University, as well as the University of Chicago, beginning in 1976. He is currently the Addie Clark Harding Professor at University of Chicago College and the Committee on Social Thought. Kass, who also holds the Madden-Jewett chair at the American Enterprise Institute and is a frequent contributor to First Things magazine, is a champion of the great books approach to higher education. From 2002 until 2005, he chaired the President’s Council on Bioethics.
Books: Toward a More Natural Science: Biology and Human Affairs (Free Press, 1985); The Hungry Soul: Eating and Perfecting Our Nature (Free Press, 1994); Life, Liberty, and the Defense of Dignity: The Challenge of Bioethics (Encounter, 2002); Human Cloning and Human Dignity: The Report of the President’s Council on Bioethics (PublicAffairs, 2002); The Beginning of Wisdom: Reading Genesis (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2003); What So Proudly We Hail, co-editor (ISI, 2011)
Donald E. Knuth (b. 1938)
Knuth was born in Milwaukee. He attended Case Institute of Technology (now part of Case-Western University), in Cleveland, where he wavered between majoring in music and in physics. While still an undergraduate, he rewrote the assembly and compiler code for Case’s IBM 650 mainframe computer, and co-founded a school magazine, Engineering and Science Review. He took simultaneous bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Case in 1960. He earned his Ph.D. in math from Cal-Tech in 1963, and worked briefly for the National Security Administration (NSA). He then joined the faculty of Stanford University, where he now holds the title of Professor Emeritus of the Art of Computer Programming. Knuth, who is Lutheran, is best known for having pioneered the field of algorithm analysis in his multivolume treatise, The Art of Computer Programming, the first volume of which was published in 1968 and which is still continuing. He is also the creator of the TeX computer typesetting system, as well as several other computing languages. Knuth has received numerous awards and honorary degrees in recognition of his pathbreaking achievements in computer programming.
Books: 3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated (A-R Editions, 1991); Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About (Center for the Study of Language and Information, 2003); Selected Papers on Fun and Games (Center for the Study of Language and Information, 2011); The Art of Computer Programming, Vols. 1–4A, Boxed Set (Addison-Wesley, 2011)
John C. Lennox (b. 1943)
Lennox was born in Northern Ireland, where he attended the Royal School, Armagh. He has master’s degrees from the University of Surrey and the University of Cambridge, a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) from Oxford University, and a Doctor of Science (DSc) in mathematics from the University of Cardiff, in Wales, where he also taught for many years. Lennox, who is Protestant, is currently Professor of Mathematics at Oxford and Adjunct Professor at that university’s Centre for Christian Apologetics. He is also Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College. He has lectured widely all over the world, notably in Germany and in Eastern Europe, and has translated mathematical texts from Russian. Lennox has also participated in public debates with a number of celebrated atheists, such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Michael Shermer.
Books: God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (Lion UK, 2007); God and Stephen Hawking (Lion UK, 2011); Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists Are Missing the Target (Lion UK, 2011); Seven Days That Divide the World: The Beginning according to Genesis and Science (Zondervan, 2011)
Alasdair C. MacIntyre (b. 1929)
MacIntyre was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He was educated at Queen Mary College, London, and received master’s degrees from the University of Manchester and the University of Oxford. He began his teaching career at the latter institution, and later taught at the universities of Leeds and Essex in the UK, before emigrating to the US. In this country, he has taught at a number of universities, including Brandeis, Boston University, Wellesley, Vanderbilt, Duke, and Notre Dame. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame, and Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Aristotelian Studies in Ethics and Politics (CASEP) at London Metropolitan University. MacIntyre, who is Catholic, is one of the most highly esteemed and widely discussed of living English-speaking philosophers. In particular, his book After Virtue has had a very broad impact on contemporary discussions in ethical and political theory. In 1988, he delivered the prestigious Gifford Lectures, afterwards published as Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry.
Books: Against the Self-Images of the Age (Duckworth, 1971); After Virtue (University of Notre Dame Press, 1981; 3rd ed., 2007); Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (University of Notre Dame Press, 1989); Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry (Duckworth, 1990; reprinted, University of Notre Dame Press, 1997); A Short History of Ethics (University of Notre Dame Press, 1998); The MacIntyre Reader (Polity Press, 1998); Dependent Rational Animals (Open Court, 1999); The Tasks of Philosophy: Selected Essays, Vol. 1 (Cambridge UP, 2006); Ethics and Politics: Selected Essays, Vol. 2 (Cambridge UP, 2006); God, Philosophy, Universities (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009)
Robert J. Marks II (b. 1950)
Marks was born in West Virginia. He was educated at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (BS, Engineering, 1972; MS, Electrical Engineering, 1973) and Texas Tech (PhD, Electrical Engineering, 1977). He taught for many years at the University of Washington, in Seattle. He is currently Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University, in Waco, Texas. Marks, who is Protestant, has made a number of contributions to cutting-edge technology at the interface between electrical engineering and computer science. For example, in 1991 he was the first to apply artificial neural networks to the problem of forecasting power demands by electrical utility companies — a practice that is widespread today. More recently, Marks and colleagues developed an algorithm for the real-time tracking of the placement of radioactive seeds in prostate cancer therapy. In addition, his team developed the first closed-form solution for the Neyman–Pearson optimal detection of signals in non-Gaussian noise. In 2007, Marks inaugurated his Evolutionary Informatics Lab, a web site dedicated to simulating evolutionary processes. The Lab — which has demonstrated severe constraints on the creative potential of Darwinian-style algorithms — was afterwards shut down by the Baylor University administration, and Marks has since moved it to a private server.
Books: Fuzzy Logic Technology and Applications, editor (IEEE, 1994); Neural Smithing: Supervised Learning in Feedforward Artificial Neural Networks, co-author (MIT Press/Bradford Books, 1999); Handbook of Fourier Analysis and Its Applications (Oxford UP, 2009)
Michael W. McConnell (b. 1955)
McConnell was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He took his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University’s James Madison College in 1976, and his JD in 1979 from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a member of the University of Chicago Law Review. He clerked during the 1980–81 term at the US Supreme Court for Associate Justice William Brennan. He served in the Reagan administration as assistant general counsel of the Office of Management and Budget (1981–83), and as Solicitor General (1983–85). Afterwards, he was the William B. Graham Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School for a number of years. McConnell, who is Presbyterian, has also been a member of the faculty of the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, and a visiting professor at Harvard and Stanford law schools. From 2002 until 2009, he served as a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. He is currently the Richard and Frances Mallery Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, as well as director of the university’s Constitutional Law Center, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a contributing editor to First Things, and of counsel to the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis. McConnell, who has argued 13 cases before the US Supreme Court and is widely regarded as one of the most distinguished constitutional scholars in the country, has been frequently mentioned as a candidate for a seat on the US Supreme Court.
Books: Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought (Yale UP, 2001); Religion and the Constitution, 2nd ed., co-author (Aspen Publishers, 2006); The Constitution of the United States, co-author (Foundation Press, 2010)
Alister E. McGrath (b. 1953)
McGrath was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and grew up in Downpatrick, County Down. His undergraduate education — in mathematics, physics, and chemistry — was at Methodist College Belfast and Wadham College, Oxford University. He received a doctorate from Oxford in molecular biophysics in 1977, and an honours degree in theology, also from Oxford, the following year. McGrath was ordained a priest of the Church of England in 1981. He has worked as a curate in Nottingham, in the English Midlands, and taught at the University of Cambridge, Drew University in New Jersey, and Oxford University. He is currently Chair of Theology, Ministry, and Education in the Department of Education and Professional Studies at King’s College London, as well as the head of the Centre for Theology, Religion, and Culture there. McGrath, who received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Oxford in 2001, is a prolific author and public speaker. He is well known for his written polemics and public debates with such celebrated New Atheist authors as Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. In 2009, he delivered the Gifford Lectures, published as A Fine-Tuned Universe.
Books: Dawkins’ God (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004);The Twilight of Atheism (WaterBrook Press, 2006);Christianity’s Dangerous Idea (HarperOne, 2007); A Fine-Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology (Westminster John Knox Press, 2009); Christian Theology: An Introduction, 5th ed. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010); The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind (IVP Books, 2010);Surprised by Meaning: Science, Faith, and How We Make Sense of Things (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011); Why God Won’t Go Away (Thomas Nelson, 2011); Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought, 2nd ed. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012); Mere Apologetics (Baker Books, 2012)
Alan L. Mittleman (b. 1953)
Mittleman holds a BA from Brandeis University, and an MA and PhD from Temple University. He taught religion for many years at Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, Pennsylvania. From 2000 to 2004, he directed the “Jews and the American Public Square” research project, which produced two national surveys of Jewish opinion, four volumes of scholarly essays, and 15 conferences around the United States. While serving on the staff of the American Jewish Committee, Mittleman helped to draft a resolution by the United Church of Christ, making it the first Protestant denomination in the US to declare that Christianity did not supersede Judaism. He is currently Professor of Jewish Philosophy at the Jewish Theological Seminary, as well as director of the Seminary’s Tikvah Institute for Jewish Thought, in New York City. Mittleman is currently working on a book about Jewish views of human nature, to be published in the “Library of Jewish Ideas” series, which is sponsored by the Tikvah Fund in partnership with Princeton University Press.
Books: Between Kant and Kabbalah (SUNY Press, 1990); The Scepter Shall Not Depart from Judah (Lexington Books, 2000); Jews and the American Public Square, co-editor (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002); Jewish Polity and American Civil Society, co-editor (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002); Religion as a Public Good, editor (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003); Hope in a Democratic Age (Oxford UP, 2009); A Short History of Jewish Ethics (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012)
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (b. 1959)
Mohler was born in Lakeland, in central Florida. He received his BA from Samford University, in Birmingham, Alabama, and his master’s degree in divinity and his PhD in systematic and historical theology from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1983, he joined the staff of SBTS, and since 1993 has been President of the Seminary. Mohler, who is Calvinist, formerly hosted the The Albert Mohler Program, a nationwide radio show devoted to engaging contemporary culture with Christian beliefs. He also served on the Advisory Council for the 2001 English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible. In addition, he is a prolific author, is on the board of directors of “Focus on the Family” (an organization devoted to helping families thrive), and maintains an active schedule of public speaking and media appearances. Time magazine has called Mohler the “reigning intellectual of the evangelical movement in the US.”
Books: Preaching the Cross, co-author (Crossway, 2007); Atheism Remix: A Christian Confronts the New Atheists (Crossway, 2008); He Is Not Silent, co-author (Moody Publishers, 2008); Desire and Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance (Multnomah Books, 2008); Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth (Multnomah Books, 2008); Words from the Fire: Hearing the Voice of God in the 10 Commandments (Moody Publishers, 2009); The Disappearance of God (Multnomah Books, 2009); The Conviction to Lead (Bethany House, 2012)
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (b. 1933)
Nasr was born in Tehran, the son of a physician to the royal family and one of the founders of modern education in Iran. After attending elementary school in his native country, the boy was sent to the US to complete his education, where he graduated valedictorian from the Peddie School, in Hightstown, New Jersey, in 1950. He entered MIT on a scholarship to study physics, but ended up studying philosophy with Giorgio de Santillana. After obtaining his BA from MIT, as well as a master’s degree in geophysics from that university, he switched to Harvard to work on a PhD in the history of science with the distinguished Belgian scholar, George Sarton, the founder of that academic discipline. After Sarton’s death, Nasr completed his dissertation — published in 1964 as An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines — under the direction of noted scholars I.B. Cohen and Harry Wolfson. Four years later, Nasr published Science and Civilization in Islam, a landmark study of the development of scientific thought in the Muslim world in the Middle Ages. After teaching for several years at Harvard, he returned to Iran, where he taught at Tehran University, and served as President of Aryamehr University (now Sharif University of Technology). After the Iranian Revolution, he returned to the West, where he taught at the University of Edinburgh, in the UK, and Temple University, in Philadelphia. Since 1984, he has been Professor of Islamic Studies at The George Washington University. Nasr, a highly prolific author with over 50 scholarly and popular volumes to his credit, and who speaks six languages fluently, delivered the 1981 Gifford Lectures, which were subsequently published as Knowledge and the Sacred. He was the 1999 recipient of the Templeton Prize, and the following year he received the rare distinction of having a volume in the prestigious “Library of Living Philosophers” series dedicated to his thought.
Books: An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines (Harvard UP, 1964; revised ed., SUNY Press, 1993); Science and Civilization in Islam (Harvard UP, 1968; reprint ed., Kazi Publications, 2007); Knowledge and the Sacred (SUNY Press, 1989); Islam: Religion, History, and Civilization (HarperOne, 2002); The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity (HarperOne, 2002); The Garden of Truth: The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam’s Mystical Tradition (HarperOne, 2007); Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis in Modern Man (Kazi Publications, 2007); Islam in the Modern World (HarperOne, 2011)
Martin A. Nowak (b. 1965)
Nowak was born in Vienna, and educated there. He studied biochemistry and mathematics at the University of Vienna, where he earned his PhD in 1989. During his doctoral training, he worked with Peter Schuster on the theory of “quasi-species” and with Karl Sigmund on the evolution of cooperation. He 1989, he went to Oxford University, where he worked with Robert May, one of the most distinguished founders of the discipline of nonlinear dynamics. In 1995, Nowak, who is Catholic, became head of the Mathematical Biology group at Oxford. In 1998, he went to the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, where he founded the first program in theoretical biology there. In 2003, he moved to Harvard, where he is currently Professor of Mathematics and Biology in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and Director of the university’s Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. His work ranges widely, from the dynamics of infectious diseases, to cancer genetics, to the evolution of cooperation, to the origin of life. In 2010, a controversial paper co-authored by Nowak (along with E.O. Wilson and Corina Tarnita) was featured on the front cover of Nature. The paper argued that group selection is superior to mainstream kin selection as an explanation for eusociality. Nowak has said that “[s]cience and religion are two essential components in the search for truth. Denying either is a barren approach.”
Books: Virus Dynamics, co-author (Harvard UP, 2001); Evolutionary Dynamics (Harvard UP, 2006); SuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed, co-author (Free Press, 2011)
Don N. Page
Page grew up in Alaska and completed his high school education by correspondence through the University of Nebraska Extension Division. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from William Jewell College, and his master’s degree and PhD in physics from Cal-Tech. His dissertation, on black holes, was supervised by Kip Thorne and Stephen Hawking. After graduation, he went to Cambridge University on a postdoc to work with Hawking, with whom he also co-authored a technical paper. Page, who is an Evangelical Protestant, has taught at Penn State, the University of Texas at Austin, Cal-Tech, and the University of California at Santa Barbara. In 1990, he moved to the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he is currently Professor of Physics. From 1991 until 2002, he was a fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIAR). He is now an affiliate member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. Page’s research interests include black hole thermodynamics, quantum gravity, and cosmology.
Arvo Pärt (b. 1935)
Pärt was born in Paide, a small town near Tallinn, the capital of Estonia (Estonia lost its independence during World War II, and remained a part of the USSR until 1991). He was educated at the Tallinn Music Secondary School and the Tallinn Conservatory. While still a student, Pärt began to work as a recording engineer with Estonian Radio, to write music for the stage, and to receive numerous commissions for film scores, so that by the time he graduated in 1963, he was already a professional composer. Through the 1960s, he composed mainly in the style of serialism. In 1968, one of Pärt’s compositions was banned, and he entered the first of several periods of contemplative silence. During this time, he intensively studied the polyphonic choral music of the French and Franco-Flemish Renaissance composers Machaut, Josquin, Obrecht, and Ockeghem. In 1971, he began to compose in the spirit of their style (Symphony No. 3). After another period of silence, he found his mature voice with such works as Fratres, Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, and Tabula Rasa (all composed in 1977). His work then began to win recognition abroad, which made his life in the Soviet Union more difficult. In 1980, he and his family emigrated to the West, settling first in Vienna, and afterwards in West Berlin. Today, Pärt, who is an Orthodox Christian, divides his time between Berlin and Tallinn. He is best known for his choral compositions in a highly individual, minimalist style, inspired by Gregorian chant and deeply imbued with religious feeling, sometimes known as “holy minimalism.”
Compositions: Stabat Mater (1985); The Beatitudes (1990); Berliner Messe (1992); I Am the True Vine (1996); Kanon Pokajanen (1997); Nunc Dimittis (2001); Da Pacem, Domine (2004)
Alvin C. Plantinga (b. 1932)
Plantinga was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to first-generation immigrants from Friesland, in the Netherlands. After briefly attending Harvard, he took his bachelor’s degree from Calvin College (where his father was on the faculty) in 1954, his master’s from the University of Michigan in 1955, and his PhD from Yale in 1958. Plantinga has taught at Yale, Wayne State University, Calvin College, and, as a visiting professor, at numerous other universities. From 1982 until 2010, he was based at the University of Notre Dame, where he was John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy. In 2006, Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion renamed its Distinguished Scholar Fellowship as the Alvin Plantinga Fellowship. Plantinga, who is a member of the Christian Reformed Church, currently holds the Jellema Chair in Philosophy at Calvin College. In 1978, with Nicholas Wolterstorff and others, he co-founded the Society of Christian Philosophers, as well as its journal, Faith and Philosophy. Moreover, he has played a pivotal role in the renaissance of Christian philosophy in recent decades, by demonstrating the possibility of defending the Christian faith on the basis of the highest standards of conceptual analysis and logical rigor. He is perhaps best known for his version of “reformed epistemology,” which argues that belief in God is fully warranted even without a posteriori evidence because it is “properly basic.” In recent years, his has been an eloquent voice defending the rationality of theistic belief against attacks from the so-called “New Atheists.” In 2005, Plantinga delivered the Gifford Lectures — later published as Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism — on this topic.
Books: God and Other Minds: A Study of the Rational Justification of the Belief in God (Cornell UP, 1968; reprint ed., 1990); The Nature of Necessity (Oxford UP, 1974); God, Freedom, and Evil (Harper & Row, 1974; reprinted, Eerdmans, 1978); Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God, co-editor (University of Notre Dame Press, 1983); Warrant: The Current Debate (Oxford UP, 1993); Warrant and Proper Function (Oxford UP, 1993); The Analytic Theist: An Alvin Plantinga Reader (Eerdmans, 1998); Warranted Christian Belief (Oxford UP, 2000); Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?, co-author (Oxford UP, 2012); Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism (Oxford UP, 2011)
John C. Polkinghorne (b. 1930)
Polkinghorne was born in Weston-super-mare, UK, on the Bristol Channel opposite Cardiff. He read Mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge, taking his bachelor’s degree in 1952. He then switched to physics, working under the supervision of Abdus Salam in Paul Dirac’s group, and taking his PhD in 1955. After graduation, he worked with Murray Gell-Mann at Cal-Tech on a postdoc. After a two-year teaching stint at the University of Edinburgh, in 1958 he returned to Cambridge, where he held a professorship in mathematical physics for two decades and numbered Brian Josephson and Martin Rees among his students. In 1979, he resigned his chair in order to study for the priesthood. Polkinghorne was ordained in the Church of England in 1982. He worked as a curate for several years, before returning to Cambridge in 1986 as dean of Trinity Hall chapel. He also served as president of Queens College until his retirement in 1996, and as canon theologian of Liverpool Cathedral from 1994 to 2005. He has written 34 technical and popular books, which have been translated into 18 languages. Many of them concern the relationship between science and religion, which he sees as one of complementarity. In 1993–1994, Polkinghorne delivered the Gifford Lectures, afterwards published as The Faith of a Physicist.
Books: The Faith of a Physicist (Princeton UP, 1994); Belief in God in an Age of Science (Yale UP, 1997); Quantum Physics and Theology (Yale UP, 2007); Questions of Truth: Fifty-One Responses to Questions about God, Science, and Belief, co-author (Westminster John Knox Press, 2009); Theology in the Context of Science (Yale UP, 2009); Testing Scripture: A Scientist Explores the Bible (Brazos Press, 2011); Science and Religion in Quest of Truth (Yale UP, 2011)
Joseph A. Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) (b. 1927)
Ratzinger was born in the town of Marktl am Inn, in southeastern Bavaria, near the Austrian border. In 1941, one of his cousins, who had Down’s Syndrome, was murdered by the Nazis. Young Ratzinger was himself drafted into the German army in 1943, while attending seminary in Freising. After Germany surrendered, he spent some time in an allied POW camp, but was able to resume his studies in the seminary in the fall of 1945. He later studied at the Ludwig-Maximilien University in Munich, and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1951. After writing his dissertation on St. Augustine and his Habilitationsschrift on St. Bonaventure, he embarked on a teaching career at a Catholic secondary school in Freising in 1958. The following year, he moved to the University of Bonn, and in 1963, to the University of Münster. In 1966, Ratzinger, who was a supporter of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), obtained a chair in theology at Tübingen, where he became a close colleague of liberal theologian Hans Küng. However, the Marxist-inspired, university student riots of the late sixties seem to have influenced him in a more conservative direction. In 1969, he returned to his native Bavaria to take up a professorship at the University of Regensburg, where in 1972 he co-founded the journal Communio, along with Hans Urs von Balthasar, Walter Kasper, Henri de Lubac, and others. Communio has gone on to become one of the most influential international journals of Catholic theology. In 1977, Ratzinger became Archbishop of Munich; in 1981, he was appointed Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and in 1993, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals. In 2005, he succeeded John Paul II (Karol Wojtyła) as Pope, assuming the name of Benedict XVI. Ratzinger, who is an accomplished classical pianist, has written more than 60 books. He has a particular interest in the problem of moral relativism, having engaged in dialogue on this subject with the distinguished philosopher, Jürgen Habermas (The Dialectics of Secularization). As Pope, he has issued three encyclicals: Deus Caritas Est (2005), Spe Salvi (2007), and Caritas in Veritate (2009).
Books: Introduction to Christianity (Search Press, 1969; revised ed., Ignatius Press, 2004); Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life (Catholic University of America Press, 1988; 2nd ed., 2007); The Nature and Mission of Theology (Ignatius Press, 1995); Many Religions, One Covenant: Israel, the Church, and the World (Ignatius Press, 1999); The Spirit of the Liturgy (Ignatius Press, 2000); Truth and Tolerance: Christianity and World Religions (Ignatius Press, 2004); Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, co-author (Basic Books, 2006); Values in a Time of Upheaval (Crossroad Publishing, 2006); Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures (Ignatius Press, 2006); The Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion, co-author (Ignatius Press, 2007)
Condolleezza Rice (b. 1954)
Rice was born in Birmingham, Alabama, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister and a high school music teacher. Her given name derives from the musical expression “con dolcezza.” She began learning French, music, ballet, and figure skating at the age of three. She is a gifted classical pianist, who once accompanied celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma at a National Medal of Arts awards ceremony in Washington, DC. In 1967, her family moved to Denver, Colorado, where Rice studied music for a time at the Aspen Music Festival and School, before moving to the University of Denver, where her father was then an assistant dean. After taking a course on international relations with the distinguished political scientist and former Czech diplomat, Josef Korbel, she switched her major from music to political science. Upon taking her bachelor’s degree in that subject in 1974, she earned a master’s, also in political science, from the University of Notre Dame the following year. After interning in the State Department under the Carter administration and with the RAND Corporation, she studied Russian at Moscow State University (she speaks Russian, as well as French, fluently). In 1981, she received her PhD in political science from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, writing her dissertation on the military policy and politics of Czechoslovakia. Rice, who is an Evangelical Protestant, taught political science at Stanford University, specializing in the Soviet Union, from 1981 until 1989 and from 1991 until 1993. In 1989, during the administration of George H.W. Bush, Rice was asked by National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft to serve on the National Security Council. In this position, she exercised an important influence on the President in his dealings with Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltstin during the dissolution of the USSR. In 1991, she returned to Stanford, where she was appointed Provost in 1993. She was also named a Senior Fellow of both the Institute for International Studies and the Hoover Institution. In late 2000, Rice stepped down from her post at Stanford, having been named National Security Adviser (2001–2005) of the incoming George W. Bush administration. She went on to serve as Secretary of State (2005–2009) during the second George W. Bush administration. In 2009, she returned to Stanford, where she is currently Professor of Political Science, as well as the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, and Director of the Global Center for Business and Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Books: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army, 1948–1983 (Princeton UP, 1984); The Gorbachev Era, co-editor (Stanford UP, 1986); Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft, co-author (Harvard UP, 1997); Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (Crown, 2010); No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington (Crown, 2011)
Marilynne Robinson (b. 1943)
Robinson was born Marilynne Summers in Sandpoint, a remote village in the Idaho panhandle, not far from the Canadian border. Growing up in relative isolation, surrounded by wilderness, left a deep mark upon her that is reflected above all in her magnum opus, the 1980 novel Housekeeping. It also fostered her love of reading from an early age, as recounted in her 2012 essay collection, When I Was a Child I Read Books. Her formal education took place at Pembroke College, the former women’s college associated with Brown University (BA, 1966), and at the University of Washington, where she received her PhD in English literature in 1977. She has been a writer-in-residence or visiting professor at numerous universities, including the University of Kent, in the UK, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Robinson, who is Congregationalist, has taught at the celebrated University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop for many years. She has published only three novels, and four volumes of essays. However, her first novel, Housekeeping, is a landmark in American literature — a virtuoso blending of natural description and introspection, a clear-eyed existential meditation on family, and a deeply moving account of a young woman’s coming-to-consciousness. Her second novel, Gilead, about a retired minister’s life-reckoning, won the Pultizer Prize for fiction in 2005. Her 1998 essay collection, The Death of Adam, contains a groundbreaking critique of the explanatory pretensions of neo-Darwinism, as well as an important effort to reinterpret the Calvinist intellectual tradition. In 2010, she delivered the prestigious Terry Lectures at Yale, published as Absence of Mind. In this book, Robinson probes the ways in which the neglect of our own interiority has falsified our self-understanding.
Books: Housekeeping (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1980; reprint ed., 2005); The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought (Houghton Mifflin, 1998); Gilead (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004); Home (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2008); Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self (Yale UP, 2010); When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2012)
Abdelaziz A. Sachedina (b. 1942)
Sachedina was born in Tanzania, into a family of Indian Muslim immigrants. He holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in Islamic Studies from Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh state, India, and the other in Persian language and literature from Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, in Iran. While living in Mashhad, he also studied Islamic jurisprudence at the Ayatollah Milani Madrasa there. He received his PhD in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Toronto. Although he was born Shi’a, Sachedina has served as an imam for Sunni congregations. His recent scholarly work has focused on the effort to reconcile Western and Islamic ideals of human rights and democracy. As a result, a fatwa was issued against him in 1998 by Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, which forbade him to lecture or teach on the subject of Islam. In spite of this threat, he has continued to lecture and publish widely, and has worked as a consultant for the Department of Defense, in which capacity he was involved in drafting the 2005 Iraqi constitution. Sachedina, who is the author of numerous scholarly works and speaks 10 languages, has taught since 1975 at the University of Virginia, where he is currently the Frances Myers Ball Professor of Religious Studies.
Books: Islamic Messianism (SUNY Press, 1981); Human Rights and the Conflict of Cultures, co-author (University of South Carolina Press, 1988); The Just Ruler in Shi’ite Islam (Oxford UP, 1988); The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism (Oxford UP, 2001); The Islamic World: Past and Present, 3 vols., co-editor (Oxford UP, 2004); The Role of Islam in the Public Square (Amsterdam University Press, 2006); Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights (Oxford UP, 2009); Islamic Biomedical Ethics (Oxford UP, 2009)
Jonathan Sacks (Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks) (b. 1948)
Sacks was born in South Africa. He was educated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he took first-class honors in philosophy. He obtained his PhD from King’s College London in 1981, and his rabbinic ordination from Jews’ College and Yeshiva Etz Chaim. He has been a visiting professor at several universities in the UK, the US, and Israel, and has also served as Principal of Jews’ College and as rabbi of the Golders Green and Marble Arch synagogues. He is currently Visiting Professor of Theology at King’s College London. Sacks has been Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth since 1991, and was made a peer of the realm in 2009; therefore, his present title is Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks. He is a frequent contributor to radio, television, and the national press in the UK. He regularly delivers BBC Radio 4’s “Thought for the Day,” writes a monthly “Credo” column for The Times, and broadcasts an annual Rosh Hashanah message on the BBC. He has written 24 books, and has engaged in public debate with “New Atheist” author Richard Dawkins and others. Sacks delivered the 2008 Gifford Lectures, entitled “Why Does Faith Survive?”
Books: The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations (Continuum, 2002); To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility (Schocken, 2005); Covenant and Conversation: A Weekly Reading of the Jewish Bible (Genesis) (Koren Publishers, 2009); The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning (Schocken, 2012)
Henry F. Schaefer, III (b. 1944)
Schaefer was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was partly raised in Syracuse, New York, and Menlo Park, California, as well. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical physics from MIT in 1966, and his PhD in the same subject from Stanford University in 1969. He has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Texas at Austin, and, since 1987, the University of Georgia. As a visiting professor, he has taught at the University of Paris, the ETH Zurich, and the Australian National University. He served for many years as chair of the World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists. He is currently Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry, and Director of the Center for Computational Chemistry there, as well as Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at UC, Berkeley. Schaefer, who is Protestant, has authored more than 1150 technical papers, and was for many years the sixth most-highly cited research chemist in the world. His work has centered on applying computational methods to problems in molecular quantum mechanics (quantum chemistry), a field he pioneered. The wide and varied body of work undertaken by his research group has employed highly accurate ab initio quantum-chemical computational techniques to throw light on the geometries, properties, and reactions of diverse chemical systems. Many of the group’s papers have accurately predicted experimental results, and not a few have forced reinterpretations of the findings of other well-known investigators, such as, for example, the geometry of triplet methylene. In 2004, his work was the focus of a six-day international conference, which was convened in South Korea and attended by some 300 scientists from 35 countries. Schaefer is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Books: Applied Quantum Chemistry, co-editor (Springer, 1986); Quantum Chemistry: The Development of Ab Initio Methods in Molecular Electronic Structure Theory (Dover, 2004); Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence?, revised ed. (Apollos Trust, 2010)
Christoph Schönborn (b. 1945)
Schönborn was born Christoph Maria Michael Hugo Damian Peter Adalbert Graf von Schönborn, in Skalken Castle, near Leitmeritz (Litoměřice), in what is now the Czech Republic. His ancestors served the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire for many centuries. At the end of World War II, some nine months after his birth, his family was forced to flee the Czech lands and resettle in Austria. There, the young man passed his Matura examination in 1963, and entered the Order of Preachers. He then studied philosophy, psychology, and theology at the University of Vienna, the Sorbonne, and the Catholic Institute of Paris, where he took a doctorate in sacred theology in 1974. He was ordained a priest in Vienna in 1970, and served as chaplain at the University of Graz, before taking up a professorship in dogmatics at the University of Fribourg, in Switzerland, which he held from 1975 until 1980. In that year, Schönborn became a member of the International Theological Commission of the Holy See, and later worked as editorial secretary for the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In 1995, he was appointed the Archbishop of Vienna. He has also served as a member of a number of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Pontifical Council for Culture, and the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church. Schönborn, who is a prolific author and speaks six languages fluently, came to international attention in 2005 when he published an op-ed piece in the New York Times entitled “Finding Design in Nature,” in which he questioned the proposition that the materialist-reductionist view of life promoted by neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory is consistent with the Christian understanding of the human being.
Books: Introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, co-author (Ignatius Press, 1994); From Death to Life: The Christian Journey (Ignatius Press, 1995); My Jesus: Encountering Christ in the Gospel (Ignatius Press, 2005); Chance or Purpose? Creation, Evolution, and a Rational Faith (Ignatius Press, 2007); With Jesus Every Day: How Believing Transforms Living (Crossroad Publishing, 2007); Jesus, the Divine Physician (Ignatius Press, 2008); Who Needs God?, co-author (Ignatius Press, 2009); The Joy of Being a Priest (Ignatius Press, 2010); God Sent His Son (Ignatius Press, 2010); Man, the Image of God (Ignatius Press, reprint ed., 2011)
Aleksandr Sokurov (b. 1951)
Sokurov was born in Russia (then the USSR), in the village of Podvorikha, Irkutsk District, in Siberia. His father was a military officer, and the boy was raised in many places, from Poland to what is now Turkmenistan. In 1974, he took a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod). While at Gorky, he obtained wide experience in film and television broadcasting technology and production. In 1975, he entered the All-Union Cinematography Institute (VGIK), in the production department, on an Eisenstein Scholarship. His graduation project and first feature film, The Lonely Voice of Man (1978), was rejected on grounds of “formalist” and “anti-Soviet” tendencies. Nevertheless, thanks to the intervention of master filmmaker, Andrei Tarkovsky, Sokurov was able to find work with Lenfilm Studio in 1980. However, none of his films was able to be screened publicly until Mikhail Gorbachev’s democratic reforms began to be implemented in the late 1980s. To date, Sokurov, who is Russian Orthodox, has made 17 feature films, and 29 documentaries — though this classification is somewhat arbitrary, as many of his best films are unclassifiable evocations of times, places, and states of consciousness. Thus, two of his greatest masterpieces, Mother and Son and Oriental Elegy (both from 1996), are officially accounted a feature film and a documentary, respectively, though both films are best described as poetic meditations on life, death, and the meaning of human existence. He is also known for his technical innovations, including the single, uninterrupted 99-minute take that comprises his breathtaking evocation of Russian history, Russian Ark (2002). A perennial also-ran at Cannes, he finally won his first major international award — the Golden Lion — at the 2011 Venice Film Festival, for his latest work, Faust. In the minds of many who take film seriously as an art form, Sokurov is the world’s greatest living filmmaker.
Films: The Second Circle (1990); Mother and Son (1996); Oriental Elegy (1996); A Humble Life (1998); Moloch (1999); Elegy of a Voyage (2001); Taurus (2001); Russian Ark (2002); Father and Son (2003); The Sun (2005); Alexandra (2007); Faust (2011) [dates are those of shooting, not necessarily of release in the West]
John Suppe (b. 1943)
Suppe earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverdale, in 1965, and his PhD in structural geology from Yale University in 1969. After graduating, he worked for two years at UCLA on a postdoc, before taking up a position at Princeton University, where he taught until his retirement. Over the years, he has held visiting professorships at Cal-Tech, the University of Barcelona, in Spain, Nanjing University, in China, and Taiwan National University. After attaining the status of Blair Professor of Geosciences Emeritus at Princeton, he moved to Taiwan National University, where he is currently Distinguished Chair Research Professor. Suppe, who is Protestant, is the author of a successful textbook, Principles of Structural Geology, and has contributed to four other technical volumes. He is probably best known for his work on tectonics — more particularly, on “fault-related folding” theories — to which subject he has contributed the classic paper, “Geometry and Kinematics of Fault-Bend Folding” (1983). Suppe, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, acted as a consultant for NASA on the interpretation of images from the Magellan mission to Venus. He has also published his “Thoughts on the Epistemology of Christianity in Light of Science.”
Books: Principles of Structural Geology (Prentice-Hall, 1984); Processes in Continental Lithospheric Deformation, co-author (Geological Society of America, 1988); Balanced Geological Cross-Sections: An Essential Technique in Geological Research and Explanation, co-author (American Geophysical Union, 1989); Seismic Interpretation of Contractional Fault-Related Folds, co-editor (American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 2004)
Richard Swinburne (b. 1934)
Swinburne was born in Smethwick, Staffordshire, in the English Midlands. He entered Exeter College, Oxford, on a scholarship to study Classics, but graduated with a BA in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics. Afterwards, he read for a BPhil in Philosophy, and took a Diploma in Theology, also from Oxford, in 1960. For much of his career, he taught at Keele University. From 1985 until his retirement in 2002, he taught at Oxford University, where he is currently Emeritus Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion. His career has focused on deploying modal and other technical arguments within the tradition of analytic philosophy to establish the rationality of belief in a personal deity (theism), in general, and in the Christian religion, in particular. Perhaps his most influential book has been The Coherence of Theism (1977). Raised an Anglican, Swinburne converted to Eastern Orthodoxy in 1996. Most of his many volumes — he has published a weighty new work every two to three years throughout his career — have been highly technical in character, but he has also published books for a general audience, notably Is There a God?, which has been translated into 22 languages. His 1984–1986 Gifford Lectures were published as The Evolution of the Soul.
Books: The Concept of Miracle (St. Martin’s Press, 1970); The Coherence of Theism (Oxford UP, 1977); The Existence of God (Oxford UP, 1979; 2nd ed., 2004); Faith and Reason (Oxford UP, 1981; 2nd ed., 2005); Personal Identity, co-author (Blackwell, 1984); The Evolution of the Soul (Oxford UP, 1986); Revelation: From Metaphor to Analogy (Oxford UP, 1991; 2nd ed., 2007); The Christian God (Oxford UP, 1994); Is There a God? (Oxford UP, 1996); The Resurrection of God Incarnate (Oxford UP, 2003); Was Jesus God? (Oxford UP, 2008); Free Will and Modern Science, editor (Oxford UP, 2012); Mind, Brain, and Free Will (Oxford UP, 2013)
Charles M. Taylor (b. 1931)
Taylor was born in Montreal. He received his early education there, taking his bachelor’s degree in history from McGill University in 1952. He attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, taking a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Balliol College in 1955, and then a DPhil in 1961, under the supervision of Isaiah Berlin and G.E.M. Anscombe. Upon graduation, he taught for a while at McGill, before returning to Oxford, where he became a Fellow of All Souls College and Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at Oxford. Later, he returned to McGill, where he is currently Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and of Political Science. After retiring from McGill, he also taught law and philosophy for several years at Northwestern University. Taylor, who is Catholic, is known for two different sorts of contributions to philosophy. The first, emphasized in his earlier work, is a profound critique of scientism and defense of human agency, based on a masterly synthesis of Continental and analytic insights and modes of reasoning. The second is his effort to clarify our contemporary intellectual and spiritual predicament, both through a delineation of the historical construction of the modern secular identity and through the systematic development of a political framework sensitive both to the fact of cultural pluralism and the demands of religion and morality. In 2007, Taylor won the Templeton Prize, and in 1998–1999, he delivered the Gifford Lectures. The latter formed the inspiration for his recent magnus opus, A Secular Age.
Books: The Explanation of Behaviour (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1964); Hegel (Cambridge UP, 1975); Human Agency and Language, Philosophical Papers, Vol. 1 (Cambridge UP, 1985); Philosophy and the Human Sciences, Philosophical Papers, Vol. 2 (Cambridge UP, 1985); Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity (Harvard UP, 1989); The Ethics of Authenticity (Harvard UP, 1992); Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, co-author (Princeton UP, 1994); Philosophical Arguments (Harvard UP, 1995); A Catholic Modernity?, co-author (Oxford UP, 1999); Varieties of Religion Today (Harvard UP, 2002); Modern Social Imaginaries (Duke UP, 2003); A Secular Age (Harvard UP, 2007); Dilemmas and Connections: Selected Essays (Harvard UP, 2011)
James M. Tour (b. 1959)
Tour was born in New York City. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Syracuse University, and his Ph.D. in synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry from Purdue University in 1986. After postdocs at Wisconsin and Stanford, Tour joined the faculty of the University of South Carolina. Since 1999, he has been the T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Chemistry at Rice University, in Houston, Texas, where he has a joint appointment with the Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology. In 2004, he co-founded NanoComposites, Inc. Tour, who is an Evangelical Protestant, has also written on the problem of terrorists’ obtaining chemical weapons and has done consulting work for the Commerce Department. The Tour Group at Rice is best known for its work on molecular electronics and switching molecules. The numerous applications deriving from this work include carbon nanovectors for medical applications, green carbon research for environmentally friendly oil and gas extraction, graphene electronics and photovoltaics, chemical self-assembly, and synthesis of single-molecule nanomachines. Among the latter, the Tour Group’s best-known creation is the “nanocar,” an H-shaped alkyne chassis with fullerene groups acting as wheels at the four corners. Powered by thermal energy, the nanocar is capable of rolling about freely on a metallic surface. Tour is widely acknowledged to be one of the most distinguished nanotechnology researchers in the world.
Books: Molecular Electronics: Commercial Insights, Chemistry, Devices, Architecture, and Programming (World Scientific, 2003)
Bas C. van Fraassen (b. 1941)
Van Fraassen was born in the town of Goes, in the southwest corner of the Netherlands. His family emigrated to Canada in 1956. He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Alberta in 1963, and his PhD, under the direction of Adolf Grünbaum, from the University of Pittsburgh in 1966. He has taught at Yale University, the University of Toronto, the University of Southern California, and, since 1982, at Princeton University, where he is now McCosh Professor of Philosophy Emeritus. In 2008, he retired from Princeton, and now teaches at San Francisco State University, where he is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy. He has been very active professionally, serving as editor of the Journal of Philosophical Logic and co-editor of the Journal of Symbolic Logic. Van Fraassen’s efforts to rethink the foundations of epistemology in light of modern science (especially quantum mechanics) — resulting in what he calls “the empirical stance” — have been widely influential. Many would account him the most distinguished living philosopher of science. He has also concerned himself with the relation between science and society, and in 1997, he co-founded the Kira Institute, dedicated to promoting the idea that a synthesis between universality (as in science) and personal involvement holds the key for developing a framework within which to confront the problems facing our society in the 21st century. Van Fraassen, who is Catholic, has also published a number of short stories.
Books: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Space and Time (Random House, 1970); The Scientific Image (Oxford UP, 1980); Laws and Symmetry (Oxford UP, 1980); Quantum Mechanics: An Empiricist View (Oxford UP, 1991); The Empirical Stance (Yale UP, 2002); Possibilities and Paradox: An Introduction to Modal and Many-Valued Logic, co-author (Oxford UP, 2003); Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective (Oxford UP, 2008)
Jean Vanier (b. 1928)
Vanier was born in Geneva, where his father was serving as a Canadian diplomat. He was educated in the UK and Canada. During World War II, he served with both the Royal Navy and the Royal Canadian Navy. In 1950, he traveled to Paris to continue his studies, and completed a PhD at the Institut Catholique de Paris, with a dissertation on Aristotle. Afterwards, he taught philosophy for a time at the University of Toronto. Feeling a lack of meaning in his life, Vanier returned to France, and settled in the village of Trosly-Breuil, Oise, northeast of Paris. In 1964, Vanier invited two developmentally disabled men to share his home, which he had named “L’Arche” (the Ark). This new way of sharing life together in community with people who would otherwise be shut away in institutions soon attracted many young people. From its modest beginnings, L’Arche has grown into an international movement which today comprises 130 communities in 30 countries on six continents. In 1971, together with Marie-Hélène Mathieu, Vanier founded an advocacy forum for families and friends of the intellectually disabled, called “Faith and Light.” He stepped down from his leadership responsibilities in these organizations in the late 1990s, though he still makes his home in the original L’Arche community in Trosly-Breuil. Traveling widely, visiting established L’Arche communities and encouraging projects for new ones, lecturing, and leading retreats, he has become a world leader in consciousness-raising about the suffering of all who are marginalized. Vanier, who is Catholic, is also a prolific author who has written some 30 books.
Books: Be Not Afraid (Paulist Press, 1975); From Brokenness to Community (Paulist Press, 1992); Jesus, the Gift of Love (Crossroad Publishing, 1994); The Heart of L’Arche (Crossroad Publishing, 1995); The Broken Body: Journey to Wholeness (Darton, Longman, & Todd, 1999); Becoming Human (Paulist Press, 1999; 2nd ed., 2008); Seeing Beyond Depression (Paulist Press, 2001); Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John (Paulist Press, 2004); Befriending the Stranger (Darton, Longman, & Todd, 2005); Community and Growth (Darton, Longman, & Todd, 2006); Encountering “the Other” (Paulist Press, 2006); Living Gently in a Violent World, co-author (IVP Books, 2008); Man and Woman, God Made Them (Paulist Press, 2008); Happiness: A Guide to a Good Life; Aristotle for the New Century (Arcade Publishing, 2012)
Peter van Inwagen (b. 1942)
Van Inwagen received his bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1965, and his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Rochester, where he studied under Richard Taylor, in 1969. He taught philosophy at the University of Syracuse for 24 years. Since 1995, he has taught at the University of Notre Dame, where he is currently John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Philosophy. Van Inwagen’s arguments against the coherence of compatibilism have contributed significantly to the interest and acceptance of libertarian free will in contemporary English-language analytic philosophy. He delivered the 2002 Gifford Lectures, which were published as The Problem of Evil. In addition to the problems of evil and free will, he also works on many other areas of philosophical theology and fundamental ontology. A new book, Existence: Essay in Ontology, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. Van Inwagen is an adult convert to Christianity (he is an Episcopalian), an event movingly described in his essay, “Quam dilecta.” He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Books: Time and Cause, editor (Springer, 1980); An Essay on Free Will (Oxford UP, 1983); Metaphysics (Westview Press, 1993; 3rd ed., 2008); God, Knowledge, and Mystery: Essays in Philosophical Theology (Cornell UP, 1995); Material Beings (Cornell UP, 1995); The Possibility of Resurrection and Other Essays in Christian Apologetics (Westview Press, 1997); Ontology, Identity, and Modality: Essays in Metaphysics (Cambridge UP, 2001); Christian Faith and the Problem of Evil (Eerdmans, 2004); The Problem of Evil (Oxford UP, 2006); Persons: Human and Divine, co-editor (Oxford UP, 2007)
Nicholas P. Wolterstorff (b. 1932)
Wolterstorff was born into a family of Dutch immigrants in Bigelow, Minnesota, a small farming community in the southwest corner of the state, on the Iowa border. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1953, and his PhD from Harvard, in 1956. After a year at Cambridge University, where he studied with C.D. Broad, he returned to the US and took up his first teaching position, at Yale. After two years, he moved back to Calvin College, where he was Professor of Philosophy from 1959 until 1989. He has also taught as a visiting professor at the Free University of Amsterdam, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Virginia, and elsewhere. In 1978, with Alvin Plantinga and others, Wolterstorff co-founded the Society of Christian Philosophers, as well as its journal, Faith and Philosophy. He is also a past President of the American Philosophical Association (Central Division). Since 1989, he has taught at Yale University, where he is currently the Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology. He is also a Senior Fellow with the Institute for Advanced Study in Culture, at the University of Virginia. His work has ranged very widely, from philosophical theology, to epistemology, to political theory, to aesthetics. Wolterstorff, who is a member of the Christian Reformed Church, delivered the 1995 Gifford Lectures, subsequently published as Thomas Reid and the Story of Epistemology.
Books: On Universals: An Essay in Ontology (University of Chicago Press, 1970); Reason within the Bounds of Religion (Eerdmans, 1976; 2nd ed., 1984); Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God, co-editor (University of Notre Dame Press, 1983); Until Justice and Peace Embrace (Eerdmans, 1983); Rationality in the Calvinian Tradition, co-editor (University Press of America, 1984; reprinted, Wipf & Stock, 2011); Lament for a Son (Eerdmans, 1987); Art in Action: Towards a Christian Aesthetic (Eerdmans, 1987); Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim That God Speaks (Cambridge UP, 1995); Religion in the Public Square, co-author (Rowman & Littlefield, 1996); John Locke and the Ethics of Belief (Cambridge UP, 1996); Thomas Reid and the Story of Epistemology (Cambridge UP, 2000); Justice: Rights and Wrongs (Princeton UP, 2007); Inquiring about God: Selected Essays, Vol. 1 (Cambridge UP, 2010); Practices of Belief: Selected Essays, Vol. 2 (Cambridge UP, 2010); Justice in Love (Eerdmans, 2011); Hearing the Call: Liturgy, Justice, Church, and World (Eerdmans, 2011); Understanding Liberal Democracy: Essays in Political Philosophy (Oxford UK, 2012); The Mighty and the Almighty: An Essay in Political Theology (Cambridge UP, 2012)
Nicholas Thomas (“N.T.”) Wright (b. 1948)
Wright was born in Morpeth, in Northumberland, UK. He studied Classics at Exeter College, Oxford. He then trained for the ministry at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, where he earned a first-class honors degree in theology in 1973, and a master’s degree in 1975. The following year, he was ordained a priest of the Church of England. From 1975 to 1978, Wright was a Junior Research Fellow and College Tutor in Theology in Merton College, Oxford, later becoming Junior Chaplain and Acting Lecturer in Theology. From 1978 to 1981, he was a Fellow and Chaplain at Downing College, Cambridge, and College Tutor in Theology. He received his Doctor of Divinity degree from Oxford in 1981. He then taught for a time at McGill University, in Montreal, Canada. In 1986, he returned to Oxford, where for several years he was Lecturer in New Testament Studies and Fellow, Tutor, and Chaplain of Worcester College. From 1994 until 1999, he was Dean of Lichfield, and from 2000 to 2003, Canon Theologian of Westminster. In 2003, he was consecrated Bishop of Durham, one of the highest positions in the Church of England. He retired from that post in 2010 to become Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews, in Scotland. Wright is one of the world’s leading biblical scholars, a prolific author, and a gifted musician, who has composed librettos for sacred musical works.
Books: The Climax of the Covenant: Christ and the Law in Pauline Theology (Fortress, 1992); Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship (Eerdmans, 1995); Jesus and the Victory of God (SPCK Publishing, 1996); The New Testament and the People of God (SPCK Publishing, 1996); What Saint Paul Really Said (Eerdmans, 1997); The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is (IVP Books, 2000); The Resurrection of the Son of God (Augsburg Fortress, 2003); Paul: In Fresh Perspective (Fortress Press, 2006); Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (HarperOne, 2008); Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision (IVP Books, 2009); After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters (HarperOne, 2010); Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense (HarperOne, 2010); Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters (HarperOne, 2011); Scripture and the Authority of God: How to Read the Bible Today (HarperOne, 2011); The Kingdom New Testament (HarperOne, 2011); How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels (HarperOne, 2012)
Krzysztof Zanussi (b. 1939)
Zanussi was born in Warsaw, Poland. He studied physics at Warsaw University and philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. He graduated from the famous łódź Film Academy in 1966. His diploma film, Death of a Provincial (1966), won awards in Venice, Mannheim, Valladolid, and Moscow in 1967. Since 1980, he has been Director of the Polish Film Studio TOR. He also teaches at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where he conducts a summer workshop, as well as at the Silesian University in Katowice, Poland. Zanussi has lectured at numerous universities in Europe and North America, including Cambridge, Columbia, Rice, and Yale. Together with his close friend and collaborator, the late Krzysztof Kieślowski, he was one of the most prominent members of the Polish “Cinema of Moral Anxiety” movement of the 1970s and 1980s. This movement sought to find a middle path between the moribund Communist cinema of the East and the superficial commercial cinema of the West, in a cinema combining aesthetic autonomy with probing moral seriousness. The film for which Zanussi — who has directed some 78 titles in all — is probably best known abroad is his mid-career masterwork, A Year of the Quiet Sun. Another masterpiece is the television series, Weekend Stories, which may be compared, with respect to psychological subtlety and emotional power, to Kieślowski’s Decalogue. Perhaps thanks to his scientific training, Zanussi, who is Catholic, often takes the spiritual emptiness of modern man as his theme, working against the backdrop of the struggle between the competing visions of traditional religion and modern science regarding the meaning of human existence. He has also published several as-yet-untranslated essays on the cinema, as well as a volume of memoirs.
Films: The Structure of Crystal (1968); Family Life (1970); Illumination (1973); A Woman’s Decision (1975); Camouflage [Protective Colors] (1977); Spiral (1978); A Year of the Quiet Sun (1984); Life for Life (1990); The Silent Touch [Touching Hands] (1992); In Full Gallop [The Horse] (1996); Weekend Stories (1996); Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease (2000); Persona Non Grata (2005); Black Sun (2007); And a Warm Heart (2008); Revisited (2009)